It's been two years since the Contamination turned ordinary people into violent creatures. Velvet's parents disappeared and ever since she has been trying to take care of her 10-yr-old sister while continuing to go to school. It isn't working very well. Everything is so expensive and she just doesn't have time to keep up with her homework and pay the bills.
The government has developed a way to control the victims or Connies. They are rounded up and placed in rehabilitation centers also known as the Kennels, since they resemble dog pounds, and fitted with shock collars that keep them docile. If the Connies for some reason don't remain calm, the shock collars also have the ability to kill.
One day Velvet gets a call from a Kennel telling her that her mother has been picked up and is now fitted with the collar. She can come and get her to go home as long as she is prepared to keep an eye on her. At first it is very hard for her to restrain her mother when she has to leave the apartment, but she knows it has to be done.
Slowly, but surely, her mother begins to make progress and responds more and more like a normal person. But, when signs of the Contamination start to show up again, the government isn't willing to take any chances. Connies aren't just being rehabilitated any more. This time it is much worse.
CONTAMINATED is a truly unique zombie novel. The idea of the zombies being rehabilitated and able to come back to a normal life is a nice change from the "have to kill them" plot. Garner does a great job of mixing post-apocalyptic, survival, and romance together to make an unputdownable story.