Infestation by Timothy J. BradleyAdolescent Science Fiction/Horror
I bought this for the boys in my classroom--a book that looks like something they would be interested in. Bugs!
Andy isn't having the best day. He's on a smelly bus on his way to a special boys' school for juvenile offenders and none of the other kids look like they want to become new buddies. Andy's day gets worse the further he drives out into the desert. They are miles of parched heat away from the nearest sign of civilization; there is a mean bully at the school; the guard in charge acts like a marine drill sergeant; and, the head of the prison is clearly crazy. Worse still, Andy learns this might not be a temporary assignment, but a permanent one--if he displeases the warden. To make matters worse, there is an earthquake, which is bad. What it reveals is worse: a secret lab experiment gone horribly wrong. A giant race of ants has invaded the school and is exterminating all the people in it. The boys all have to learn to work together to conquer a common enemy. What a great lesson!
The story felt like a throwback to a 1950's horror movie classic. Too many of today's horror stories rely on gore and inappropriate themes, but this was just good, old-fashioned scary. It was fast-paced and thrilling all the way through. The action never stopped. Andy is a likable character. His crime? Destroying the motorcycle of his abusive foster father, so we don't have to feel bad for cheering on a criminal. The other characters are sympathetic as well. They are not a bunch of hooligans, hoodlums, and hardened criminals--just misunderstood youth. Solid reading for young boys!