"Fang (A Maximum Ride Novel)" by James Patterson

Before you say, "Ugh, James Patterson," and turn away, hear me out. I admit to also having qualms when I first picked up my first Maximum Ride book (The Angel Experiment) last year upon a co-worker's recommendation. I had never read anything by Patterson before and didn't really want to because I don't like the way he hedges when it comes to ghost-writing. My feelings for him personally, however, have nothing to do with my love of the MR series (I think I read he actually wrote this one himself, too, btw. Maybe that's why there's one a year?)

The series is absolutely fantastic. When I was reading it last year, I wound up blowing through the first four books in a matter of days and sitting at B&N to read the (at the time) brand-new fifth book, Max, because there was a wait-list at the library. Then, I wound up buying the first four in adult paperback, then upgraded the whole collection to hardback earlier this year so I didn't have to wait to buy Fang.
(Since adult massmarket for the series comes out about half a year after the teen tradepaper edition, I would have to wait even longer because I like my books to match when they sit on my bookshelf!)

Anyway, enough about me. It's hard to talk about Fang if fellow bookworms aren't familiar with the series. So let me start by briefly stating the following brief (very brief!!!) summary:

Maximum Ride is about a flock of bird-children who would have been normal, everyday humans if their DNA hadn't been altered by scientists. The scientists put bird DNA into them when they were still embryos, so when they were born, the children were 98% human and 2% bird. They had bird wings, their bones were made like a bird's (which helped one co-work who would have otherwise not read the series due to the fact that a bird couldn't fly with a human's bone density. She liked that it was so factual), etc. The kids manage to escape from the scientists and hide out for two years on their own before they're found. Now, the scientists want them back. The kids all learn and grow a lot in these books. In fact,the oldest of the flock and our main character, Maximum Ride (fondly called Max), has a special destiny all her own: If she manages to survive, the world will survive. The who, what, when, where, why, and how has yet to happen, so we're all hooked!

Now, let's talk about Fang. (That's a hint for all of you who aren't up to this point to scat!) As book followers will know, Fang is the second-oldest flock member and Max's "boyfriend." That's one part that has always frustrated me. Since the romance between Max and Fang was really poked at in the fourth book (The Final Warning), it's been steadily growing and Fang is the book that everyone has been waiting for. These two finally get some book time where their feelings aren't being dodged, etc. At the same time, their fledgling romance is causing disharmony in the flock. When you add in a prophecy from Angel that Fang is going to be the first of them to die, a strange new bird-boy named Dylan that may be friend or foe (not to mention, he's supposedly Max's REAL soulmate, not Fang...), and a whole lot of drama, you get the recipe for this exciting, edge-of-your-seat adventure.

Once I picked up Fang, I wasn't able to put the book down again until I'd turned the last page. In fact, we were supposed to go out somewhere and I finished in the nick of time. This book made me feel so many different emotions, from happiness to sadness. The book ended in a way that lets readers KNOW there's more coming. This isn't the end, guys. The end is one of my favorites, one of my least-favorites and also one of the "worst" (in terms of cliffhangers) all at the same time. Yes, I'm contradicting myself. You'll see what I mean when you get there.

It's been a while since I read the book (the week it first came out back in March!), so I don't have more specifics on what I was feeling when, but the essence of loving the book and wanting more is still very much with me. If you've been reading MR, you're going to want this book. If you haven't started yet, pick up The Angel Experiment and try the series out. It was the next "big series" I fell in love with after Percy Jackson, and I love recommending it to people.