Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review of Contagion by Joanne Dahme

Rose Dugan is a young and beautiful woman living in Philadelphia in the late 19th century passionate about keeping Philadelphia’s water reservoir clean and healthy. But when Rose starts receiving threatening letters, warning her to convince her husband to shut down his plans for a water filtration system or else, things take a turn for the worse. A conspicuous murder and butting heads cause Rose to search for the culprit, the truth, and a way to keep the people of Philadelphia safe from contagion in more ways than one.

Sometimes it seems as though within the historical fiction genre, the same few stories are repeated over and over again. When I heard about the premise for Contagion, I was immediately intrigued because it sounded so different. Although Contagion was a fast-paced and entertaining read, Dahme’s characterization left something to be desired.

I really enjoyed the plot of Contagion. It’s the only YA book I can immediately think of which deals with the subject of a plague or water contamination. The one issue I had with the plot was that I didn’t know much about the subject going in, which made it harder for me to appreciate this story. I think this novel could have benefited from an author’s note which provided more information on the non-fictitious parts of the story.

What kept me from really enjoying Contagion was the characters, several of which felt flat. I think Dahme managed to create a complete cast of characters. However, Rose, Sean, and Patrick all felt a bit one-dimensional to me.

Contagion falls under the liked-it-but-didn’t-love-it category for me. I’m glad I decided to pick this one up, but it wasn’t the perfect read for me. I’d be willing to try more of Dahme’s work in the future to see if her character development improves, though, so perhaps I’ll keep an eye out.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you!


  1. This seems interesting. I'm glad you liked the characters at least!

  2. I am really looking forward to this one - I have a copy at home. I am sad to hear that about the characters, as characters are like the biggest aspect of books for me.



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