The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride Series #1)

( 2783 )


In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"?Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel?are just like ordinary kids?only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were ...

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In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"—Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel—are just like ordinary kids—only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare—this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb—now her betrayed and greatest enemy—that her purpose is save the world—but can she?

After the mutant Erasers abduct the youngest member of their group, the "birdkids," who are the result of genetic experimentation, take off in pursuit and find themselves struggling to understand their own origins and purpose.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Angel Experiment James Patterson. Warner, $6.99 ISBN 0-446-61779-2. Thriller writer Patterson takes characters that first appeared in his adult novels When the Wind Blows and its sequel, The Lake House, and places them in a story pitched at young adults. Ages 12-up. (May) n Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a purely fantastical tale told primarily from the perspective of one Maximum Ride, a fourteen year old girl who is the glue keeping her ragtag "family" of six children (ranging in age from 6 to 14) together. The kids (including Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman and Angel) spent their early years of life in a lab in California called "the School," and are 98% human, and 2 % bird, enabling them to fly. Through a series of truly unfortunate events, the youngest one of the brood has been kidnapped by the evil Erasers (other mutants from the School, who are part human, part bloodthirsty wolf). Max and the others set out on a mission to save her (and supposedly the world, but that part is never clearly delineated) and discover their true identities. Short chapters are like incredibly quick sound bites; while the book is over 400 pages long, chapters are mostly two to four pages in length. The few details readers can glean about Max from the book paint an admirable picture, but a thin one at best. The visual that is created by the image of flying children is intriguing. Creepy scenes of laboratories and mutant children in cages (with organs on the outside of their bodies!), the morphing of the Erasers and some fairly violent fights may disturb some readers. Maximum Ride is this author's first young adult series. He is a best selling author of adult novels; two of particular note, When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, that deal with winged characters. His inspiration for this book comes from these previous works. 2005, Little Brown, Ages 12 up.
—Cindy L. Carolan
From The Critics
James Patterson, who usually writes intense crime novels for adults, slips in his attempt to write an action-adventure series for kids. This first novel introduces readers to Max, who leads a group of young kids who have had two percent of their DNA altered by evil scientists. This alteration gives the group wings. It also gives them each their own unique special power. Max and her "family" are hunted by the evil scientists and another group of genetically-altered kids who are like werewolves. The premise sounds exciting, but the story itself is filled with every possible comic book/Saturday morning cartoon cliche. Patterson's own writing style seems uneasy. Max is typically our narrator, but Patterson occasionally slips out of the first-person voice to get the audience caught up on other events. When she speaks, Max sounds horribly fake and uses phrases like "son of a gun." Despite Patterson's attention to contemporary issues like animal testing and genetic engineering, his 133 chapters of action without substance will leave readers more sick than satisfied by this ride. 2005, Little Brown, 423 pp., Ages young adult.
—John Ritchie
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A group of genetically enhanced kids who can fly and have other unique talents are on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers in this exciting SF thriller that's not wholly original but is still a compelling read. Max, 14, and her adopted family-Fang and Iggy, both 13, Nudge, 11, Gazzy, 8, and Angel, 6-were all created as experiments in a lab called the School. Jeb, a sympathetic scientist, helped them escape and, since then, they've been living on their own. The Erasers have orders to kill them so the world will never find out they exist. Max's old childhood friend, Ari, now an Eraser leader, tracks them down, kidnaps Angel, and transports her back to the School to live like a lab rat again. The youngsters are forced to use their special talents to rescue her as they attempt to learn about their pasts and their destinies. The novel ends with the promise that this journey will continue in the sequel. As with Patterson's adult mystery thrillers, in-depth characterization is secondary to the fast-moving plot. The narrative alternates between Max's first-person point-of-view and that of the others in the third person, but readers don't get to know Max very well. The only major flaw is that the children sound like adults most of the time. This novel is reminiscent of David Lubar's Hidden Talents (Tor, 1999) and Ann Halam's Dr. Franklin's Island (Random, 2002).-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446617796
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Series: Maximum Ride Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 136,893
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

James Patterson

James Patterson was selected by readers across America as the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year in 2010. He is the internationally bestselling author of the highly praised Middle School books, I Funny, Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and the Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard, Daniel X, and Alex Cross series. His books have sold over 260 million copies worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors of all time. He lives in Florida.


