Author: James Patterson
Pages: 480 (paperback)
Genre: YA Fiction / Science Fiction
Age Recommendation: 12+
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
“Boy, you just can’t kill people like you used to”
Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever is the second in a series of eight books in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. It is set in the USA in the near future and follows the story of the ‘Flock’; Maximum Ride (Max), Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, Angel and Total the talking dog. In this book, and the majority of the others, it focuses entirely on Max; the leader of the Flock and the first-person narrator of the story.
The Flock are a group of human-avian hybrids (98% human, 2% bird) who are on the run from the scientists who created them. It sounds confusing but it’s easy enough to understand: each member of the Flock was raised in a science lab since before they can remember and the scientists like to experiment with different DNA which means each of these kids have a pair of wings.
In this book, Max is convinced that a microchip has been inserted under her skin – bringing evil forces to ambush them at any moment. Not to forget they’re supposed to be saving the world! But from what? This book continues the story of Max as she tries to protect her ‘family’ and solve the mystery of her past and her destiny. Oh, and she’s having to face a little thing called “education”.
I am absolutely against reading books in the wrong order but I do admit this was the first book I read in the Maximum Ride series. I took part in the Hampshire Book Awards in 2008 and this was one of the nominated novels that I had to read. Even now, after having read all of the books in the series, this is probably one of my favourites. There’s always a little explanation at the beginning of each book that will give you an idea about what happened in the last if you need to catch up. This book is also, in my opinion, one of the funniest in the series. Since you no longer need to get to know the characters there is a lot more time for little comedy moments. I especially like the idea that these kids are having to take a break and start living in the real world for a bit – there’s nothing stranger than a bunch of bird kids who are supposed to be saving the world and on the run from scientists, just stopping off for a bit of education at a private school. That’s not to say there isn’t just as much, if not more, action as the first book!
Again, this is another short book with tiny chapters and it is in first person so this is just another series that you could get through over a couple of weeks. If you like YA novels and science fiction it is definitely worth giving these books a read.