Thursday, September 23, 2021

Infestation (Whispering Pines #2)

Lang, Heidi and Bartkowski, Kati. Infestation (Whispering Pines #2)
September 14th 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
E ARC provided by Edleweiss Plus

After the horrific events of Whispering Pines, Rae, Caden and the others are trying to go forward. Caden's brother Aiden is in the other place, and his family's magic seems unable to get him out, and the Unseeing took many of their classmates. Rae is still dealing with the disappearance of her father, and the town is unsure about the corporate stalking that Green On! is soing in the town. Some of the children, like Vivienne, whose mother works for Green On! think is a great corporation, and there is an internship opportunity at the company that Rae, Alyssa, and Vivienne all seize. Also there is Blake, whom the girls don't trust. When Aiden reappears, Caden struggles with how to deal with him. Rae and Blake both run into various giant insect like creatures who torture goats for their various purposes, and also take some of the smaller bugs back into their houses. They realize that something must be done about the infestation, and after they successfully fight the creatures with a bug spray created by Green On!, they further question that corporation's motives. There are still probably going to be threats to Whispering Pines, since Rae and Caden decide to form a team to take care of any future occurrences. 
Strengths: Exploding goats. Giant menacing spiders. Hidden spaceships. Evil alternate dimensions. Tweens saving the world. It's all here. Nicely creepy tale with enough action to keep the pace brisk, enough friend drama to heighten the suspense, and otherworldly occurrences to keep Condie's The Darkdeep or Stranger Things fans happy. 
Weaknesses: The cover of the first book, with the missing eyes, was so much creepier. The bug in the background should have been bigger. Or, you know, the cover could have featured the exploding goat. 
What I really think: There were a lot of characters to keep straight, and my fantasy amnesia (as well as skimming over a lot of the book to avoid exploding goats) rendered me incapable of fully understanding how the Other Place and Green On! were related. I'll have to have a student explain it to me. My students are very good about doing this, which I appreciate. 

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