Category Archives: Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork

Thoughts on Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever

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As a whole, my thoughts on Maximum Ride from The Angel Experiment to School’s Out–Forever haven’t really changed, and as such I think it would be redundant to write a review. I do have some thoughts, however, so let’s get into those. Be warned: I will not be holding back, spoiler-wise.

First, the plot. In theory, the flock did a lot of things: they went to school! They found Iggy’s parents! They located an evul company!

The only problem is that none of these things really matter. The entire “going to school yay!” subplot took up the first half or so of the book, and served absolutely no purpose to the plot. We did not learn about the characters (with the exception of the romantic subplot between Max and Fang, but more on that later); we did not progress the plot; we accomplished nothing. Now, certainly things happened outside of school (the whole “finding our parents!” stuff), but the existence of school itself did not serve the plot in any meaningful way. All it did was serve as a tool for extra filler.

However, the actual time passed during schooltimes was important on account of the flock attempting to locate their parents. So what do we do when the plot needs time to develop, but the current activity for the characters is boring? We change that current activity.

Personally, I’d remove the safety of Anne and her house–put the flock out in the wild, having to fight to survive. This could pose numerous character questions: how far will Max go to feed the flock? How will the flock act in a time of desperation? And so on. This way, rather than just having the kids at school and performing stereotypical school shenanigans straight out of a nineties cartoon, the characters are actually having to do things and struggle. And, of course, with struggle comes conflict, and with conflict comes compelling reading. The only conflict of the school plot was the headmaster, who might as well have literally been a cartoon character.

Speaking of characters, let’s talk about characters. Theoretically, this would have been JPatterson’s chance to develop the characters; he failed spectacularly in the first book, and now they have some free time to do things and, well, develop. However, instead of actually making the characters their own people, he threw them into stereotypical situations and had them react in stereotypical ways. As such, the characters never developed, and they continue to behave with single character traits for each: Angel is a little girl, Nudge is a slightly older girl, Gazzy is a young boy, Iggy is sarcastic, Fang is quiet, and Max is a horrible human being.

Also note how the younger characters are defined solely by their age and gender. Angel is a six-year-old girl, so she likes unicorns and princesses; Nudge is slightly older, so she also has interest in more pop-culturey things; Gazzy is an eight-year-old boy, so he’s got a crass sense of humor and is a trouble maker. If you remove the names, the characters aren’t even characters: they’re caricatures. And that is bad, bad, bad writing. (Not to mention sexist!)

Now, let’s discuss Itex, the evul company that’s evil because of some reason. Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t yet heard of Fox News running a piece on this, because I imagine it’s pretty much what they think of when they think of evil liberals trying to poison our kids. Now, I don’t think Itex being an evil company is going to harm our children (and I must admit, my political views are probably more liberal than conservative), but I certainly think it shows a lot of authorial laziness and likely comes from a liberal source. Why do I think this? Because Itex is just… evil. It’s a big company, it has all kinds of products, and it’s evil. That is pretty much all I know about the company, and it seems like in JPatterson’s mind, it being a big company is reason enough for it to be evil. That, again, is lazy writing.

Back to the plot, how about the whole fake Max thing? As far as I can gather, this was the plan:

  1. Infiltrate the flock with a fake Max.
  2. Have fake Max lead the flock into the heart of the company’s headquarters.
  3. Ambush the flock with holographic frightening things.
  4. Profit?

So, just take a look at this. First, why do they need a fake Max? Haven’t the flock been perfectly adept at getting into places on their own? Then, why take them to the company’s headquarters? Wouldn’t it make more sense to take them to some warehouse where they can’t find company secrets?Then,why use a bunch of holograms to scare them? Why not just shoot them with tranquilizer darts or bullets?

Finally, why not just perform their end goal on the flock when they broke into their hotel room while the flock were sleeping? They kidnapped Max, is it somehow more difficult to kidnap the others, too?

The problem is, JPatterson seems to have no idea what his bad guys want. Do they want to kill the flock? Capture them? Do some mystery thing? We’re never told, JPatterson seems not to know, and their actions seem to confirm all three. It’s nothing but stupid.

