Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney

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What would you do if you discovered 100 year old smallpox scabs? That is a decision that an average 17 year old, Mitty Blake, has to make. I read the book Code Orange written by Caroline B. Cooney. The book is about Mitty Blake, who lives in Manhattan, New York. He must write a report about an infectious disease. While taking notes, an unexpected twist occurs. For the first time in a long time, Mitty is focused on doing the research for his report, but not because he wants an A. He realizes he might not live much longer.

Mitchell Blake, referred to as Mitty, is a lazy student from Manhattan. He doesn’t do his work often, but he decides to put forth effort to impress a girl in his class, Olivia Clark. She is the total opposite of Mitty. Olivia is a hard-working, studious, and determined student. She always gets A’s. Mitty is in love with her. Derek is Mitty’s best friend, and he finds Olivia annoying. Mitty decides to throw together 10 pages of notes at the last minute. He goes to Connecticut with his family and goes through a library full of medical books. He picks his topic, variola major (smallpox). He flips through a large text book and an envelope falls out. It is labeled “SCABS”. At the time, he thinks nothing of his actions. He returns to school where Olivia, who secretly likes Mitty, takes him to a library and assists him in his research, along with her own. Mitty reads many books, and realizes his mistake. Meanwhile, Olivia and Mitty’s relationship grows.

While Olivia focuses on her research and being Mitty’s girlfriend, Mitty worries about what he did. He decides to post questions on a forum. Sadly, not only doctors and scientists see his post about his scabs. A lady confronts Mitty, claiming to be from the CDC. He makes a bad decision, and puts his life in danger.

Though many people have enjoyed this book, Code Orange wasn’t a book I particularly enjoyed myself. For the price of $6.99, I would much rather put my money to another use. The 195 pages of this book, published by Random House Children’s Books, didn’t interest me. It was okay but not great. I found it was slow, and didn’t keep my attention. If you happened to like this book, then I recommend the book “Monster”, or other Cooney books. If you didn’t, then I would steer clear of Cooney’s novels.





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