Thursday, January 12, 2006

Code Orange



Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney, 2005

Mitty is a high school goof-off. He is a poor student who is more plugged into his music than his schoolwork. He is only taking Advanced Biology because of he wants to be in the same class as the fair Olivia. He works just hard enough to get by which is why he has not started his research paper on infectious diseases. While looking through some very old medical books he discovers an envelope marked VM. Inside are two nasty, ancient scabs, which he examines and handles.
His research leads him to the meaning of VM...variola major or smallpox.

He cheerfully sets off to research smallpox for his report but as his knowledge of the disease grows so does the dawning horror that he has handled and inhaled the dust from the scabs. Is the virus still viable after all this time? Has Mitty contracted the disease and is he spreading it around his beloved New York City? Are his symptoms real or is he imagining things?

There are times when Cooney's discoursing on the disease begins to overwhelm the plot but my eyes kept racing ahead to find out what was going to happen next.

The threat of smallpox as a bioterrorism weapon is a part of the current dialogue so I found the evolution of the story very compelling. The book is a fast read and has an "eeeuww" factor, which should make it a success with teens.

I booktalked it to an 8th grader today and he grabbed the book out of my hands saying, "I've got to read this book."

19 comments:

xodevieexo said...

Hi, Im in 7th grade. We just started reading this book today, and we have to do a report on it. I was wondering if you could help me out. Email me anytime, thanks.


xodevieexo@aim.com

Camille said...

xodevieexo
The best thing you can do to be successful will be to read the book. It is a fast read. I actually could not put it down because I found it so exciting.

Your report should reflect your ideas and honest response to the novel. If you do that and give examples from the book to support your ideas, you should get a good grade.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm a ninth grade student who has just read this book, and am now writing a report on it.

I found it to be terribly boring. In the first 3/4 of the book, hardly anything happens, and then all of a sudden, it's action-packed, and hard to follow because so much is going on.
Then it dies again.

This book is a complete failure, and should be pulled from the shelves.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with you anonymous! The book was full of adventure, you just had to follow the plot line. If you go into this book with an open mind it is a terrific read!

Anonymous said...

Iroxmysox

I think that this book was one of the most thrilling books i have ever read, this book goes on my top 3 nex to Inkheart the best book that I know



Phill K

Anonymous said...

I think that this book was terrible and should be pulled off of the shelves! I have to write a report on it! I am in 8th grade.

Anonymous said...

well this was an awful book and I should have never read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joe said...

I read like 3/4 of it but i had to return it to the library. So How does Mitty get out of the Terrorists basement and stuff? Also does he ever get hooked up with Olivia and also what happens in the end? Sorry for all the questions, but my report is due tomarrow.

Blake said...

Hey
I read the book Code Orange and i cannot really understad what the theme statement of the book is and i also am having a bit of trouble understanding what happened in the last Chapter of the book. I would ask my teacher but she is out sick and the sub has never read the book crazy right anyway i have a TEST COMNING SOON AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD HELP ME OUT
YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT :
lime_77@hotmail.com Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

I really like it nut at first it was a little boring but later it was awesome :)

fightlikeagirl said...

My friend is doing a book report on this book and can't find the illustrator anyone know who it is

Camille said...

flightlikeagirl: This book is not illustrated so no illustrator.

Anonymous said...

I have just read this book and it was super good but I didnt know I had a school assignment on it so could you help me by listing all the characters thanx:)

Anonymous said...

i am in the tenth grade and had this book for summer reading and i am very easily distracted and this book was a snooze and i have book report on it due tommorrow and i cant remeber hardly any of the dang book so actually the book sucks
ps:camille thats one weird 8th grader

Shelby said...

I'm in 9th grade, and one of our school requirements is to read this book. Finished it very quickly. I thought that it was just okay, and that in the end the sub-plot of Mitty's character development is what was being focused on. It was exciting in a sense but also for me was too easy, and predictable. A buttload of suspense built up just for the happy ending. I knew he wasn't going to get it after 3/4 of the book was gone and I still didn't know for sure. Anyone that wants to read it definitely should, despite the tweaks my analytical self thought up.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the seventh grade and I'm doing an essay on why or why not Mitty was a hero. I know that he's a hero because he showed care toward his family, he showed bravery, and he took responsibility. Can anyone broaden these categories? I need them to be expanded like he's brave because... please help me. thank you so much!

Camille said...

@Anonymous:
Think about how Mitty has changed over the course of the novel. Think about what a slacker he was in the beginning of the novel and the person he is at the end. The way characters change is always interesting to explore.

Anonymous said...

I read this book because it looked interesting, and it was incredible!
I can't really understand why people would dislike it. Mitty is a slacker, and he is afraid of dying from a contagious disease,but Mitty actually has an amazing and brave personality. He cares for his people and he will do anything within his power to save them. I think that this is definetely a book worth reading.

Camille said...

Agreed. Cooney explored a very interesting idea, biological warfare and epidemics, in this novel.