James Patterson had been working as a very successful advertising copywriter when he decided to put his Masters degree in English to a somewhat different use. Inspired by bestselling hair-raising thrillers like The Day of the Jackal and The Exorcist, Patterson went to work on his first novel. Published in 1976, The Thomas Berryman Number established him as a writer of tightly constructed mysteries that move forward with the velocity of a bullet. For his startling debut, Patterson was awarded the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel—an auspicious beginning to one of the most successful careers in publishing.

A string of gripping standalone mysteries followed, but it was the 1992 release of Along Came a Spider that elevated Patterson to superstar status. Introducing Alex Cross, a brilliant black police detective/forensic psychologist, the novel was the first installment in a series of bestselling thrillers that has proved to be a cash cow for the author and his publisher.

Examining Patterson's track record, it's obvious that he believes one good series deserves another…maybe even a third! In 2001, he debuted the Women's Murder Club with 1st to Die, a fast-paced thriller featuring four female crime fighters living in San Francisco—a homicide detective, a medical examiner, an assistant D.A., and a cub reporter. The successful series has continued with other numerically titled installments. Then, spinning off a set of characters from a previous novel (1998's When the Wind Blows), in 2005 he published Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Featuring a "flock" of genetically engineered flying children, the novel was a huge hit, especially with teen readers, and spawned a series of vastly popular fantasy adventures.

In addition to continuing his bestselling literary franchises, Patterson has also found time to co-author thrillers with other writers—including Peter de Jonge, Andrew Gross, Maxine Paetro, and Howard Roughan—and has even ventured into romance (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, Sam's Letters to Jennifer) and children's literature (santaKid). Writing at an astonishing pace, this prolific author has turned himself into a one-man publishing juggernaut, fulfilling his clearly stated ambition to become "the king of the page-turners."

Good To Know

Patterson's Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas was inspired by a diary his wife kept that tracked the development of their toddler son.

Two of Patterson's Alex Cross mysteries (Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls) have been turned into films starring Morgan Freeman; in 2007, a weekly television series premiered, based on the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels.

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    1. Hometown:
      Palm Beach, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 22, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newburgh, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Angel Experiment

By James Patterson

Thorndike Press

Copyright © 2006 James Patterson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780786282920

Chapter One

The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective. Take right now, for instance.

Run! Come on, run! You know you can do it.

I gulped deep lungfuls of air. My brain was on hyperdrive; I was racing for my life. My one goal was to escape. Nothing else mattered.

My arms being scratched to ribbons by a briar I'd run through? No biggie.

My bare feet hitting every sharp rock, rough root, pointed stick? Not a problem.

My lungs aching for air? I could deal.

As long as I could put as much distance as possible between me and the Erasers.

Yeah, Erasers. Mutants: half-men, half-wolves, usually armed, always bloodthirsty. Right now they were after me.

See? That snaps everything into perspective.

Run. You're faster than they are. You can outrun anyone.

I'd never been this far from the School before. I was totally lost. Still, my arms pumped by my sides, my feet crashed through the underbrush, my eyes scanned ahead anxiously through the half-light. I could outrun them. I could find a clearing with enough space for me to-

Oh, no. Oh, no. The unearthly baying of bloodhounds on the scent wailed through the trees, and I felt sick. I could outrun men-all of us could, evenAngel, and she's only six. But none of us could outrun a big dog.

Dogs, dogs, go away, let me live another day.

They were getting closer. Dim light filtered in through the woods in front of me-a clearing? Please, please ... a clearing could save me. I burst through the trees, chest heaving, a thin sheen of cold sweat on my skin.


No-oh no!

