Maximum Ride 2: School's Out -- Forever

Common Sense Media says

Adventure continues with same lack of plot.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters lie and steal to survive.


Lots, some fairly grisly. Injuries, deaths.


A few kisses.

Not applicable

Brands of kitchen appliances, home electronics, video game consoles, snack foods, cars, and rides at Disney World.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is a lot of violence here; some of it quite brutal, including serious injuries. Also, the marketing for this book is pretty intense, including Blogspot and MySpace pages, and a count-the-clicks effort to get kids to vote for a Maximum Ride movie.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Avian-human hybrid Max and her similarly genetically enhanced Flock are on the run from the evil scientists and their nasty minions, the wolf-human hybrids called Erasers. Including Ari. Yes, he was killed in the last book, but now he's back, with no real explanation, and meaner than ever (daddy issues), now that he and the other Erasers have had wings grafted on their backs. You'd think this would make them more dangerous, but it actually seems to have made them more clumsy.

Max and the Flock engage in plenty of fighting, chases, and escape plans while Ari and the evil scientists do their scheming. Apparently there's a plot to kill off half the people in the world, method unspecified, reasons rather vague. (You know, that's what evil scientists do.)

Meanwhile the Flock get taken in by an apparently nice woman ... until it turns out that she's evil too. And they get to go to a normal school for a while ... until it turns out that the school is evil too. And Iggy finds his parents ... until (wait for it) it turns out they're evil too. Well, not evil -- just bad. And so on.

Is it any good?


If your kids liked the first Maximum Ride, then they'll like this one too. How can we be so sure? Because it's exactly the same. This series has been compared to a thrill ride, a roller coaster. As with a roller coaster, the reader gets lots of thrills, excitement, scares, tension, and fun -- but it's all artificial, meaningless, and you end up right back where you started, with nothing accomplished. It's an empty thrill.

By the end of the book, the main characters have been attacked, injured, healed, are captured, escape, captured, escape, etc. But they've gotten nowhere. This appears to be a trilogy with no actual narrative arc. Exciting stuff happens, for no discernible reason, and what little actual story there is makes no sense at all. It's a mere contrivance, the struts that hold up the ride -- you're not supposed to pay attention to them. You're just supposed to surrender to the ride. There's something horribly cynical about all this. It's harmless fun, one supposes, but it is possible to write a fun story and still respect the intelligence of your audience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this book's lack of plot. What makes this book fun to read, despite the fact that there's little plot? How does it compare with other exciting action/adventure books you've read?

Book details

Author:James Patterson
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:May 1, 2006
Number of pages:409
Read aloud:12
Read alone:12

This review of Maximum Ride 2: School's Out -- Forever was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written bylititzmom May 1, 2011
Okay, I have one main reason to like this book (and this series): My 3rd grader loves it! He's a great reader (advanced level) BUT a very picky reader. So he's devoured many series: Chronicles of Narnia, Percy Jackson, Warriors, Paolini's trilogy, etc., BUT he's so annoyingly hard to please and it'll take lots of trial and error to get him into new books.series. He likes action, handles some violence okay, but doesn't want romance or anything "real" scary (i.e., ghosts, aliens, things that he might think true and will loose sleep over at night). For adolescent boys, this series seems to offer all that they want and none of what they don't. And it's made my son happy to loose himself in books again. I know he'll be exposed to great literature in the classroom; for at home reading, this series fills a huge void.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old November 5, 2014

Awesome and good

Also read my first review) This book is the 2nd book of the fugitives in the series of maximum ride, this book is better than the first one. (If you are new to the series than look for the angel experiment in the maximum ride series) This book can get serious at times with bloody stuff but other wise it's a o.k .
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Kid, 10 years old July 21, 2014

Repetitive, non-suspenseful

Don't get me wrong- I loved the first book. But the second book is basically all memories of it. Everybody gets all protective of Angel-it's just like "we don't want the same kidnapping thing to happen, let's get all overprotective over you". It was just ripping it off. Just "remember when this happened" and "remember when that happened?" I got this book before I got 'The Angel Experiment" and was confused for the first 80 pages I read (until I decided to read 'The Angel Experiment') Also, it was too predictable. Like, you knew who was going to attack, THAT they were going to attack, etc. I love books with suspense. This had none. I was given this book as a gift, and thought, wow. Note: If you want to read this (although you shouldn't, I say) read the first book. You need to understand what happens in Book 1 to get Book 2.


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