Maximum Ride: School's Out--Forever

Patterson, James (2006). New York: Little, Brown, and Co. ISBN-10: 0316155594/ISBN-13: 978-0316155595

Max and her 5 friends Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge, and Angel escaped in Book I from the lab where they were created by Jeb. They are human-avian genetic mutants who can fly. Now the wolf-mutants from the lab, the Erasers, can also fly, and the Erasers are on the tails of Max and the flock. They fly to D.C., where the hospitalization of Fang after an Eraser attack leads to their introduction to Anne, an FBI agent, who takes them to her house to protect them. For a while, the flock enrolls in school, begins the search for long-lost parents, and enjoys the pleasures of a normal life, but Jeb, the Erasers, and Jeb's mysterious boss pursue them relentlessly.

Reader’s Annotation
Who hasn’t wished they could fly? Max and her human-avian friends can, but they barely have time to enjoy it, since nefarious scientists and their “Eraser” henchmen pursue them from the lab from which the recombinant mutants escaped.

Pretty silly book. Patterson dedicates this installment to “everybody out there who spreads the joy of reading’, so his heart’s in the right place—he’s using the tropes of cartoons, video games, and action film to try to grab the restless attention of reluctant readers, especially perhaps boys, though the hilariously named “Maximum Ride” is a girl. By the numbers the books are hugely popular, so it may be working. If so much will be forgiven, but the cocky dialogue and sacrifice of story for action does not make for high quality writing.

About the author
James Patterson is a very popular writer of adult thrillers, especially the Alex Cross series, books recently heard advertised on talk radio, but the Maximum Ride books are written for young readers.

YA Mystery (Amazon)

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss the ways in which the flock seeks parent figures in the absence of their own.
What DNA could be combined with ours?
Focus on the personality of one of the flock members and his/her contribution to the group.

Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 6-10 (SLJ, Booklist)

Challenge Issues

Why Included?
Looking for boy books/action for reluctant readers

Selection Tools

Oh boy. YALSA list of fun titles for reluctant readers for program in association with World Wrestling!

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