The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M. T. Anderson
Released June 1st, 2010.
This is the sequel to The Game of Sunken Places. If you haven’t read the first, you really must. Not only will you understand and enjoy this second one more, but they are both worth the time.
Brian and Gregory are hard at work designing Brian’s Game, but then Brian is attacked on the subway by a strange man and a monster. When the boys try to reach Gregory’s cousin Prudence there is no answer. The boys head out to find Prudence but they find much more than they or the reader ever expected: suburbia. Now the two friends must battle their way past strange singing children, perfectly manicured lawns, and roads that lead nowhere at all in order to find out what happened to Prudence and what is threatening the existence of our entire world.
I was all set to read the second book in the series, knowing that it would be Brian’s turn to create his version of the Game. Just as I was settling in with that as the main storyline of the book, Anderson took an unexpected swerve. I was suddenly reading a book I had not expected, much to my great delight. Anderson mixes humor with horror to jarring effect. The running gags had me giggling aloud while at the same time the tension and eeriness of the novel was mesmerizing. Anderson uses imagery to warn, shock and jab. In suburbia, Anderson has found the perfect setting for both his humor and his horror.
Get this in the hands of the readers of the first book, but make sure that new readers find this series. It is a marvelous mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror and humor that will appeal to middle school kids effortlessly. Appropriate for ages 12-15.
Reviewed from Advanced Reader Copy received from Scholastic.