Following her father’s abduction by the nefarious Dr. Gray at the end of Going Wild (2016), Charlie Wilde and her friends must hone their animal-inspired powers to rescue him.
Undeterred by the kidnapping, the Wilde family partners up with a scientist who formerly worked alongside Mr. Wilde on a top-secret government project code-named Project Chimera. As she learns about her father’s past, as well as the extent of Dr. Gray’s horrifying plans to further develop his human-animal–hybrid research, the white girl starts to master the animal powers her bracelet grants her. Building on the firm foundation of Book 1, McMann continues to excel at creating likable characters and a surprising amount of emotional heft. Though Charlie’s friends Latina Maria and Mac, who is black, have super bracelets now, new problems arise when Maria’s bracelet turns her part-monkey. Meanwhile, Charlie’s tense relationship with her “sort-of friend” Kelly, a strong-headed white girl with an unpredictable agenda, grows uneasy. Like its predecessor, this sequel features often unengaging action sequences, and the novel’s middle portion (mostly stakeouts involving insect robots and training montages) is weirdly drawn out. As a result, Mr. Wilde’s inevitable rescue and Charlie and Co.’s showdown with Dr. Gray seem abrupt if welcome. Still, fans of Book 1 will enjoy what’s here: a diverse cast of returning and new characters, a group of winsome heroes saving the day, and the promise of even more danger in Book 3.
This series keeps getting wilder and, more importantly, better. (Science fiction. 8-12)