Blog Tour: Pandemic | Yvonne Ventresca | Review | Interview | Giveaway

Welcome to our stop on PANDEMIC tour for Yvonne Ventresca. This tour is hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Today we share our ___ star review and much more.

Author: Yvonne Ventresca
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Science Fiction | Apocalyptic
Released: May 6th 2014
Review Source: Blog Tour | Sky Pony Press

Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Pandemic puts a new spin on stories of outbreak and social break down. We almost always are lead by an adult point of view in a story where some big government entity sweeps in and rescues the population. Pandemic is told from a completely different angle. What if you are a child who is suddenly faced with the end of life as you know it- and you have to face it alone?

For our main character, Lil, this becomes her reality. Lilianna is not your typical high school student. She has been through a life changing event that has turned her inward, sparked compulsions like secretly hoarding food and supplies and distanced her from friends, even her ex-boyfriend can't seem to get through to her.
Lil lives with her mom who leaves the country early in the story, to another country for a work related trip. Her dad works for a magazine that specializes in infectious diseases of all things, following his work just adds to her anxiety.

Then things start to happen, slow at first and then rapidly.

People are getting sick, people are dying, public places are no longer safe and looters are targeting homes for supplies.

Lil's worse fears are realized when the disease hits her hometown. She must join forces with a few friends and some not-so-friendly classmates to survive.

This story made me sad, nervous, anxious and proud all at the same time. It made me wonder what would happen if my kids had to survive something like this.
 This could be our story.

 Would we know the moment it started?

Pandemic brings to life our worst fears, calls us out on regrets and reminds us that sometimes the strong fall short and the most unexpected person will be the one we count on in the worst of times.
Pandemic is so very well written, it is eye opening. I would recommend it to all of my fellow readers.

1. Can you tell us a little about your background?

I studied creative writing (along with computer science) in college but it wasn’t until several years after I graduated that I decided to focus on writing seriously. My first paid writing project was to create video scripts instructing other how to use technology. Later, I wrote a series of profiles for teens about various careers. This led to my first published nonfiction book, Publishing (Careers for the 21st Century), followed by a biography of the singer Avril Lavigne. Getting a novel published took me much longer, and Pandemic, my fiction debut, was actually my fourth attempt at writing a young adult novel.

2. What were you like in school? Were you the model student or withdrawn?

I was a geeky kid who loved to read. I got good grades, so I guess I’d fall into the “model student” category.
Photo: Yvonne at her college graduation

3. Do you have any interesting rituals or quirks that you must do when you sit down to write?

I don’t have many quirks on a day-to-day basis other than a hot cup of tea or coffee when writing. But when I’m starting a major project, like a new novel, I have this cleaning ritual I go through. I clean all the closets, drawers, cabinets, and especially my office files. I think it’s a way of making space (literally and figuratively) for the next creative idea.

4. Do you write full-time?

I’m a mom to two teens so I write around their schedules. I tend to write in spurts, but the past few months I’ve been focusing more on promotion than writing new material. I track my time so I know at the end of each week if I’m slacking off.

5. What advice would you give to first time writers about the writing process?

Author Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Persistence is definitely key in this business. Good writing is certainly important, but there’s something to be said for not giving up. As I mentioned above, Pandemic, my debut YA novel, was actually the fourth one I’d written, and I received many rejections along the way to publication. I read somewhere that the novel The Help was rejected sixty times. It achieved commercial success (with a movie, no less!) so it makes you wonder – what if Kathryn Stockett hadn’t sent that 61st letter? It’s important to keep trying.

Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code and sharing tips with other writers. Yvonne is the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available in May 2014 from Sky Pony Press.

Yvonne grew up in Levittown, New York, where the suburban homes were famously identical in design and the streets were named in sections (birds, astronomy-related, random occupations). Her quest for publication began in middle school (sort of) when she asked the librarian for information on how to physically create a book. Writing was fun, but how do you actually get those words into bound pages? The small library didn’t have any materials about that, and it would be many years before Yvonne achieved the goal of writing a published book.

Yvonne majored in English and Computer Science – an unusual combination, but when she was stuck on a literature assignment she could debug her programs, and when that got boring she could write an essay. That strategy worked well and she graduated with honors from Hofstra University, followed by her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Her post-college life was divided into two phases: life in the corporate world (where she worked as a computer programmer, technology trainer, recruiter, and compensation analyst) and later, life as a writer.

She definitely prefers phase two. During her writing career, Yvonne has written instructional video scripts about technology, numerous articles for children and adults, a nonfiction book for teens about careers in publishing, and a biography for teens about the singer Avril Lavigne. But her real love is fiction, and after several attempts at writing a novel, she created a story about a contemporary bird flu pandemic.

Yvonne Ventresca currently resides with her husband and two teenage children in New Jersey.

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  1. Thank you for the wonderful review and for the interview.


  2. Thanks for the awesome give away! Also, the hand sanitizer in the giveaway is a hilarious touch :D I love it <3 This book sounds like the Maze Runner but then also on a more personal connecting level too, which sounds just great seeing as I like the Maze Runner. I will be sure to try it out :D

  3. Thanks for this amazing giveaway.This book looks good.


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