The Beast

Bloomsbury. (Darkdeep). Oct. 2019. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781547602032.
Gr 3-7–Veteran writers Condie (Matched) and Reichs (Genesis) have teamed up again for a sequel to their thrilling fantasy, The Darkdeep. Once again, Nico, Opal, Tyler, Emma, and Logan face terrors from beyond that threaten their sleepy northwestern town of Timbers. The action picks up seamlessly where The Darkdeep left off. In the first book, the friends stumbled upon a mysterious houseboat floating in the center of a dark pond called Still Cove, where a strange monster was rumored to live. Down below, in the hold of the houseboat, a watery portal beckoned to the kids. One by one, they dove in and were taken on a ride that brought to life their mind’s thoughts. The friends thought that the figments were contained but now realize that there is a new, more dangerous threat: solid, beastly, violent figments have emerged from the pool and now endanger the whole town. The kids must work together to restrain the Darkdeep’s Beast before things spiral out of control and make their worst nightmares a reality. The friends have distinct personalities that allow for humor and empathy amid their struggles, but these differences also create tension and discord. Pressure mounts as their friendship and loyalties are tested. The alternating points of view will grab readers from the first page and keep them guessing straight through to a satisfying ending.
VERDICT A fast-paced adventure story of unsupervised teens trying to save the world. Perfect for all middle grade readers who appreciate suspense and thrills, but also a welcome addition for reluctant readers.

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