The Tearings by V. C. Repetto

The Tearings by V. C. Repetto
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary, Horror
Length: Full Length (197 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

From the moment the black vans appear to take the sick away, Maya knows there is something wrong. She seems to be the only one to question the sudden disappearances at school and the masks everyone is forced to wear to keep from catching the new disease spreading through the entire United States. Even when word of the new “healing centers” reaches the public, no one dares to ask what is happening.

But when Maya catches the disease, the one they call The Tearings, and is taken to one of these centers along with her mother, the truth becomes all too clear. She is separated from her family and forced to work, becoming one of the more fortunate ones who is not sent to the testing wings. Bullied by the guards to the point of death, she meets David Summers, the enigmatic young Captain who appears to loathe his position of power in the camp and who seems as drawn to Maya as she is to him.

When Maya suddenly becomes the disease’s only survivor, she must put her trust on David to find a way to escape the camp and get the truth, and the cure coursing through her veins, out to the world.

The concept of civil liberties might seem slightly boring and abstract until they’re ripped away from you.

“Maybe it was worth losing a few minor privacies for the good of the majority.” As soon as Maya thought these words early on in her tale I knew I’d either love her or hate her by the time I finished it. She has a strong personality and a fiercely stubborn streak that sometimes pokes out at inopportune moments, but ultimately Maya’s narration of this piece reveals the best parts of her personality as well. I’m still not entirely sure if I like her as a person, but following an interesting protagonist around is much more important than shaving down their sometimes rough edges.

There were a few pacing issues in this book. While the first few chapters set up everything the reader needs to know about how people in Maya’s society are reacting to this dangerous new disease, explaining all of the ways in which they are pretending that everything is ok does slow down the action in the beginning. I would have preferred to spend more time figuring out some plot holes that develop later on. The narrator’s understanding of why they occur is fairly fuzzy, and I never did fully understand the logic behind certain twists in the narrative.

The chilling premise makes up for the inconsistencies in the plot, especially when it focuses on how society at large responds to such a virulent illness. The Tearings sound like a disease cooked up in Stephen King’s laboratory, and Ms. Repetto’s graphic descriptions of how it affects the human body make my skin crawl.

The Tearings is a chilling dystopian novel that I’d recommend to adult and young adult readers alike. This is a great choice for anyone who feels a tickle in their throat as cold and flu season begins. Remember that it’s probably just a harmless cold. Probably.

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