A slapdash continuation of the story of a high school in quarantine that started in The Loners (2012).
The infected, gun-wielding kids who broke into McKinley High keep the door open long enough for most of the Loners clique to escape before outside adults re-seal it, restarting the familiar plot. Now Lucy and Will struggle at the bottom of the social heat, and a group of parents has taken over responsibility for the school, food drops and “graduation.” Besides the disbanding of the Loners, the other clique shake-up is Varsity’s ouster of dictatorial Sam. Vulnerable Will stumbles into a party thrown by the heretofore-ignored newly trapped kids, nicknamed Saints after their school mascot, and joins. Soon Will and the Saints’ unbalanced leader control the parents through extortion and throw wild parties featuring entrances on motorcycles and the riding of a live, wild hog (a transparent, clumsy link to Lord of the Flies); despite the flash, it’s a slow-paced, tensionless storyline. Meanwhile, Lucy joins the Sluts, who welcome her with sexual bullying during “Naked Week,” a hazing ritual introduced through writing on par with bad porn. This book never lets plausibility get in the way of objectification—one character plans a grandiose gentlemen’s club in the war-torn high school, and female sexuality is constantly bartered. Near the end, Thomas (Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies’ collective pen name) finally remembers the first novel’s only successful element: Gore.
Implausible, poorly written trash that, most damningly, bores. (Science fiction. 16-18)