by Neal Shusterman
The Skinjacker Trilogy: Book 2
There was the rumor of a beautiful sky witch, who soared across the heavens in a great silver balloon. And there were whispers of a terrible ogre made entirely of chocolate, who lured unsuspecting souls with that rich promising smell, only to cast them down a bottomless pit from which there was no return.
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 learns a shocking secret: Those who skinjack are not actually dead.
It had been awhile since I read Everlost, which came out in 2006, so at first I had a little trouble remembering what had transpired in the first book. Once I sorted things out mentally, though, this book sucked me right in and blew me away! Shusterman is a master at creating a new world with its own distinct rules and mores. Each character grows in interesting and revealing ways. Mary Hightower's progression into a dangerous fanatic was especially disturbing and compelling to read! There are so many revelations and twists in this book, it's incredible that it still flows in a distinct storyline. When I finished this book, I literally had to pause to catch my breath and now I am upset that the final book in the trilogy is not yet published.