cover image Fire Will Fall

Fire Will Fall

Carol Plum-Ucci, Harcourt, $17 (496p) ISBN 978-0-15-216562-8

Plum-Ucci's underwhelming follow-up to Streams of Babel (2008) again explores the effects of bioterrorism on a group of teenagers who continue to suffer from being poisoned in an attack on their New Jersey town's water supply. The sequel picks up shortly after the first book, as Cora, Owen, Rain, and Scott deal both with the disease that threatens their lives and with the publicity associated with the attack. While the teenagers sort out their issues regarding their feelings for their parents (and each other), two teen hackers do their best to monitor the actions of ShadowStrike, the terrorist organization behind the attacks, whose members may be quite close. Unfortunately, as the narrative shifts among the six teenage characters, the story gets lost amid their angst, with pages and pages of introspection and miscommunication slowing down what little plot there is. The events that do take place often seem out of the characters' hands (excluding the denouement), with things simply happening to them, and the dialogue is rarely interesting enough to carry the book through these passages. Ages 14–up. (May)