Maximum Ride 2: School's Out -- Forever

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Maximum Ride 2: School's Out -- Forever Book Poster Image
Adventure continues with same lack of plot.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 58 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The main characters lie and steal to survive.


Lots, some fairly grisly. Injuries, deaths.


A few kisses.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
Adult Written byMiler April 28, 2015
Kid, 11 years old January 24, 2021

Love it but it just feels like a filler...

Don't get me wrong I love the Maximum Ride series but it feels like a filler because the flock just stays at Ann's house and go to school and that... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byb00kworm October 15, 2018
The best book ever written by James Patterson. TBH, I would say it's a good read for even younger kids, even though there really is a lot of violence and g... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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