Finally, the whole “Max and Fang romance!” thing this book started.

Honestly, I don’t even understand it or its point. The reader can see it coming from about a mile away, and it feels as if the only reason JPatterson included it is because “hey, they’re the two main characters and they’re the opposite sex so romantic subplot, duh!” It’s nothing but boring, because there’s no possible way it won’t end with Max and Fang together, probably with some love triangles along the way.

I also have to wonder what a romantic subplot is doing in a book about kids on the run from evil scientists. Again, it seems more like obligation to have romance in a “young adult” novel than it is any real point. The Max and Fang romance nearly rivals the Peeta/Gale love triangle in the Hunger Games for “why is this even here?”

So, there are my thoughts on Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever.

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Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 11

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(Sorry for the delay on this one–some non-internet stuff resulted in me not writing it till Tuesday, and then I managed to completely forget about it.)

Chapter 123

Hee hee, sequential numbers.

After the Erasers had taken the inferior Max away from the motel, I quickly lay down in her spot and pulled the blanket over me. I closed my eyes, positive I wouldn’t sleep a wink.

I was so hyped up–it was all finally happening. No way I would sleep. . . . Out with the old Max, in with the new and improved Max. All according to plan.

“Wagh!” I woke up flailing, dreaming that I was being sponged by aliens. (pg 355)

  1. Awfully great grammar, vocabulary, and eloquence from this presumably really young clone.
  2. Shouldn’t that be “I laid down”? Genuine question; I’m not a hundred percent sure either way.
  3. I don’t like the passage of time, or lack thereof, in this excerpt. As there is no break in the writing, there is nothing actually saying time passed, which means she got into bed and then woke up directly after without falling asleep. I suppose you could say that the passage of time can be inferred, but then it just plain reads awkwardly since you’re going from “awake” to “waking up” with nothing in between.

So anyway, fake Max, blah blah blah, she proceeds to be entirely conspicuous because DUH.

Chapter 124

Max freaks out for two pages because she’s in nothingness, and while it’s still Maximum Ride and thus boring it’s better than JPatterson usually bothers to write. On the third page, the voice tells Max she’s in a “sensory-deprivation chamber.”

Chapter 125

Basically every thought I’d ever had in my entire life, I had all over again, one after another in a rapid-fire succession. Every memory, every color, every taste, every sensation of any kind replayed itself in my fevered brain, endless loops of thought and memory and dream and hope, over and over, until I couldn’t tell what had been real and what had been wishful thinking and what had been a movie I’d seen or a book I’d read. (pgs 361-362)

…Right.

(And don’t bother to tell me what any of those things are, because they definitely wouldn’t add to your character.)

So then the tank gets opened!

Chapter 126

Jeb gets Max out of the tank and has a bunch of meaningless talking with her before she gets put back in the tank.

Chapter 127

Fake Max goes on a brief monologue about how the flock suck, which surprisingly doesn’t seem to have any issues in its logic.

Anyway, she’s leading the flock into Itex.

Chapter 128

Max decides to fake dead and 1) manages to fake dead, because sure, and 2) I’m assuming will succeed, because the scientists obviously didn’t bother to have anything set up to check Max’s vitals.

Chapter 129

I see no need to go into a lot of boring detail, but we [fake Max and the flock] found our way to the Itex computer room.(pg 272)

Funny, because to me it seems more like JPatterson being lazy and not wanting to think how they’d get in than the details actually being boring.

And, say, why is fake Max’s narration in this book? In first person, no less? Is there supposed to be any pretense of this being real anymore? I mean, there was a real world Fang’s Blog and everything, and JPatterson just adds in a random first person villain perspective?

So, yeah. Fake Max and the flock are in the computer room, and Nudge is hacking the computer with her ability that exists only to hack computers.

Chapter 130

The scientists take Max out because sigh and then she escapes.

Chapter 131

Fake Max and Nudge are computering stuff, and Nudge finds a video of her parents being distraught and apparently the signatures on the consent forms for them to give away Nudge “looked exactly like Jeb Batchelder’s.”

