This is the Hunger Games for grown-ups: an isolated public (boarding, for fellow Americans and expats) school caught in a brutal, post-apocalyptic world. Students battle to survive - against one another, their teachers, their neighbours and other threats that are so wild that I don't want to give them away.
Contains disturbing themes, brutal violence and awfully big thoughts. Mr. Andrews does an astounding job of talking about violence - what it does the victims, the perpetrators and the witnesses. This isn't a jolly tale of survival against the odds, it is about the real cost of carrying on. However glib my opening sentence may seem, the School's Out series has a depth, a pathos and a sincerity that the Hunger Games never achieves.
The third book in the series, Children's Crusade, was a 2010 Kitschies nominee. At the time, we wrote that "there's no question that this is a bloody and violent story, but Andrews isn't writing escapist splatterpunk - he's using the horror of war to demonstrate, well... the horror of war. Action heroes that sleep well at night are sociopaths."
Mr. Andrews will be at Forbidden Planet from 6 - 7 pm tonight. He is one of the all-time great readers-of-things-out-loud, so this is not a thing to be missed.