The end of the world has rarely been quite this much fun.
White, blue-haired Margot Blumenthal is a recent arrival to West Cove and has not had much luck making friends at her new middle school despite participation in extracurriculars such as the school play. Latinx Mateo Flores, on the other hand, is a real people pleaser who has grown up in West Cove. When a parasitic tentacled slug begins to take control of Mateo’s behavior, Margot happens to be just the person to detach it, in an operation that is delightfully gross. Mateo’s parasite is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, though, as our heroes soon discover patient zero may be Mateo’s own father. He and many other adults from the town conservation club also seem to be infected by these alien invaders, compelled to serve the will of a life force not of this Earth and spread its spawn across the globe. It is up to Margot and Mateo to save the world despite their own inner struggles and their conflicts with each other. The pod-person plot is nothing new for sci-fi, but it’s rare in middle-grade fiction, and Miller’s spin keeps it fresh. Short chapters keep the pace moving, with just the right amount of humor and ick factor, sure to appeal to both avid and reluctant readers. The end comes too soon, and readers will hope for more adventures with these unlikely friends.
A most enjoyable apocalypse. (Science fiction. 8-12)