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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 2)* by James Dashner- young adult book review
Also by James Dashner:

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)

The Death Cure (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 3)

The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel)

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 2)
by James Dashner
Ages 12-15 360 pages Delacorte October 2010 Hardcover    

Readers of The Maze Runner have been eagerly awaiting its sequel; they will not be disappointed.

After escaping the maze, Thomas and the other boys find themselves trapped in a locked room, terrified of what may happen next, yet for the moment they are safe. Here they recognize that they have been part of an experiment, and a group of girls has gone through the same ordeal. Eventually, a man from WICKED appears behind a plastic shield, informs them that the world is in chaos and they have been inflicted with an infectious virus known as the Flame. Slow to develop, the disease eventually causes a person to go insane and then die.

Once again the boys are part of a trial. Their only hope is to travel 100 miles through a hot, barren section of Earth known as the Scorch. If they make it alive, they will receive the cure.

Soon after the boys begin the trip through the Scorch, they encounter a group of people who have the Flame but are not too far gone. In a nearby town, Thomas’s name is everywhere on the signs – they know that he has been chosen to lead them.

Eventually, Thomas is reunited with Teresa, the girl from the glade with whom he could communicate telepathically. But Theresa is not herself; she violently captures Thomas and takes him away from the group. After many narrow escapes, the boys and Teresa reach their destination, yet their future is unclear – leading the reader to eagerly anticipate the sequel.

The definition of good and evil is always a blur. With tiny bits of memory coming back to Thomas in dreams, he knows that he was part of the organization that designed the Maze and is involved now with their activities within the Scorch. WICKED is obviously the enemy in this book, but questions pop into the reader’s mind as to whether their evil behavior justifies a greater good.

James Dashner is once again a master storyteller as he skillfully creates an original plot based on the classic journey in which the mission is survival and the odds are overwhelming. Fear is the common denominator in everyone’s mind, motivating all to go to extreme lengths to save themselves and others.

The visceral environment of The Scorch Trials affects each character who must endure trial after trial to reach their goal. Dashner’s descriptive narrative places the reader directly into each situation, sympathizing with the characters and thinking about the consequences of each action.

Although the plot stands alone, The Scorch Trials is best read after The Maze Runner to better understand the characters and their circumstances.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Kristine Wildner/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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