Parents' Guide to

Virals: Book 1

By Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Exciting story of murder-solving heroine with superpowers.

Virals: Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 13+
Keep in mind the swearing, though it thins a bit as you progress the story/series. Besides that, It’s well written, with an intriguing plot twist, a real page turner for science and mystery-loving teens.

This title has:

Educational value
age 10+

Foul Language - Head's Up

My 10 year old son is currently reading "Virals," and really likes it, but he's only a couple of chapters in and has come to me twice with concerns about the words "kickass" and "bastard." We've discussed that authors will use strong language like this to make a point, and it's good that he recognizes it's inappropriate, but I question Common Sense Media's green light for ages 9 and up while also disclosing in the review that words like "bitch" and "bull####" appear in the book. I'm disappointed in how you handled this one, Common Sense.

This title has:

Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (12):

VIRALS is a thrilling ride with short chapters that continue to pick up speed. The book proves that author Kathy Reichs is more than a great novelist, she's also a real-life forensic anthropologist (and inspiration for the TV series Bones), who reveals all sorts of details involved in solving murder mysteries. Readers are taken through the research process and given precise tips on bone identification. Kids will be intrigued as they are introduced to the world of forensics.

Parents will be pleased that this novel exceeds all expectations of what a reader is looking for in a heroine. Tory Brennen encompasses the charming innocence of a young girl who, instead of being completely boy crazed, is passionate about animals, the environment, and politics. It's a refreshing change to encounter a YA novel that does not end with a love triangle in the first installment. The only relationship that develops here is the touching bond between Tory and her wild wolfpup, Coop.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate