Title: Student Bodies
Author: Sean Cummings
Series: Poltergeeks (Book Two, sequel to Poltergeeks)
Published: 5th September 2013
Who’s it for? Teens
What’s it about? Set a few weeks on from Poltergeeks, Julie Richardson is just coming to terms with her new relationship and with her role as Shadowcull. But when Marcus’s old school bully Mike Olson is nearly driven by some dark power to end his life, Julie is plunged into a battle for the lives of her family, her friends and everyone at Crescent Ridge High School.
What’s good about it? The characters are still great and I really liked Twyla – I thought she made for an interesting addition to the cast – especially as she brought with her her own brand of magic that worked in a different way from Julie’s. The combination of the two during the action scenes was quite exciting!
There was more of a romantic subplot in this one. I say romantic but really it was the hard hitting decisions that come after the initial declaration of love. Julie’s life is dangerous and, though Marcus has always been a steadfast supporter, the reality is he has no powers which can keep him safe. But the thing I really enjoyed about their relationship? In the end it was Marcus’s decision. All to often it’s the hero of the story that makes the choice and the other person has to live with it, but in this it was Marcus’s choice and Julie respected it.
I loved the fact that Julie had her mum around to help more this time. I still liked their relationship even though they spent a lot of the time butting heads there was still a strong bond between them. They also deal with the repercussions from the previous book and the affect it had on their relationship, which I liked.
There’s a much darker tone to this book. There’s a small exploration of bullying and the effects it has on people, as there’s a concentrated campaign against one of the students at school. I thought it was handled well, but it was heartbreaking to think that this is reality for many students – Marcus’s description of what it was like to be bullied…it hurt and you really feel for him.
What’s bad about it? I know that there does need to be a little recap of events at the start of a sequel in the series but I found it to be an irritating start (possibly because I reread Poltergeeks only the other week. That said it’s easily forgotten once the story cracks on.
The verdict? I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So I’ll be honest.
Much like Poltergeeks this was a fun, quick read, but it went to far darker places. There were still moments of humour but these were offset by much darker themes and ideas. Julie still sounds like the Julie we met in Poltergeeks only perhaps a little more grown up and struggling with what her life has become, but she is less arrogant in this and more willing to seek out and rely on the help of others.
The action scenes are genuinely exciting and some are seriously scary, but the moments inbetween could be a little hit and miss for me – I was getting annoyed with Julie’s musings over her relationship with Marcus, but it was redeemed for me when the eventual choice was Marcus’s, not Julie’s.
Overall, I enjoyed this and there were some tantalising snippets of information dropped here and there that will definitely have me picking up the third book in this great series!