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SOLITARY by Alexander Gordon Smith

SOLITARY

Escape from Furnace 2

From the Escape from Furnace series, volume 2

By Alexander Gordon Smith

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 21st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-374-32492-6
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

After being swept away in an underground river moments after escaping from Furnace Penitentiary, Alex is quickly recaptured by the cruel blacksuit guards and placed in an isolation cell. Though confined, he clings to hope through tapped communiqu├ęs with his fellow failed escapee Zee, hallucinatory appearances from his friend Donovan and strange visits from a mysterious creature named Simon. Adrenaline-fueled action infuses the narrative as it did in Lockdown (2009), keeping the pages turning. Alex's forays into self-reflection are less convincing; in Smith's effort to create an antihero, he has given Alex too many flaws to generate much sympathy. Donovan's dialogue is an especially transparent device to create emotional growth. The twisted monsters that patrol the prison are still satisfyingly brutal, however, even though readers now know to expect them lurking around dark corners. While the revelations and ending are not surprising, the author knows what keeps his readers locked to the page and delivers it soundly. (Thriller. YA)