The escaped Less Thans and Sisters from The Prey (2015) return to rescue those left behind.
Book’s leading the band of kids to the government rather than away, and their odds are pretty bad—they barely made it out in the first book, and the Brown Shirt soldiers are less likely to underestimate them again. After some unlucky breaks and losses, a bully takes over the small band and decides to abort the rescue mission, leading to one of the book’s most ridiculous scenes—out of 12 kids, four place six on trial and outvote the remaining two; somehow readers are expected to believe that the majority’s just that docile or otherwise unable to resist the four. Unfortunately, plots hinging on weak character motivations continue as a pattern, especially where betrayals are concerned. After escaping from the bully, the heroes have numerous other close calls with enemies while learning more about the upcoming Final Solution—yes, that final solution. The book makes the most progress when the kids encounter a society of dissidents trying to preserve the civilization that existed before the Republic of True America and its psychotic, beauty-queen chancellor. The tantalizing glimpses of the greater world don’t satisfy but—especially combined with the explosive final showdown—might encourage readers to stay for another installment.
Heroics, bravery, and action don’t compensate for serious implausibility issues. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 13-17)