Cole, Steve. Z. Raptor.
Adam is walking across New York City to meet his father for pizza when he is followed by creepy guys and kidnapped! They take him to meet his father and claim to be fighting against Genetech, the company creating mutant dinosaur fighting machine, but then tranquilize Adam and his father and whisk them away to a remote island. There, dinosaurs attack their boats, and Adam ends up stranded. He meets a small group of survivors who are being helped by Loner, a velociraptor who is fighting both the people who turned him into a sentient and vocal but violent mutant. The battle heats up, and it turns out that Genetech is even more evil than Adam already suspects. The ending of this book makes me strongly suspect that Z. Apocalypse will be the final book in this series.
Strengths: Another great British author for guys, Steve Cole also wrote Thieves Like Us and the sequel, the Wereling trilogy, and the Astrosaurs series, which made me sad because it was one of the very few books nominated for the Cybils award that I was not able to read because I could not locate a copy anywhere! Mr. Cole gets the Paul Zindel Gore Award for this tale of island survival.
Weaknesses: My copy of Z. Rex looks like it was chewed on by a Z. Doberman, so I may need to recover it so it is as equally shiny as the sequel.
A note: This book does not have an Accelerated Reader test. Most of the books I review are very new, and RenLearn does not create tests for most books right away. My school, which piloted this program back for our district in 1996 or so, has 3,841 tests. I'm not a huge fan of AR, but it's not inherently evil, and I am able to get students who consult me books that they like and that they are able to finish so that they can meet their AR requirements. It's been a struggle this year, with elementary students being used to online AR.