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INFESTATION by Heidi Lang Kirkus Star


From the Whispering Pines series, volume 2

by Heidi Lang & Kati Bartkowski

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5344-6050-8
Publisher: McElderry

Following Whispering Pines (2020), the kids dig deeper into the town’s mysteries.

A prologue reintroduces readers to the town of Whispering Pines and its dangerous Watchful Woods and gives a preview of a new threat. Rae has diverged from empath Caden (he wants nothing to do with Green On! or senior consultant Patrick), accepting Patrick’s internship offer as he teases her with information about her missing father’s whereabouts. The seven interns—some familiar faces, some new—have hardly started their tour of Green On! when things get alarming. Soon, they’re divided into teams and tasked with uncovering—and solving—a mystery. Rae’s team accidentally falls right into a creepy-crawly scenario sure to give readers the willies. Meanwhile, Caden struggles with his family’s changing dynamics in the aftermath of his brother’s actions. The nonchalant attitude that the residents, both kids and adults, take toward all of the weirdness is endearing. The gross-out elements manage to push gore and violence into ooey-gooey territory, giving a slight distance between the disgustingness (that’s absolutely reveled in) and realism. Just as compelling as the supernatural storylines are the interpersonal ones, with conflicts rooted in the complex nature of family and friendships. The elements all meld together into a world that’s easy to get lost in. Most characters default to White, though some side characters have surnames that point to other ethnicities.

Will leave readers screaming for the next installment.

(Horror. 8-13)