So, he didn’t even try to do a forgery? Is this a real thing that could actually work? Because I feel like it shouldn’t.

Aaaand then Iggy says someone is coming because of super hearing or something.

Chapter 132

Max is raging against the scientists because aaagh! and all the other things they’d done to Max don’t compare to the fact that they put her in a tank. (And I swear, she actually says this in what as far as I can tell is seriousness. She even includes the whole “they kidnapped Angel!” thing.)

Chapter 133

And then Max gets attacked by snakes.

Is this supposed to be a real novel?

Chapter 134

So it seems that Fake Max’s plan was to get the flock into Itex, at which point they’d be attacked and subjected to their “worst fears.” (Which include spiders and rats–real complex characters you’ve got here, JPatterson! Fang’s in a cage, at least.) This is happening now.

I’m really not sure what the point of it is.

Chapter 135

Max can now follow the flock’s scent.

I am trying to think of something to say and I just fail. I just… I just can’t find a way to express what horrible writing this is.

So just think of the worst insult you can and pretend I’m saying it to JPatterson.

Max finds the flock and Fake Max.

Chapter 136

Apparently the worst fears thing was a holographic virtual-reality system.

JPatterson. Holograms are not corporeal. They are 3D images. Fang cannot be imprisoned in a holographic cage.

As if there was ever a pretense the flock might be fooled, Angel identifies fake Max as fake Max because mind reading.

Chapter 137

Fake Max attacks real Max while Jeb and some scientists look on, wanting one of them to kill the other. The flock don’t try to help real Max, though.

Chapter 138

Fight fight fight and then real Max wins and says nope! she won’t kill fake Max sorry.

Chapter 139

Um. Nothing of importance happens other than silly speeches about morals? (And also Max saying the scientists probably didn’t date enough in high school. Because all teenagers have to date. And because she dates. (Oh wait she does because even crazy bird kids have to date or oh my god what are you some kinda weird person who doesn’t date?))

Chapter 140

Explosion, courtesy of Gazzy!

Chapter 150

And then everyone escapes.

Epilogue

Chapter 142

No, I don’t think it makes any sense either.

Blah blah blah happiness.

And then the book ends.

Yay!

As with between The Angel Experiment and this book, expect some delay until I get my hands on the next one. Also expect some heavy retconning on JPatterson’s part when we get there.

Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 10

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Chapter 105

Angel talks to a bunch of sharks and has them head over.

I guess this is supposed to be funny?

Chapter 106

The flock head down to the Ocala National Forest (oh, and in case I forgot to say, they’re in Florida now).

An hour later we had a small fire going and were roasting things on sticks. I was so used to eating this way that even if I were, like, a grown-up making breakfast for my 2.4 children, I would probably be impaling Pop-Tarts on the ends of sticks and holding them over the fire. (pg 309)

I’m not a huge fan of how this is worded (especially with the unnecessary “like” cluttering things up), but I do find this humorous.

However, one funny aside in 300 pages of asides isn’t really good enough for me.

Everyone’s antics-ing when Max’s magical neck hairs tell her someone’s watching. Angel then confirms this.

Chapter 107

The presence Max sensed turns out to be a small boy and girl, who devour a bunch of the flock’s food (don’t ask me how they obtained the food, because I don’t know) before telling their story:

“We got kidnapped,” said the girl,

The boy nodded tiredly. “In south Jersey. From two different places–we’re not related.”

“We escaped a couple times. Even made it to the police station.”

“But both times our kidnappers were already there, like, filing missing-kid notices. They just found us again, real easy.”

“So, who were your kidnappers?” Fang tried.

“They were, like, doctors,” the boy said sleepily, laying down too. “In white coats.” (pg 313)

This, of course, frightens the flock because oh no scientists and stuff!

(Also it was at this point that I noticed most underage characters in the book overuse the word “like.” Apparently in JPatterson’s mind all kids are valley girls.)

