In Code Orange by Caroline Cooney, procrastinator Mitty Blake has put off his biology research project for too long. At the last minute, he digs up some antique medical books from to use as references for his bibliography. He finds an envelope inside one of the books with the word “variola” written on the outside. Inside are several scabs. Mitty thinks he’s hit the jackpot until he starts to learn more about the disease: small pox. He fears he may have contracted the disease. He goes online and emails several places, asking if the virus could still be active. During his questioning, he unknowingly informs a terrorist group, who kidnaps him, hoping to use him as a human biological weapon against the city of New York.
I enjoyed seeing slacker Mitty turn hero when his city, New York, is threatened. With references to the devastation in 9/11, Cooney gets readers to think about the ultimate question: would you give your life to save your country? Code Orange is an exciting, suspenseful page turner. I highly recommend it to readers of all ages.
Age Range: 12 and up
Part of a Series: No
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf Books (Random House)