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Maximum Ride: School's Out-Forever

If you've already devoured James Patterson's #1 bestselling blockbuster MAXIMUM RIDE: THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT, stop right here—just turn the page, and hold on tight!

As for the rest of you-well, where have you been? Meet Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge, and Angel, six absolutely unforgettable kids. With some major problems. THEY'RE BEING HUNTED BY KILLERS. BUT WHO?

It's even worse than that. Max is sure that a microchip has been inserted under her skin-leading freakish forces of evil to ambush them at any moment...AND WORSE!

She and the others are supposed to save the world. BUT FROM WHAT? WHEN? AND HOW?

Max will stop at nothing to find answers. One thing she does know: it's got something to do with an astonishing ability they have that no others can claim. THEY CAN FLY.

Max's heart-stopping quest to protect her "family" and investigate the mind-blowing mystery of her ultimate destiny continues in the scariest, strangest, and funniest James Patterson thriller yet.

THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT WAS JUST A TEST DRIVE. NOW, BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE MAXIMUM RIDE!

Chapter 2

Of course, Jeb was a lying, cheating manipulator, so he might have just been yanking my chain. But his anguish after he’d discovered his dead son had sounded real.

And even though I loathed and despised Jeb, I still felt as though I had an anvil on my chest.

You had to do it, Max. You’re still working toward the greater good. And nothing can interfere with that. Nothing can interfere with your mission to save the world.

I took another deep breath through clenched jaws. Geez, Voice. Next you’ll be telling me that to make an omelet, I have to break a few eggs.

I sighed. Yes, I have a Voice inside my head, I mean, another one besides my own. I’m pretty sure that if you look up the word nuts in the dictionary, you’ll find my picture. Just another fun feature of my mutant-bird-kid-freak package.

“Do you want me to take him?” Angel asked, gesturing toward the dog in my arms.

“No, that’s okay,” I said. Total weighed almost half of what Angel weighed—I didn’t know how she’d carried him as far as she had. “I know,” I said, brightening. “Fang will take him.”

I gave my wings an extra beat and surged up over Fang, our wings sweeping in rhythm. “Here,” I said, lowering Total. “Have a dog.” Vaguely Scottie-ish in size and looks, Total wiggled a bit, then quickly settled into Fang’s arms. He gave Fang a little lick, and I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from snickering at Fang’s expression.

I sped up a bit, flying out in front of the flock, feeling an excitement overshadowing my fatigue and the dark weight of what had happened. We were headed to new territory—and we might even find our parents this time. We had escaped the Erasers and the whitecoats—our former “keepers”—again. We were all together and no one was badly wounded. For this brief moment, I felt free and strong, as if I was starting fresh, all over again. We would find our parents—I could feel it.

I was feeling . . . I paused, trying to name this sensation.

I felt kind of optimistic. Despite everything.

Optimism is overrated, Max, said the Voice. It’s better to face reality head-on.

I wondered if the Voice could see me rolling my eyes, from the inside.

Copyright © 2006 by James Patterson

Read by Valentina de Angelis

Valentina is cast for James Patterson's Maximum Ride - School's Out-Forever. She co-stars with Joan Allen and Sam Elliot in "Off The Map", directed by Campbell Scott. She has appeared in Law and Order SVU and in the new CBS hit series Love Monkey. She has also appeared in over 50 commercials, narrated voice-overs, and did a guest stint on Saturday Night Live. Click here to see photos of her in the recording studio!

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