Chapter 108

Max is on watch early in the morning when the boy and girl wake up and slink off away from the flock, at which point the girl starts speaking to a pen-like microphone. Max pounces on them, of course.

Chapter 109

Max interrogates the kids, who were forced by their scientist kidnappers to… do something. See, as far as I can tell, the entire plan of the scientists was “send these kids in to where the flock are and have them tell us where the flock are.” As opposed to just sending in some trained soldier-people to shoot tranquilizer darts at the flock.

So why did this encounter even happen? To give Max the name of the eeeevul company, Itex.

(You know, just your standard “throw sense to the wind so characters know what they need to” stuff.)

Chapter 110

An hour later we were almost a hundred miles away. (pg 320)

I still can’t get over the ridiculous flight speeds of these kids.

“So, Itex,” I said to Fang.

“I told you it was like a deer,” Angel said.

“That’s ibex,” said Nudge. “And they’re more goatlike than deerlike.” (pg 320)

Broken record complaint with this series #20: where do these kids get their information from?

The flock head to a library to research Itex, and Max conveniently remembers how the Itex logo was on everything in the School.

Chapter 111

The flock are now on their way to the Itex company headquarters, which is in Florida because of course it is.

Also the younger members of the flock want to go to Disney (broken record complaint number #7: why do these kids care so much about “normal” kid things?) and Max gives in. Also:

“Who let whom have a freaking dog?” I responded. (pg 323)

Fun fact: just recently, I started trying to incorporate proper usage of whom into my vocabulary. I am not knowledgeable enough about how to use it to say if this is correct or not (I’d say it is, since “whom” could be replaced by “him,” but the guideline that comes from isn’t concrete), but I certainly have to wonder why Max of all people is using the word whom.

Chapter 112

Ari viewpoint chapter! Also a really short chapter as he is angry at the flock for going to Disney and makes Disney puns.

Chapter 113-114

These chapters are pretty much just product placement for Disney World so I am not recapping them. No way no how.

Chapter 115

Ari is waiting for the flock to come out of Splash Mountain when a kid comes up to him and thinks Ari’s Wolverine. Ari gives the kid an autograph because the kid makes him feel wanted.

Chapter 116

Max sees Ari so time to leave Disney!

Chapter 117

“Black Ranger to Feather One,” Total said softly. “Coast is clear. Come in, Feather One.”

“Total, I’m right here,” I whispered. “We don’t even have walkie-talkies.”

“No, but we should,” Total whispered back. “I should have one, and it could–” (pg 338)

The kids at least have the excuse of the internet and television, but where the heck did Total get such a comic-relief attitude living in a cage?

The kids end up in a junkyard with a bunch of cards, at which point Nudge displays car knowledge she apparently got from car magazines Jeb got.

You know, just your typical “character gets a bit of history and a skill mentioned just when it’s necessary and then it’s completely forgotten about” shtick.

Chapter 118

The flock are driving because of reasons. (Actually, I think they decided to be on the ground after running into a news chopper. News choppers apparently only existing in Florida, since they’ve never encountered them before.)

Chapter 119

The flock get pulled over by the police for speeding, but Angel uses her mind control so it’s all okay.

“I don’t know, guys,” she [Angel] said. “I really think maybe I should be the leader.” (pg 247)

If Angel wasn’t so darn creepy (and this line was just a joke–apparently Angel was half-serious), this would actually be funny.

Chapter 120

The flock reach Itex, at which point they decide to come back tomorrow for a tour.

Chapter 121

I just want to point out that the book’s nearly over and barely anything has actually happened.

The flock are now at an inn that they somehow got into…

Chapter 122

…And then Max gets kidnapped and the Max clone heads into the room.

I can’t wait to see what idiotic plan this is a part of.

Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 9

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I just want to take a moment to say that we’re currently three thirds of the way through the book and so far no plot has been resolved. Though I suppose for it to be resolved there has to be a plot in the first place; so far, this book has just been “living with Anne, school, finding our parents, blah blah blah.” Hopefully we’ll now get some semblance of plot since the flock are no longer with Anne, but I’m not optimistic.

