Viral Nation

Viral Nation - Shaunta Grimes ARC provided by Berkley Trade via Net Galley.
The world's population is nearly wiped out by a virus. This virus claimed Clover Donovan's mother, and nearly claimed her brother, West. The only thing that saved him was the suppressant, developed by The Company. Now, The Company controls everything; from the borders of the cities, to the amount of food that citizens receive. And also, who is allowed to attend the Waverly-Stead Academy. That is where autistic sixteen year old Clover comes in. Clover passes the Academy entrance exams with flying colours, but is denied entry because of her service dog, Mango. Because of this, she is sent to The Company, to become a Time Mariner; a person who travels through time in order to gain information. But when on a mission into the future, Clover discovers that her brother is in danger, and that is the beginning of the events that will change her life forever.
Completely unrelated to this book, but I feel like saying it: I love making up my synopses of books that I review. It's so much fun!
Anyway, onto Viral Nation.
I was mainly interested in this novel, because it is dystopian (one of my most loved genres of YA novels), and the main character, Clover, is autistic. I have never (well, I have now, after reading Viral Nation) read a novel with an autistic protagonist. I was eager to find out how the author portrayed a young girl with autism, and how she managed mental health themes. And I must say, I was impressed. Grimes didn't overdo it, and she didn't demonise Clover, either. I am very pleased with how the author handled things.
Personally, I loved Clover. I didn't find her unrelatable because of her autism, and I found the descriptions of her perception of things very insightful. I physically cringed in one of the early chapters when her primary school bullies were giving her a hard time, and I wished that I could jump in the pages, and tell them all to back off.
Because Viral Nation was written in the third person, I didn't gain as much insight as I would have liked into Clover's emotions. I would have loved to see how her feelings towards people affected her, and how her feelings for a certain boy developed over time.
The world building, and plot of Viral Nation was addictive, to say the least. It was definitely one of those books that you don't want to put down, but you don't want to finish, either. And I think those are often the best kinds of books.
Jude. Oh, how I love thee. I fell in love the moment that he was introduced, and I could just tell that he was going to play an important role in this novel. I would love some Jude chapters in the second instalment of this series (which I would like to know the name of - is it Viral Nation, or something else?).
I loved Mango deeply, and if anything happens to that dog, in any of the books, I will be absolutely devastated.
I must say that at around page 250, there was some confusion on my part. It was when the time travel aspect of this novel was being explained, and I got a little lost. But other than that, the book was easy to understand, and flowed really well.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this unique novel, and I cannot wait until the second book in this series is released.