Stop! Unless you've read the first book in the MAXIMUM RIDE series, THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT, you should not read this review. Although MAXIMUM RIDE: SCHOOL'S OUT--FOREVER, could be read alone, you'll do much better if you read THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT first. Trust me. Read the first book, and then this one, and you'll end up thanking me. Now, if you promise you've already read the first book in the series, hold on to your hats, because the action heats up significantly in this second installment.
Twenty-four hours after Max killed Ari, the bird kids are once again on the run. The whole gang is together again and in one relatively unharmed piece--Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge, Angel, and stray dog, Total. Max is trying hard to forget that when it came to escaping the Erasers (half-human, half-werewolf, read the first book!), she had no choice but to kill Ari in their fight for freedom.
Except, surprise, Ari isn't dead! Jeb and the other doctors at the "school" are still trying to recapture them, and Fang has been deathly wounded. Max knows there is no choice but to get Fang to a real hospital, and she's not even really surprised when the FBI turns up to question them. What does surprise her is the appearance of Anne Walker, a head-honcho who wants Max and the gang to come to her home, where she can protect them, feed and clothe them, and study them. Fang still needs rest, and a roof over their heads and food in their belly at regular intervals sounds like a good idea. Although she's wary of Anne's true motives, Max and her flock move, temporarily, into Anne's home. They're even enrolled in school--a real school, not a cover for psychotic men in white coats to perform horrible experiments on them--and although that doesn't turn out so great, the time they spend at Anne's is helping everyone to forget some of the pain they've suffered.
But the Erasers show up, as they always do, and Anne turns out not to be as wonderful as she first appeared, as also seems to happen on a regular basis. Not-dead Ari is determined to destroy the flock, especially Max, once and for all, and the Voice in Max's head is getting increasingly annoying as to her duty to save the world.
This second book in the series is as full of adventure, heart-stopping adrenaline, and edge-of-your-seat action as the first book was. I loved the newfound powers that many in the flock gained in this installment, as well as Total's ability to talk. I can't wait to see what happens next, especially in regards to Itex and how it figures in with the seemingly imminent destruction of Earth. Kudos to Mr. Patterson for another winner in the MAXIMUM RIDE series. The only thing I hate is that it will probably be another year or so before we find out what happens next!
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"