From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-One week has passed since a deadly virus was released through the air vents of the Stonecliff Mall. In this sequel to No Safety in Numbers (Dial, 2012), a fragile system is taking shape as Senator Dorothy Ross, one of the detainees, strictly rations food, assigns work schedules, and tries to keep a handle on the restless teenage population. As in the first book, the plot unfolds in alternating third-person perspectives. The senator's daughter, Lexi, is skeptical of her mother's ability to control the quarantined people to keep the virus at bay. While breaking the mandatory curfew, she has a chance encounter with Marco, who is newly allied with Ryan and his football-team buddies because of his stolen universal key card. Both boys adore Shay, who feels responsible for her grandmother's death and is trying her best to protect her younger sister. Survival is only part of what's at stake for these teens; all of them are attempting to redeem or reinvent themselves in some way. It isn't the terrible circumstances changing them; the quarantine is the catalyst to act on their desire to become the person they want to be, for better or worse. Lorentz wastes little time on establishing events from the previous book and plunges forward into the second week of detention. Crises and the mundane are handled with similar earnestness, although the action becomes monotonous once the author sets the narrative's rhythm: daytime scheming leads to nighttime partying. Although the characters lack true depth, readers who were captivated by No Safety in Numbers will continue to enjoy the seemingly doomed mall residents and will eagerly anticipate the series conclusion.-Joy Piedmont, LREI, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
No Safety in Numbers (2012) presented a fine hook: a few thousand people are quarantined inside a mall where a deadly toxin has been released. Over a thousand are now dead, and there’s no telling what’s happening in the outside world. Lorentz instead focuses on four teen characters caught within interlocking love triangles as they resist the new world order with illegal parties, violent revolts, and living off the grid. Marco, whose universal key card makes him the guy everyone wants to know, remains a fascinatingly dynamic protagonist. Overlong but rarely dull, the story line is increasingly reminiscent—in a good way—of Michael Grant’s Gone series. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus