Stung, by Bethany Wiggins (Walker, April 2, 2013)
When Fiona went to sleep, she was thirteen years old and had a family who loved her. Now she's woken up--to a nightmare. Her home is dilapidated and abandoned, and though she's still young, her body isn't child's anymore. She has no memory of the years that must have passed....and no knowledge of how the world she once knew has descended into ruin. And she doesn't know, yet, that the tattoo that's appeared on her arm marks her as one of the infected--a person on the verge of becoming a mindlessly predatory beast.
In Fiona's new world, there are those who live safely behind walls....and those out on the streets, infected and starving, hunted by the ravaging hoards of humans turned monstrous. Fiona, marked as she is, must live as one of the later. Slowly she learns how to survive, with the help of a boy she knew back when they were kids, and slowly flashes of memory return to her. But it's what Fiona can't yet remember that will change everything...if she stays alive long enough.
I enjoyed it, once I got in the swing of the short, action-packed, first person sentences in which it was told (just about ever sentence seems to have an active verb). This is one to offer right away to your handy young Hunger Games fan--it has a similar intensity, mixing ruthless violence with the desperate need to hold on to human feelings when everything seems lost. That being said, I don't think the scenario of Stung is nearly as original, nor as interesting, and it's heavier on the teen romance side of things (so I won't be giving it to my mother for Christmas, like I did The Hunger Games).
However, Stung is a perfectly fine book. Fiona is believable and appealing, the supporting characters nicely nuanced, and the romance is very satisfying. And though I mostly skim through action-packed sequences because, you now, they are so busy, the great climactic Scene of Action at the end of this one was utterly riveting. Another thing I appreciated--the humans turned monstrous by sickness were actually still humans...not zombies. It's definitely sci-fi, not zombie fantasy.
A sampling of other reviews -- Waking Brain Cells, Afterglow Book Reviews, and Step Into Fiction
Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher