18 September 2012, Putnam Juvenile ARC from Baker and Taylor
This sequel to Shelter finds Mickey, Ema and Spoon barely recuperated from their adventure when they are plunged into another mystery-- Rachel, with whom Mickey has just become friends, is shot and her mother is killed. When Mickey visits her, he finds an Abeona Shelter butterfly on her door, but also thinks that Chief Taylor is covering up Rachel's father's drug dealing. Spoon's enthusiasm for investigating, as well as his ability to break into the school comes in handy when the group investigates, but things become even more complicated. Mickey, at the suggestion of the Bat Lady, thinks that his father may still be alive, but comes to realize that the EMT he saw at his father's accident was not really a Nazi guard, as the Bat Lady would have him believe. When the Bat Lady's house is burnt down, Mickey finds a variety of pictures there, deepening his confusion and his interest in the Abeona Shelter. He finds out some secrets about Ema's life, and does manage to unravel the mystery surrounding Rachel's shooting. He also makes the basketball team, gets kicked off because he has run afoul of the law, gets back on the team, and is set to head to California with his uncle to make sure that his father is actually interred in his grave. Another sequel sure to be coming.
Strengths: Never, ever dull! Lots of things are happening, but I was still able to follow what was going on. The characters get fleshed out a little more, although Spoon didn't get the attention he deserved. Again, Coben really has a handle on what boys want in a mystery. Can't wait for the next one!
Weaknesses: A few too many story lines. I know that the Abeona Shelter is the one that will weave through all of the books, but for some reason I find this one confusing and thought that Rachel's mystery alone could have carried this one. Still, great stuff!
Higson, Charlie. The Fear.
12 June 2012, Hyperion Books for Children
Sequel to The Enemy and The Dead. The zombie plague is still affecting the adults over the age of 16, and some of them manage to stay alive by eating children in graphically described disgusting ways. DogNut's group is pretty safe and secure inside the Tower of London, but some of the children want to venture out to see if they can find friends and relatives they lost. After taking a boat down the Thames, the group runs into other groups of children, as well as plenty of sickos. DogNut doesn't really want to stay at Buckingham Palace with David, who is a little too fond of the power he has now, nor does he want to stay with Brooke at the Natural History Museum. Traipsing around town leads to the gruesome death of several of the children, and the book ends with more sickos being unleashed.
Strengths: Best zombie books ever. Blood, gore, you name it. PLUS, kids get to be in charge of great London landmarks like the Houses of Parliament.
Weaknesses: I had trouble keeping all of the characters straight, and didn't really care because I figured they would all be dead soon. Also, the kids spoke in fractured English that I don't remember from the other books. There was also a long riff by one of the girls about how fat she was. Really? You're living in the Tower of London and trying to save everyone from flesh eating zombies, and you're worried about whether the boys will like you because your butt is too big? I think I zoned out after that. Somewhat disappointed-- I really liked the other books. At least one more to come.