Kenneth Oppel, 2020
Science fiction, Horror, Middle grade
Rating: 👻👻👻1/2 (3.5 out of 4 boos)
“It was just rain.
But after the downpour, odd black plants begin to shoot up.
They. Are. Everywhere.
They take over fields and twine around houses. They bloom and throw off toxic pollen—and feed.
Strangely, three Salt Spring Island teens seem immune. Anaya, Petra and Seth. What’s their connection? What’s their secret? A week ago, they wouldn’t have thought they had one.
But they’d better figure it out fast—the invasion has already begun.”
What’s the main character like?
Anaya, Petra, and Seth share the stage for main character, with the book’s third person point of view rotating very evenly among all three. Anaya’s tough, sassy, and brainy. Petra’s popular, courageous, and kind. Seth’s lonely, brave, and helpful. Each character carries their own flaws, and it’s interesting to see those flaws from the perspective of each other.
How scary is it?
What I find most startling about this book—aside from the disturbing imagery of a predatory, invasive plant species—is how much I was able to relate to it. Stocking up on canned goods. People wearing masks in grocery stores or staying inside because no one is immune. Early pandemic anyone?
Who might like the book?
In spite of being eerily reminiscent of our current Coronavirus situation, this book still reads as an escape from reality. It is stressful but fun, and certainly action-packed. Readers who especially like books that are part of a series will enjoy this first installment in Oppel’s trilogy.
What did I like best?
Comparing the characters’ descriptions of themselves to the descriptions from the other point of view characters was a lot of fun. It was a great reminder that we often make excuses for behaviors when maybe we shouldn’t but also that we sometimes put ourselves or our situations down when others actually envy who we are and what we have.
What wasn’t my favorite?
All that action isn’t necessarily my cup of tea. Sometimes it felt like there was so much of it that I zoned out. Of course, when I would take the time to reread those passages, they were well-written and worthwhile. I just occasionally felt overwhelmed by the amount of description used in relation to the attacking plants.