I skidded to a halt, my arms waving, my feet backpedaling in the rocky dirt.

It wasn't a clearing. In front of me was a cliff, a sheer face of rock that dropped to an unseeable floor hundreds of feet below.

In back of me were woods filled with drooling bloodhounds and psycho Erasers with guns.

Both options stank.

The dogs were yelping excitedly-they'd found their prey: moi.

I looked over the deadly drop.

There was no choice, really. If you were me, you'd have done the same thing.

I closed my eyes, held out my arms ... and let myself fall over the edge of the cliff.

The Erasers screamed angrily, the dogs barked hysterically, and then all I could hear was the sound of air rushing past me.

It was so dang peaceful, for a second. I smiled.

Then, taking a deep breath, I unfurled my wings as hard and fast as I could.

Thirteen feet across, pale tan with white streaks and some freckly looking brown spots, they caught the air, and I was suddenly yanked upward, hard, as if a parachute had just opened. Yow!

Note to self: No sudden unfurling.

Wincing, I pushed downward with all my strength, then pulled my wings up, then pushed downward again.

Oh, my god, I was flying-just like I'd always dreamed.

The cliff floor, draped in shadow, receded beneath me. I laughed and surged upward, feeling the pull of my muscles, the air whistling through my secondary feathers, the breeze drying the sweat on my face.

I soared up past the cliff edge, past the startled hounds and the furious Erasers.

One of them, hairy-faced, fangs dripping, raised his gun. A red dot of light appeared on my torn nightgown. Not today, you jerk, I thought, veering sharply west so the sun would be in his hate-crazed eyes.

I'm not going to die today.


Excerpted from The Angel Experiment by James Patterson Copyright © 2006 by James Patterson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2783 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2804 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    This was a well-written, thrilling book that I find to be great for literally any age. It's writing was brilliant enough to keep you captivated with all the action, and yet still mix a good amount of humor and emotion in it. It was majorly awesome, and I'm already ordering the others in the series.

    64 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2008


    This is an unbelievable book! It is a must read for everyone. The story makes you feel as though you are part of the adventure. I read almost the whole thing in one sitting! Maximum ride ties in fantasy, horror, comedy and everyday life into one big page turning mystery. You'll be rooting for Max the whole time. Watch out Edward you haven't met Max!!!

    43 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    good read

    this book is filled with a lot of action. It is an excellent read- enjoyed it.

    39 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Couldn't get past the writing style

    I had heard about this multiple times and heard that it was really good, so when I saw it in a bookstore, I decided to, naturally, buy it to try it out for myself. However, the way the book is written sounds like a fourth-grader wrote it, and I could barely get past the first few chapters before giving up on the book in disgust. My best friend - who recommended this book to me - said that the plot's really good, just that the writing isn't the best. I can't get past the writing to actually enjoy the plot, so this one's up to you - are you willing to slog through a poorly written book to enjoy the plot itself? Or would you rather save your money to buy something infinitely better - with both good writing and a strong plot? Normally I can get past slightly mediocre writing - such as in the book "Need" by Carrie Jones - but this takes it to a whole new level of terribleness.

    38 out of 124 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is the most unforgetable book ever!!

    "Maximum Ride the Angel Experiment" by James Patterson is a very intriguing book. It is a Science Fiction book written especially for teenage kids. The characters in this book are very different from the normal every day humans. Maximum Ride, better known as Max, is the oldest at age fourteen. She is the leader of the six members of her family, or as they refer to themselves, The Flock. Other members are Fang, who is 4 months younger than Max. He is a very mysterious boy. Iggy is the sarcastic member of the flock and is slightly younger than Max and Fang. He is blind due to the experiments done on his eyes when he was young. The Gasman, better known as Gazzy, is eight years old and has farting problems. Iggy and Gazzy are best friends, and are making bombs out of virtually anything they can get their hands on. Angel is the youngest of the flock. She is The Gasman's' six year old blood sister.