Chapter 94

Max meets up with Fang, fight scene, then Ari’s there and Ari on Fang fight scene!

Why isn’t Max helping? Well, because this:

I wanted to jump in and help, but I sensed it was one of those boy things and I should stay out of it unless Fang was really getting his butt kicked. (pg 270)

What.

Max, how is Ari attacking your brother a “boy thing”? Why is it not appropriate for you to jump in and help your freaking brother because he’s being attacked by another boy?

And she says she isn’t sexist. HA.

(Well, okay, she just points out others’ supposed sexism, but that is much more bulky to say.)

No other Erasers seemed to be around, amazingly, and choppers didn’t suddenly appear. It was just your basic one-on-one mutant-vs.-mutant fight. (pg 270)

How convenient for the “drama” of this scene.

Anyway, Fang knocks out Ari or whatever. I really don’t care about anything going on in this book anymore.

Chapter 95

Max and Fang get to the bat cave and Angel says why not go to Florida (because of Disney World. Don’t ask me how she knows so much about Disney World or cares about it for that matter)? so they decide to go to Florida.

Chapter 96

Part 5 as well, called “Back to Saving the World.” Because apparently that was ever something they were doing?

We’re with Ari for this chapter, as for some reason he’s telling Jeb his kidnap Max plan. Jeb, for some reason, decides to go along with this plan.

(I know I keep reusing terms but that’s only ’cause the book reuses nonsense.)

These villains just aren’t very consistent or threatening or interesting or any good adjective for a villain to have.

Chapter 97

Have you ever–no, I guess you never have. If you’ve never flown with hawks, there’s no way you’d be able to understand what it’s like. Maybe if you’ve swum with sharks or something, not like at SeaWorld but in the ocean. That might be kind of close to this feeling. (pg 279)

If there’s no possible way I could understand this sensation, Max is just gloating.

Real nice, Max.

Irrelevant stuff and then Total gets knocked out of Iggy’s arms oh no!

Chapter 98

Max drops to find Total, lands on a glider plane because of course she does, and grabs Total.

Real tense, exciting scene there. Real relevant to the plot at hand, too. (That being serious, as there is no plot.)

Chapter 99

Ari is in a department store, and we get treated to some obnoxious, Max-like narration. Also this weird bit:

Oh, so gross, the underwear department. There was a lady right there, holding a bra! Out in the open! Oh, my God–was she crazy? Ari turned away and kept walking, fast. (pg 287)

I mean.

What.

Then he sees Game Boys, gets one unclipped from its display (is this standard practice, selling a handheld right from the display? I’d think he’d get a box) by an employee, and then walks off with it, starting to play a game that for some reason is loaded onto this new Game Boy that’s intended for sale.

JPatterson, I know it’s hard, but please at least try to do a bit of research into how handhelds work before featuring them in your story. See, the thing is, the Game Boy was released in 1989 by Nintendo. The Game Boy Advanced SP, the newest Game Boy line handheld, was released in 2003. The Nintendo DS, Nintendo’s successor to the Game Boy, was released in 2004.

Now, while Game Boy is an acceptable term for Game Boy Advanced SP, there is no getting around the fact that by 2005, the time this book is set in, the Game Boy would be obsolete. So.

Ari leaves the store and morphs into an Eraser to scare away the guards.

I’m really not sure what’s going on. Is this a real, published book? Because it seems like some sort of random fan fiction… thing that is just a collection of random scenes of a person’s favorite characters.

Chapter 100

A hundred chapters and the most plot development has been Iggy finding his parents and then not staying with them.

*Sigh*

Nothing relevant actually happens in this chapter.

Chapter 101

“How long till we get to Florida?” Nudge asked. “Are we really going to Disney World? DO you think we’ll see anyone famous? I want to go to the Swiss Family Tree-house. I want to see Beauty and the Beast and get their autographs. I want to see the Tree of Life–” (pg 294)

The heck, Nudge? You grew up in a cage and in isolation in the mountains. Why do you care so much about Disney World?

