In the book, Code Orange, by Caroline Cooney, a teenaged boy from New York named Mitchell Blake attempts to write a biology report for a school assignment on infectious diseases. He accidentally encounters a book containing sample scabs from an early 1900s smallpox study. Unsure of whether or not he has been affected by the scabs, Mitty encounters moral and logical dilemmas involving those close to him as well as a possible bio terrorist threat after discussing the circumstances of his unique situation online.
I initially chose to read this book when I found it in my school library and thought that the concept was rather interesting and original. The idea that a previously prevented epidemic may resurface and cause new biological concerns is a complex concept not often written about in young adult books.
I would recommend this book to middle and high school aged kids who are interested in the medical field but who are not typically enthralled by nonfiction reading. The plot of the book discussed not only interesting idiosyncrasies of the medical world, but also successfully created a narrative about an adolescent faced with both everyday issues as well as more global, serious conflicts and the attempt to make advantageous choices in the face of adversity, providing substance for both fiction and nonfiction enthusiasts. Code Orange takes interesting ethical and scientific situations and examines them through an easy to relate to, compelling story making it an enriching novel to read.