    These kids are very unique and powerful. Max spends the first 10 years of her life locked in a tiny cage at a place called "The School". There she suffers through test after horrid test from the scientists who created her, by adding bird DNA to her own human DNA. While there, she meets five other winged kids, and with the help of a sympathetic scientist, the six of them manage to escape. This fantastic freedom becomes the happiest time in their lives, bonding Max, Fang, Iggy, the Gasman, Nudge and Angel into a family, the only family any of them has ever known.

    "Maximum Ride the Angel Experiment", was a very exciting and entertaining book to read. This book had a new adventure every time I turned the page. I don't think that children should be experimented on in a lab or locked up in dog crates. That is just wrong. Even though they were not treated well in the lab, at least they have received powers from all of these experiments that can actually help people out in the world.

    I thought that Maximum Ride was way more in depth, captivating, and descriptive than any other book I have read. Once I started reading this book, I felt sorry for these kids, having to be experimented on everyday, not being able to have any control over what was done to them. That is just so sad to even think about.

    James Patterson is an amazing storyteller, by grabbing the readers attention on page one and keeping it through out the entire book. His vivid descriptions put the reader right up in the sky flying next to Max and the gang, feeling the wind flow though their feathers and the emotions tear through their hearts.

    34 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2010

    Maximum Ride The Angel Experiment

    Everything was going great until well . never. That is the life of Max Ride. Her and her "flock" have to suffer through seconds, minutes, hours, days and sometimes even weeks because of humiliation and isolation.
    This "flock" is made up of unusual characters, Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel. They live in a secret hideaway somewhere in America. They have special powers that were given to them by evil scientists. What a pleasure. NOT. To cut it short they live alone as teenagers, have wings, and basically fight for their lives at least once a month.
    Right now I bet you are probably wondering why they have to fight for their lives. Erasers are hairy evil creatures that want to kill the "flock" or at least bring them back to the whitecoats. Whitecoats are the people who create mutants, such as the flock. The whitecoats would torture the flock forever if they were back at the lab. The flock avoids the lab at all costs for their happiness and safety.
    James Patterson is a very famous author. My dad knew him when he was a teenager. James is hoping to create a movie of his Maximum Ride series.
    I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading, fighting, sass, romance, happiness, excitement or well, you get it, it's a great book.

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012



    19 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    FAVORITE SERIES IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. EVER. (this is for the whole series not this specific book)

    this series is my *pause for dramatic effect* NEW FAVORITE. its even better then twilight - I'm not even kidding. saying it's my favorite is a big step for me - LOL - because before i read twilight i had many MANY favorites but twilight quickly jumped to the #1 spot in the "books i've read" reading list i keep up in my head. i had no doubt that it was going to stay there in the #1 spot for a long long long long long time - if not forever. but then came the maximum ride series and as i read it i mentally made it climb the list of books until it bumped twilight right down to numero dos. this book is very interesting, exciting, and unpredictable. i think the part i loved the most is the writing style. even if the situation they were in was the worst they had faced yet, james patterson managed to make me laugh (out loud) at the funny things that the members of the flock said. i was so into the story as i was reading it was unbelievable. i loved how it was written in max point of veiw and how the reader wasn't part of the story but wasn't out of it either. it grabbed my attention from the very first page and didn't let go. it was about adventure and misunderstanding and confusion and mystery and near death fights and high speed chases and flying. and its about them realizing that family is the most important - even when your family consits of 5 mutant bird kids. i recommend the rest of this series ( i havn't read MAX yet but im sure it will be great) and also the host if you like science fiction. if you can't find anything to read then check out my b&n page for more books that i recommend :)

    19 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    awesome book

    this book was so good it kept me reading all day and i finished it in about a day and half. it was action packed and constantly speeding along hairpin turns. the fight scenes were very realistic and the entire story was almost believable. almost meaning if kids could actually be genetically engineered to have wings and multiple other abilities it would be totally believable. this book though lacked the romantic element that Patterson's other novels contain, but this action packed book kept me reading and i can't wait to read the rest of the series.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting start to a series

    If you like XMen then you'll love Maximum ride. I'm hooked on the characters and their stories about finding out who they really are. Well written for all ages and kept me hooked. I didn't want to put it down.

