Alex Sawyer and his mates should have known there was no way out of Furnace Penitentiary. Their escape attempt only lands them deeper in the guts of this prison for young offenders, and then into solitary confinement. And that's where a whole new struggle begins—a struggle not to let the hellish conditions overwhelm them. Because before another escape attempt is even possible, they must first survive the nightmare that now haunts their endless nights.
Published December 21st 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
The Elliott Review:
This book continues Alex's journey after his first unsuccessful attempt to escape from furnace. He and Zee are placed in solitary confinement in the underbelly of the prison for one month. Usually, no one can survive even a week in that hellish environment. Alex and Zee develop a strange, banging code to communicate with each other. They also find that the intrigue of the prison extends beyond what anyone in the general population comprehends.
Beneath the prison is where the wheezers conduct their tormenting experiments on inmates, changing them into super-powered, mutant monsters. Some of these experiments have gone horribly awry, and these creatures live beneath the surface, always threatening to eat the prisoners in solitary. Alex finds an ally in Simon, one of these experiments who has not lost his sense of self. Together with Zee, they concoct an escape plan.
There are so many moments in the book that make me want to look away, but I just can't. I'm like, "No, this is horrible. I can't believe I'm reading this. How could they do this? This is so evil and demented and twisted." And I put the book down for a minute, but then I can't stop thinking about it and pick it back up again. Every moment spent reading this book is one of utter terror and disgust and very intense interest. There are so many heart-rending moments, disturbing moments, and even humorous moments that kept me completely gripped from start to finish.
Based on the summary of the next book, Death Sentence, it's pretty obvious what will be happening to Alex and Zee next, and even though the thought of that horrifies me, I am pretty much dying to get my hands on it!!!
Young Adult Notes:
Mention of suicide, grotesque violence, torture