Review: Positive by David Wellington

by David Wellington
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication date: Aug. 21, 2015
Genre: Dystopian Thriller

Anyone can be positive . . .

Years after a plague killed 99 percent of the population, turning them into infectious zombies, Finnegan and his family live in a barricaded New York City. But Finn’s sheltered life fractures when his unsuspecting mother falls sick with the zombie disease—latent inside her since before her son’s birth.

Finn, too, can be infected. If he remains healthy for the last two years of the potential incubation period, he’ll be cleared. Until then, he must be moved to a special facility for positives, segregated to keep the healthy population safe.

Tattooed with a plus sign on his hand that marks him as a positive, Finn is exiled from the city. But when marauders kill the escort sent to transport him, Finn must learn how to survive alone in an eerie, disintegrated landscape. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger is his fellow humans.



Usually when you come across a zombie story, it takes place during the outbreak or maybe a few years into it. Positive is the story of the zombie apocalypse decades after it wrecked havoc on humanity. Finn has no clue what it was like out there in the world when the zombies started popping up. He doesn’t know what it’s like to fight off hordes of zombies, be terrified all the time, or watch people get attacked. He grew up in a city that’s well protected from zombies. They grow their own food, and lead a normal life. However, when his mom suddenly becomes a zombie, Finn’s life is forever changed. Since the zombie virus can remain dormant for up to 20 years, they have no way of knowing whether or not his mother came in contact with the virus before, during, or after her pregnancy with Finn. So, to be on the safe side, the authorities tattoo Finn’s hand, marking him a “positive” to let others know that he may be infected, and then ship him off to a positives only camp. However, when he goes to meet the government escort outside his safe little town, they’re dead, and Finn is left to navigate the hostile world alone, in the hopes of surviving long enough to find the camp.

Like I said, usually you read about a current zombie outbreak, or maybe something that is relatively recent. However, you have generations that were around before there were areas that could contain it’s own population and keep the zombies out. Then you have Finn’s generation who are completely oblivious to what’s going on in the world. So, needless to say, Finn comes across some very unpleasant things while on the road. He comes across road pirates, looters, military who treat him like the scum of the earth, and has some harsh realities thrown in his face. It took a while for Finn to grow up and stop being naive but I was proud of the progress he made by the end of the story.

I don’t want to say too much and give away all the key points of the story but I will say that the final conflict of the novel was very well written. Normally you have this huge build-up throughout a book and then when the moment finally comes, it’s over in the blink of an eye. The author took his time playing out the final scene, it went on for chapters. It was very well thought out and I really like the fact that he took the time to really give it the attention and detail it deserved because you knew the story was building up to this moment.

I have actually had this book sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now and I feel bad that I haven’t read it sooner. I’m not a huge zombie person and I wasn’t overly sure if I’d ever be in the mood for a novel where a kid walks through Zombie-land for hundreds of pages. However, it kind of has more to do with humanity and who he comes in contact with, than it did with the actual zombies. Don’t get me wrong, the zombies were still there, but I was always more afraid of the living than the undead.


Favorite quote…

“Nothing lasts forever, not even the horrors in this life.”




5 Thoughts on “Review: Positive by David Wellington

  1. With a lot of zombie books out there, it’s interesting to know that this one takes place after the outbreak. When I read the tagline my mind immediately went to Mad Max but with zombies in it. LOL

  2. I’ve had this book on my shelf for years as well and I’ve enjoyed a few of his books in the past. I was actually planning on trying to read it this month so we’ll see.

    For What It’s Worth

  3. Ugh zombies, there is nothing scarier

  4. I’m not a huge fan of zombie books but this one sounds interesting. You’re right most are at the outbreak of it, not decades after.

  5. This sounds good, but zombies are not my thing.

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