Bizarre, inconsistent characters aside, the flock decide to go to the beach.

Actually, that’s just more weird characterization, because for some reason they love the beach so much?

Chapter 102

Max does her super-flying to get to the beach first, and…

It was time for the chip to go. The Voice came from the chip, I was sure of it. No chip, no Voice inside my head that I couldn’t get away from. I pressed my lips together hard and started sawing at my forearm, where I had seen the chip on an X-ray, three lifetimes ago, in Dr. Martinez’s office. (pg 298)

…Right.

The flock arrive at just the time it’s convenient (as Max has damaged herself but not too seriously) and Fang starts fixing up Max’s arm.

Chapter 103

They keep telling me I’m supposed to save the word, but how, and from what, I don’t even know.” [Max said.]

Angel reached out and patted my knee. “From, you know, after everything gets blown up and most of the people are gone. We’ll be stronger, and able to fly, so we can leave the blown-up parts and find some nice land that isn’t blown up or contan–contama–”

“Contaminated?” Iggy provided, and Angel nodded.

“Yeah, that. Then we can keep on living, even if there are hardly any people left.” (pg 301)

Chapter 104

Turns out Angel got this information from her handy-dandy mind-reading while at the School (stuff that very conveniently was never mentioned during the book she was actually at the School in), and that the School’s scientists theorize a single company will be responsible for the bombing.

(I think it’ll be EA.)

So, uh, that’s a plot, I guess? Yay?

“Hey!” said Angel, standing up in knee-high water. “I can talk to fish!” (pg 305)

Well, that piece of ridiculousness seems like a good place to end this spork.

Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 8

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Chapter 78

The flock all gather in a cave home to bats some ways away from Anne’s house, at which point Max suggests they move on (i.e. leave Anne’s care). Nudge, however, does not like this because Thanksgiving is coming up and she wants to be at a proper home for Thanksgiving because of dinner. Max, of course, agrees to staying for Thanksgiving.

Chapter 79

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving dinner and Anne is freaking out over the cooking because that is her character or something.

Chapter 80

Thanksgiving dinner yay!

Also Anne wants to officially adopt the flock.

Chapter 81

The flock are now going to meet Iggy’s parents, and once again Iggy’s mom answers the door:

“Uh, hello… ma’am,” I  began, in that smooth handle-everything manner I have. “I saw you on TV, where you said you’d lost your son?”

A look of sadness crossed her face. “Yes?”

I stepped back so she could see Iggy. “I think this is him.”

Okay, so I’m not known for subtlety.

For a second the woman frowned, about to get angry at me for yanking her chain, but then she looked at Iggy and her frown changed to a look of puzzlement. (pg 232)

The omniscient narrator strikes again!

So they go into Iggy’s parents’ house and his parents use a birthmark he has (that, to my memory, was conveniently never mentioned until now) to identify him.

Chapter 82

Internal monologue about feelings about Iggy.

Chapter 83

The flock, minus Iggy, are now back with Anne, much to her distress.

Chapter 84

We’re now with Ari, who apparently has a voice in his head similar to Max’s, as he’s preparing for an Eraser attack on the flock. He is at first planning to kill Max, but then for some reason decides to kidnap her and make her his friend instead.

You know, just a complete 180 on his entire characterization so far, no big deal.

Chapter 85

Max is at school as Iggy is being reported as missing by the headmaster, and then she heads into the teacher’s lounge for… some reason, at which point the teachers pull out some Tasers. (By the way, is capitalizing that correct? The book did it, so I’m just following suit, but it seems not quite right to me.)

Chapter 86

In classic bad-book style, it turns out that the headmaster is on the side of the eeeeevil Taser teachers.

Tangent time: this is actually a quite common trope among less experienced writers (often evident in fan fiction), in which everyone who dislikes the hero is undoubtedly a horrible person, quite likely in league with some higher villainy. They also have a tendency to be humiliated by the end of the story.

Now, what is this amateur trope doing in a novel written by James Patterson, who should be far from an amateur?

