Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas

Quarantine Book Cover

Book Info

Grade Level
High School
STEM Concepts
Economics, Engineering, Disaster Management, Public Health, Quarantines, Sociology, Virology

It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High — until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, a 2012 Booklist Editor’s Choice, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.

Source: Lex Thomas


Quarantine: The Field Trip

On Thursday, November 19th, STEM Read locked hundreds of high schoolers in an abandoned high school to play out some scenarios from the popular sci-fi book “Quarantine” by Lex Thomas. They learned about viruses, economics, and more, while participating in costume contests, market trading, and a food drop much like the one in the book!

Dye-ing to Meet You!

The high schoolers in Quarantine dye their hair with Kook-Aid to identify which gang they belong to. Here, Alice, a high school student and generally awesome person, shows us step-by-step how to dye your own hair!

What is the Meaning of the Word Slut?

One of the gangs in Lex Thomas' book "Quarantine: The Loners," is the Sluts, an all-female gang that's tough as nails. Dr. Laura Vazques, media professor at Northern Illinois University, talks about the meaning of the word slut, and the modern connotations of the word.

The Economics of Quarantine with Dr. Tammy Batson

STEM Read talks with Dr. Tammy Batson about the economics behind Lex Thomas' novel "Quarantine: The Loners"

Thomas Voorhies’ Top Horror Picks

Thomas Voorhies is one half of author team Lex Thomas, authors of “Quarantine: The Loners.” Here, Thomas talks about his favorite horror movies, with some very strange but still scary choices.

Lex Hrabe’s Top 5 Classic Horror Picks

Lex Hrabe is one half of author team Lex Thomas, authors of “Quarantine: The Loners.” Here, Lex talks about his favorite horror movies, including some scary classics!

Upcycling Materials

Jeremy Floyd, a professor of Costume Design at the School of Theater and Dance at NIU, explains some of the ins and outs of reusing commonly found materials to make new garments.

Designing Zachary

When you're the leader of the Geeks at McKinley High, you have to have an outfit that all but screams your power and rank. Professor of Costume Design Jeremy Floyd walks us through the design process for creating something befitting the King of the Theater. Check out Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas to see Zachary in action and go to www.stemread.com for more information.

Dealing with Stress

In Quarantine: The Loners, David faces a lot of stress. Like, a lot a lot. Physical therapist Lynn Batalden has some helpful advice for dealing with stress. If only David had known!


Quarantined by STEM Read

Check out photos from Quarantine: The STEM Read Experience in our Quarantine photo gallery.

Quarantine Photo

Now Streaming

Lex and Tom joined us on episode 13 of The STEM Read Podcast: Chainsaws and Wedding Cake. Listen on WNIJ! 


Idea Sparks and Mini Lessons

These questions, prompts, and short activities provide quick ways to inspire interest and explore the STEAM concepts related to the book. Idea Sparks and Mini Lessons can also be used for differentiation and to foster new ideas of your own.

Download Lesson Plan 

Costume Design

In this lesson, students will explore the history and use of costumes. In groups, they will design and create costumes based on characters in a book, such as Lex Thomas’ book Quarantine. Students will have a chance to present their creations during a costume contest.

Download Lesson Plan

Designing For the Drop

Students will use the Engineering Design cycle to plan, build, and test a device that will help them collect supplies they need for a high quality of life while existing in quarantine. In the book, characters’ survival depended on their success of gathering supplies at the Food Drop. The Food Drop was a vicious event. Teams needed to work together with strategy and strength. in this challenge, students will work in teams to determine their strategy for gathering supplies, as well as design and build a device that will help them gather the most valuable supplies they can.

Download Lesson Plan 

Download the Engineering Design Process Handout

The Market-McKinley High

In this activity, students will work in teams to explore the economic concepts presented in the book through participation in a market place simulation.

Download Lesson Plan 

Video Discussion Guide

Watch the videos and then use these questions to facilitate classroom discussions about the topics presented.

Download the Video Discussion Guide.

About the Author

Image of Thomas VoorhiesLex Thomas

Lex Thomas is the pen name for the writing team of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies. Lex received a BA in Drama and English from the University of Virginia and has worked as an actor, director and writer. Thomas graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. Now he enjoys writing and exhibiting his realist oil paintings in Los Angeles. Lex and Thomas first met in a writers’ group in Los Angeles. While sharing bizarre movie clips with one another their friendship grew. Then, in 2005, Lex and Thomas joined together as a writing team and published their first book “Quarantine: The Loners” in 2013.

Learn more at lex-thomas.com.

Source: Lex Thomas