Skinjacker #2. Author: Neal Shusterman.
Everlost, the limbo land of dead children, is at war. Nick the “Chocolate Ogre” wants to help the children of Everlost reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Mary Hightower, self-proclaimed queen of lost children and dangerous fanatic, is determined to keep Everlost’s children trapped within its limbo for all eternity. Traveling in the memory of the Hindenburg, Mary is spreading her propaganda and attracting Afterlights to her cause at a frightening speed.
Meanwhile, Allie the Outcast travels home to seek out her parents, along with Mikey, who was once the terrifying monster the McGill. Allie is tempted by the seductive thrill of skinjacking the living, until she discovers the shocking truth about skinjackers.
So if the first book was a lot of set up, this is the part where that pays off.
One awesome bit is how Neal Shusterman embraces the fairy-tale feeling of Everlost itself. Limbo is at war, but this is so much more than a war of numbers – it is a war of propaganda. The Sky Witch versus the Chocolate Ogre.
The most dangerous enemy is someone completely convinced they are in the right. The Sky Witch is coming to take over the world, for the good of all. Mary was a bit disturbing from the start, but as Everwild goes on she slides further and further, past the point of “…but she means well” into antagonist level Villainy. More, it’s a completely natural progression.
I didn’t like Allie as much in this book. She does a lot of skinjacking which is just… Not Okay. Yes, part of it is the peer pressure. That doesn’t make none of it her fault. I think she’s going to work through that, though?
Sexual Content: Two characters kiss once in stolen bodies.
Language: 1 d***, 1 hell
Violence: Character stealing a living person’s body accidentally causes a heart attack – it is non lethal. Character admits to both stopping children from “reaching the light” and directly causing their deaths; because they’re going to limbo she doesn’t think of it as murder. Several characters set up a bridge explosion which causes multiple deaths. Character throws little boy into a pool to drown him, and he very nearly does before being rescued. There’s quite a lot of skinjacking, which is basically possessing someone and using their body.
Other: Possible body-horror in a monster/character who can partially change at will, and at one point turns himself inside out.