Summer Rachel Short’s ATTACK OF THE KILLER KOMODOS reunites eleven-year-old, dynamic duo aspiring-scientist Maggie and YouTuber/cryptid-enthusiast Nate in another amazing speculative fiction adventure.
Visiting Maggie’s disgraced scientist dad at his new post in Yellowstone, Maggie and Nate discover a Komodo dragon with a tracker.
When an earthquake separates Maggie, Nate, and brain-injured Ezra from the adults (and eventually lose Ezra) the kids stumble across an abandoned cabin turned mad scientist lab of reptile-insect chimeras.
Rounded out with a supporting cast of a rogue pseudo-science YouTuber with a DNA gun, a preteen food truck proprietress, a friendly snake-bird chimera, and a flatulent man-eating tardigrade with a taste for generic Cheetos, this mystery keeps the reader turning pages.
Thank you to #BookAllies and Simon and Schuster for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
- Neurodiversity representation: Maggie’s thirteen-year-old brother Ezra, suffered a brain injury in the first book as a result of being infected with a zombie fungus and isn’t quite the same. Kudos and THANK YOU to Summer for showing Ezra’s value and redemption in adjusting to his new normal.
- Deals sensitively and realistically with adult problems impacting children: While mutant chimera monsters may not be something all children can empathize with, the ripple effects of Maggie’s dad’s career problems (hinted to be a setup vs his fault) is very relatable.
- Backmatter explains (again, very complex scientific stuff in a very kid-accessible manner) the science used in the speculative elements of the story. More importantly, former science journalist Short discusses the good that the technology is doing to offset the mad-scientist antics of the story.
- As a nerdy parent, I can’t stress how much I love that Short tied the science-fiction to reality, and wish more speculative MG authors followed suit.
- Content warning: Earthquake. However, the description of the quake and aftershocks was very brief and the story’s focus is on reuniting Maggie’s family and solving the mystery of who created the chimeras.
This book is Jules Verne x Frankenstein but cooler. Give it to a kid who will love those writers some day… or an adult who’s bummed Verne and Shelley are done writing books.
ATTACK OF THE KILLER KOMODOS is too funny to be scary (See: Farting, man-eating tardigrade) but it’s firmly in the “Diet Coke of Spooky MG” camp.
ATTACK OF THE KILLER KOMODOS is out now from Simon & Schuster Young Readers.
- Publication date : September 14, 2021
- Print length : 237 pages