Seriously, does anyone know? I can’t fathom a reason for such atrocity from someone who’s written so much (and supposedly written some good books at that).

Aaaanyway, Max ends up racing down the halls yelling for the flock to get out of there.

Chapter 87

Max is getting out of the school when the headmaster’s car comes at her, so…

I rain straight at the car and, right before it crashed into me, I jumped into the air. As my wings gathered wind beneath them, I kicked hard, shattering the headhunter’s windshield.(pg 250)

Um, even discounting the fact that Max would never be powerful enough to shatter a windshield, well, windshields (at least modern ones) don’t shatter. Period.

The flock escapes just as Ari arrives, blah blah blah.

Chapter 88

The flock go back to Anne’s house for Total, Ari somehow managing to arrive just after them (despite their ninety MPH flight speeds). Total’s outside, being chased by an Eraser in typical cartoon fashion, and then he does a super jump (twenty or thirty feet, because dogs can do that) and ends up in Angel’s arms.

Chapter 89

The flock are hovering around the house, watching Anne interact with Jeb and Ari, when Iggy shows up!

Chapter 90

“Oh no–Iggy. What happened?”

“Well,” he said, his face grim, “they didn’t mind the wings. In fact, they loved the wings. Especially since they got eight different publishers and magazines into a bidding war for the all-exclusive rights to my life story, complete with photographs and interviews with the freak himself.” His voice was indescribably bitter. (pg 257)

Well, I wouldn’t want you to strain your narrative ability, Max.

But seriously. What was the point of all this? Oh, parent finding subplot that ends up with nothing and will probably be forgotten within ten pages! All it did was pad out of the story.

That’s all this book is, really: filler. Nothing of note or importance has happened, and we’re over halfway through. I can’t even muster anger because it’s just boring.

Meanwhile, Anne is still arguing with Jeb, so Max heads down.

Chapter 91

I shot toward the ground at two hundred miles an hour. It was a total rush, over in a split second, and then I was braking, snapping my wings out to catch the air. (pg 259)

I’m really not buying that these wings added onto a human body can bring that body to a stop from a 200 MPH drop without at the very least great pain. At worst, her wings might snap right off (I’d think, at least–I’m no expert).

Also it turns out Anne is Jeb’s boss because of course she is.

Chapter 92

Maybe, deep down inside, I had known. Maybe that was why I had never been able to trust Anne, to relax. Or maybe that had just been my total paranoia coming in handy again. (pg 262)

Either way, it’s awfully convenient, don’t you think?

Blah blah blah, Max leaves and tells us she has a thirteen foot wingspan.

Because wings that size could totally be able to fold into her back.

Chapter 93

So Max and the flock are flying through the forest (with a goal of the bat cave, where Max had put supplies for the flock) with her thirteen foot wingspan (managing to harm herself no worse than having a couple feathers torn out). She briefly ends up talking with Ari about things that aren’t important, and then she heads off again.

Maximum Ride: School’s Out–Forever Spork Part 7

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Chapter 66

Max is telling off Iggy and Gazzy for bringing bombs to school (and the flock is grounded, by the way), and when she heads to her room she notices the TV on in Anne’s room, set to the news. And gasp! It turns out Iggy’s parents are on TV, talking about how they lost a child fourteen years ago (brought up now since there are new disappearances).

Chapter 67

Max is now relaying the information to Fang and

“Fang! This is a huge break! Of course we should go check it out!”

He looked at me. “But we’re grounded,” he said with a straight face.

I stared at him for a second, and then we both burst out laughing. (pg 191)

Yeah, I really like these kids with their complete disregard for any kind of authority.

Chapter 68

Max and Fang are heading off to find Iggy’s parents’ house, and Fang is feeling hot (similar to how Max did before she did her mega-awesome flying), and he says that since he got Max’s blood and blood has DNA in it, it might have something to do with it.

I’m just throwing that out there, ’cause I don’t know enough about biology (that would be biology, right? See, I don’t even know the category!) to determine whether or not that’s stupid. What is stupid is that Fang would know this random information.

