cover image Silver


Chris Wooding. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-545-60392-8

In this atmospheric thriller, Wooding (Pandemonium) ushers in the end of the world, with the point of origination being a secluded English boarding school. The appearance of strange silver beetles on the grounds of Mortingham Academy are the spark for a terrifying biomechanical infestation that leaps from animals to humans, much like a zombie plague. As the few survivors who take refuge in the science building soon learn, the Infected are growing smarter and more aggressive, and are changing shape to take on new, deadlier functions. With the body count rising and time running out, a small group of students that include a conflicted leader, the school bully, and a technologically-proficient outcast must find a way to escape an increasingly hopeless situation. Wooding cleverly sets the mood with ghost stories and a creepy backdrop before turning the Infected hordes loose on his rapidly dwindling cast—blink and you may miss some deaths. While he plays with zombie tropes, his science-fiction twist allows for an exciting, unpredictable, and unsettling story. Ages 12–up. Agent: Carolyn Whitaker, London Independent Books. (Apr.)