    14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    One of my friends said it was an amazing book so she let me borrow it and....needless to say I fell in love with this book after page 1!
    I'm now reading book 2, Maximum Ride: Schools Out-Forever....

    P.S..........if you look on Wikipedia you can see that there's a book called Fang: A Maximum Ride if you didn't already now this.... DON'T start jumping and screaming....if you look at the summury, you'll know why i'm NOT exited....lets just say someone EVERYONE cares about in this seriers MIGHT DIE.
    I literiy started to tear up when I read it...i'm still CRYING now as i'm writing this....THIS. PERSON. CAN. NOT. DIE!!!!
    Let's hope this person doesn't die....or i'll cry my eyes out for days, and days, and more days, and well then I guess i'll cry again...!!!

    9 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not A Good enough words to describe it AT ALL!!!

    This book is thrilling and excieting you should so buy it and read it you will be on the edge of your seat and reading very quickly so you can know what happens. My suggestion is that you read it the reread it because when I did that I caught a lot more details. This is a book you won't be able to put down! You will LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2006

    awesome to the max

    i read Maximum Ride when a friend recommended and it and im thinking, 'oh no, here we go, another unreal fantasy.' when i finished it, i totally loved it! it was awesome! i CANNOT WAIT FOR THE SECOND ONE! im writing my own kind of Maximum Ride story i loved it so much!!!!!!!!

    7 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride Series #1)

    Once you read this book you can't wait for the next book to be available. Great read for all ages. I enjoyed it very much.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2010

    Maximum Ride

    I Love it.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Just for kids..

    I'll be honest, this was terrible. This was the first book I've read of James Patterson. For as many books as he's written, I assumed this was going to be a start to a very long relationship between author and devoted reader.
    This book sucks. It read like some badly thrown together comic. I heard some of his works were adapted for gaming consoles; probably the PS3; that suits this material very well.
    Huge disappointment.

    6 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    Max is great

    I really enjoyed this series the first time I read it and I've been dying to find an electronic version and was so happy I did. I love Max and her story. I think she's a great role model for girls because she's brave and strong and doesn't give up. There aren't many female super heroes out there, and I think Max is a great example of one. Her story is so engaging and Patterson does a great job of making the science-y part of "Maximum Ride" sound realistic. Max's story is thrilling with tons of adventure and roller coaster rides. I always recommend this book to anyone who needs a leisurely read and wants to have fun reading. It was recommended to me by a classmate and since then I can't stop telling people about it. Max and her friends are great and really kick butt! Definitely a great book.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    I love this book!The whole series is aaaawwwwwwssssoooooommmmmeeee.I laugh every time!Gazzy and Iggy are hilarious.I reccomend these books to anyone.Love them.
    I will now destroy de snickers bars.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2006

    Don't Go Along for the Ride

    Patterson definitely falls out of grace as far as I'm concerned. This is a jerky tale of six mutant kids that is pure fantasy. It doesn't even make a good sci fi read. Any adult should be ashamed that another adult wrote such violent and disturbed nonsense for children about children. I find it hard to believe that a former good author has fallen to this absurd level.

    6 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012


    I went to the bookstore with about 10 dollars in my hand( leftover of bday money) an wanted to buy a book. I didnt have any thing to read and every book i picked out was either too expensive or it seemed cheap and poorly written. Then my eyes fell on this book and it seemed ok from the outside. I remebered on of my friends had shone it to me saying it was the best book they ever read! So i just decided to buy it. It was history from there! I read the book in one night and have been reading everyone of the books. Im about to start nevermore. It was the best book series i have ever read. It has a tub of adventure, a cup of humour and a pinch of romance! Everything i look for in a book. I am hope this series will become an instant classic and will be enjoyed for years to come.

    Thank you james patterson!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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