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Contaminated - Em Garner 1.5 stars.Em Garner's debut Contaminated is a fresh take on the standard zombie story. It is, however, poorer in its depth, emotionality, and relatability than previous zombie-centric books gone before, like Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies and, most prominently, Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. The post-apocalyptic world of Contaminated is uninviting and conflicting due to the epidemic created by a weight-loss drink, but it lacks believability and is filled with generic and unappealing characters of whom 95% are depicted as soulless, intolerant beings, unable to accept the integration of the treated and recovering "Connies" (the contaminated) back into society and their families."Realistic" and "unputdownable"? "Most human" and "heartbreaking"? ... Was I reading the same book?There was no purpose to Contaminated. The presentation of a discriminatory society (as frequently seen in today's world in relation to minority groups) in a zombpocalyptic future was noticeable but failed to generate any natural interest or effort to retaliate against the injustice that saturates this book. I basically pulled a Kanye, waiting for something surprising to happen other than the discriminatory conflict.....All Contaminated involved was Velvet and her younger sister Opal helping and integrating their contaminated mother back into their home, whom was previously kennelled like a dog and fed dog treats as all Connies were, and constantly barraged with negativity and bigotry. Velvet also has to deal with her boyfriend's mother's shit and also Tony himself who cheats on her and is a complete douche, unable to stand up to his bitch of a mother. And also Velvet's attraction to Dillon later on, Jean's son (the lady who owns the land/the compound Velvet found her mother in), the perfect boy in this bleak and hatred-filled world she lives in, the only other person she comes across who is accepting of her mother. A second outbreak then erupts and the government begins to round up shock-collar-wearing Connies again – the docile ones, the recovering, the integrating Connies – and Velvet tries to save her mother once and for all.The book was intriguing before I read it, something I thought I would enjoy. Highly. Now I find it was a complete waste of my time. I thought Contaminated could be satirical but thought-provoking at the same time in its handling of the modern weight loss obsession, appearance, and general discrimination of minority groups, but it was just another dull and generic novel hidden behind a "this-looks-and-sounds-amazing" facade. I had read no reviews prior to reading, but it seems as though Contaminated has people who enjoyed it and some people who thought it was dullsville.Contaminated was an example of what not to do when told by established authors to "show" and not "tell". Contaminated was filled with lengthy information dumps about the Connies, the government, the ThinPro drink and its company complications, the characters (Tony), the past (e.g., her mother, father) – everything. There was not enough captivating dialogue, all too simple and snooze-worthy, and the verbal conflict between Velvet and every person around her became all too repetitive. Also, I thought Velvet knew way too much about the world around her, therefore leading onto all the info-dumping, most noticeable in the first five chapters.Though I must say, I enjoyed Velvet's loyalty to her distant mother and defending her against the neighbours and bus driver who have a sheer detestation for the Connies and the government that allows them to return back to their families. And although her counterattacks in the hostile arguments with Tony's mother and the Connie-hating neighbours were quite juvenile and full of teen angst, they were pretty funny to read.I also enjoyed that the "zombies" of this book were not dead, just heavily diseased with lesioned and hole-punched brains because of the drink.If you want tame zombie, more "oooh, oooh, oooh" than "aaah-MUNCH, aaah-MUNCH, aaah-MUNCH", more internal thought than action and plot, more easy teen than heavy spleen, then Contaminated may be just for you. The faint-hearted will enjoy the distinct lack of gore and ripping of extremities and probably much more invested in Velvet's plight to care for her mother – which I unfortunately wasn't. Sad, because caring for the less fortunate is in my top priorities.• • •Comparable [and possibly better] Titles:• Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion• The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan• I Am Legend by Richard Matheson• Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield