Predator vs. Prey: Going Wild, Book 2

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Predator vs. Prey: Going Wild, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Superpowered tweens vs. mad scientist in exciting sequel.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

A lot of science fiction, but also real science, as the kids do a lot of online research to figure out what animals their new powers come from. Readers will pick up a lot of interesting detail about assorted creatures -- and how their particular strengths might be really useful to a human.

Positive Messages

Strong messages of family, teamwork, and courage, as well as clever thinking, hard work, and empathy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

12-year-old protagonist Charlie has a lot to deal with, between animal superpowers and trying to rescue her kidnapped father from a mad scientist, but she rises to the challenge and also bonds with her mom and joins her to protect her little brother. Her friends Mac and Maria (with powers of their own) show a lot of support, resourcefulness, and teamwork. They don't always do the "right" thing (e.g., they sneak out of the house at night and jailbreak a phone), but adults tend to agree later that they made the right decision. Supporting adults do their best to protect the kids and rescue the kidnapped scientists.

 

Violence

Lots of scary stuff, including ninja-suited monsters, adults and kids kidnapped and held prisoner, and a mad-scientist plot to destroy humanity. A kid with family issues suggests that she pretend the soccer ball she kicks is her dad's head.  There's also a lot of slashing, stabbing, bashing, and other mayhem as the kids, in superpower mode, battle human-animal hybrid villains. It's pretty comic-bookish, but still might be a bit much for very sensitive readers.

Sex
Language

Several instances of "crap," plus references to butts and (animal) poop.

Consumerism

iPad and iPhone devices and FaceTime save the day more than once, but it's more scene-setting than marketing. Likewise with other real-life brand names appearing occasionally, including Subaru.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Predator vs. Prey is the second installment in best-selling author Lisa McMann's Going Wild series. Here the 12-year-old friends suddenly have animal-related superpowers, and they're pitted against a mad scientist who has not only kidnapped the dad of one the friends, he's also got a plan to destroy humanity. As the kids use their powers in many battles against half-human monsters, there's a lot of slashing, bashing, pounding, and pouncing -- but often little permanent damage, thanks to a healing superpower. Amid all this cartoonish violence, the relatable tweens show a lot of empathy, courage, resourcefulness, and determination, and strong family values and bonds rule the day. Bonus: The ethnically, culturally, and genetically diverse cast of characters is smart, responsible, ethical, and united against a nasty villain.

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What's the story?

PREDATOR VS. PREY opens with just-kidnapped (at the end of Book 1) Dr. Charles Wilde being forced to cooperate with a mad scientist. Meanwhile, back in their Arizona home, his 12-year-old daughter, Charlie, her emergency-room-doctor mom, and her little brother are determined to rescue him. And soon they get assistance from his former colleagues on a now-canceled top-secret government project: The one that made the bracelets the kids discovered in Book 1, which give wearers the special powers of different animals -- an elephant's strength, a starfish's healing power, a gecko's climbing ability, and so forth. Now the mad scientist wants to use the project to help him take over the world and destroy humanity, and the only ones standing between him and his goal are "a scientist, an ER doctor, and three 12-year-olds."

Is it any good?

Lots of fun here, as battle action, superpowers, plot twists, middle school relationship issues, and positive messages come at readers in a wild tale that races to a cliffhanger ending. Predator vs. Prey delivers cool technology, exotic animal lore, and brain power as three tweens (plus a classmate they're not so sure about) use their new abilities. This second suspenseful Going Wild installment is sure to leave fans eager for the third.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the superpowers in Predator vs. Prey. Why do you think superpower stories are so popular? Does it always turn out well when people get unusual powers?

  • What other stories do you know that have part-human, part-animal characters? Are they happy stories or scary ones?

  • How might it get socially awkward to have a superpower -- especially if you couldn't control it?

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