When strange insects assault a remote boarding school in England, the kids try to save the day in this tense page-turner.
As the new boy at school, Paul keeps a family tragedy a secret, but his experience in coping with it thrusts him into a leadership position when an unfamiliar, silver-colored beetle turns up on campus. Any creature bitten by the beetles, including humans, quickly grows a silver-colored outer shell and clearly loses thinking capacity, shuffling around and trying to scratch or bite others. As they proliferate, however, they develop a kind of collective intelligence and begin to work together to conquer the entire school. Barricaded in the science block, Paul and a few others fight a seeming losing battle against the creatures. While that fight provides enough suspense for the novel, Wooding deepens the narrative by developing highly distinctive characters. Caitlyn hates her supposed friend Erika, and that emotion will play a part in the later plot. Adam, the school bully, may finally find what he’s really been looking for during his fight. Most importantly, however, Paul will learn that his leadership abilities trump even those of the adults on the scene. Skillfully managed subplots keep the pages flying. It looks like the end of the world is nigh....
It’s just all kinds of white-knuckle fun. (Horror. 12 & up)