Anyway, they don’t find anything and head back, at which point I think Anne sees them, but the book is very vague about it.

Chapter 69

Another couple weeks pass “normally,” with Angel not getting up to any mind-control antics, Nudge getting invited to a birthday party, and oh yeah the guy from the library, Sam, asked Max out on a date and she said yes. Though for some reason Max just tells us in retrospect as opposed to actually having it be a scene, which should have been a good character moment: Max grew up in a cage, blah blah blah, so how would she react when asked on a date?

But nope, we just get told, because telling instead of showing is Maximum Ride’s shtick.

Chapter 70

So Max is going on her date with Sam to the movies…

The film we saw was an incredibly violent military-espionage-action thing that looked like home movies from my childhood. (pg 197)

So, here we have Max, who grew up in a cage and in seclusion up in the mountains.

Mostly I sat in the dark, analyzing fight scenes and praying that Sam wouldn’t try to hold my hand. What if my palms were sweaty? (pg 197)

And here we have Max, worrying about sweaty palms.

They just don’t add up.

(Also, whatcha doin’, “Mostly?” If Max only mostly sat in the dark, what was she doing the rest of the time?)

So then the movie’s over and Sam holds Max’s hand and she’s fine with it, and then they go for ice cream and she thinks about how far she could throw the table.

Least. Consistent. Character. Ever.

Oh and then Ari is outside the shop.

Chapter 71

And then nothing happens.

Chapter 72

And then Sam kisses Max.

(I’m bored.)

Chapter 73

Max is talking with Fang when realization!

Then it hit me. I’d thought I’d seen my reflection in the window. But I hadn’t.

I turned slowly and looked at Fang. “Ari had me with me. There was a me outside the window.” (pg 205)

Then Max tells Fang about how she saw herself as an Eraser.

Chapter 74

This is also part 4, “There’s No Place Like Home.”

Why there was a part break here, when there is no thematic change, no previous plotlines have been resolved, or really is there any difference between the last part and this one…

*Sigh*

This is an Ari chapter, by the way, but nothing actually happens–it’s just angst on his part because people love Max and nobody loves him!

Which I don’t think is all that bad characterization, honestly. It’s kinda trite, but I don’t feel it’s too poorly handled. It’s still Maximum Ride, of course, so I don’t really care about Ari or his plight, but at the very least it’s not egregiously bad.

Chapter 75

Fang gave me a long-suffering and not very worshipful glance, then looked past me at the modest suburban brick house. It was dinky, old-fashioned, but, given how close it was to DC, probably worth almost half a million dollars. Note to self: Invest in DC real estate. Save up your allowance. (pg 212)

I feel like a broken record, but it must be said: Where is this information coming from, Max?

Anyway, Max and Fang are at Iggy’s parents’ house (and though Max says she doesn’t know for sure, come on, we all know) and they meet Iggy’s mother under the lie of selling a newspaper.

Chapter 76

We’re now with Iggy and Gazzy, who are looking for some hidden files they heard about previously in the school’s basement. There’s actually a bit of “agh I can’t see I hate this” type narration from Iggy which, while still telling instead of showing, is at least something.

Then they find the files and it’s information on how the school used to be an insane asylum until two years ago (!), and then they’re heading back up when they find a doorway that leads to a tunnel.

Chapter 77

I was kind of dreading seeing Sam again at school. Would he blow me off? Had he told anyone about us kissing? Would I get teased and therefore have to kick serious butt? (pg 217)

Because these are the concerns of a bird kid who grew up without proper human contact.

So Iggy and Gazzy tell Max about their file-hunting, and it turns out that while the school’s website says it’s been in the same building since 1985, the internet only has records going back two years. How an assumedly public school can suddenly just appear, claiming to have been in existence for twenty years, and have nobody bat an eyelash, I don’t know.

Also Angel mind controlled the president into diverting funding (nearly a billion dollars, no less) from the military to public education and shelters for homeless women and children.

I–

I–

ANGEL IS A SIX-YEAR-OLD. She has no place to be messing with the government!

Am I acutally supposed to like this character?!