Cover Image: Crater Lake: Evolution

Crater Lake: Evolution

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Member Reviews

Crater Lake Evolution definitely lived up to its name!! 

Everything about this was more evolved, the writing style, they character and the friendships. 

I really enjoyed reading this one. So much more than the 1st, even though it’s about alien spores it felt more real and believable than the 1st book did. 

I enjoyed the relationships between the characters, where they were it was so true to being an 11/12 year old moving from Primary School into High School and figuring out all over again how you fit in. 
There were some truly touching moments. I loved the introduction to new characters and enjoyed how some people didn’t change at all (Trent) 

Also on the creepy scale. Yes. It gave off definitely more creepy vibes which just kept me engrossed and unable to put the book down until it was finished at 2am!!

Thank you Publishers and Netgalley for granting me access to this E-Arc. I’m definitely more excited now to see if/how this world continues.
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Spooked but smiling, what an epic transition text for Y6-Y7! Jennifer Killick's authentic MG voice & humour is fresh & timely. Not a SciFi fan, but I read crater lake after the race reviews on twitter and couldn't wait to devour this sequel! Evolution was gripping, with suspense, tension & gory science right through! #MGStrangerThings This has to be the last book we read as Y6 for summer term, winner!
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If you've not yet read the first Crater Lake, don't read this one (yet!) but start there. Normally I'd say 'you probably could read it as a stand alone/out of order' and I mean, yes, you probably could but so much of this builds on, follows on from and refers back to book one that it wouldn't be the best idea.

However, as soon as you have read book one - READ THIS!

We rejoin unlikely hero Lance in his first term of secondary school, and its safe to say 'Big School' has thrown the gang in a big way. They've changed, grown apart, fallen out and generally struggled with the transition.

But they're going to have to put misunderstandings, jealousy and dodgy earrings aside because...

...the spores are back in town.

With WiFi down after a strange explosion in the local lab, a mysterious creature on the loose and a curfew in place, more nosy neighbours than you can shake a stick at, and parents either missing or acting very strangely, it's not long before Lance realises something weird is going on, and it's up to him to get to the bottom of it again. But to do that, he'll need help.

Can he get the gang back together to save Straybridge?

And on that note, the gang are brilliant. They're a great mix of recognisable 11-12 year olds who act and sound so realistic (Ade's "hair dollop" in a doughnut cracked me up!).

This is an author who knows the age she writes (and writes for) well (although, I have to say its Lance's mum that really stood out for me in this!)

There is a really observant, tender and reassuring look at friendship groups and the way they can change in the background of this alien invasion.

Likewise, the humour is one of the best things about the book. Lightening the mood when it all gets a bit heavy, the balance between the potentially deadly events unfolding and the comic gold that is the dialogue here is perfect (with a special nod to newcomer Karim who delivers so much of it).

Between sarky retorts, deliberations about poo, quick comebacks and schmaltzy cushions, there is a remarkable amount of laughter for a book about a town being gradually taken over by an alien lifeform.

There is a lot I loved about this book that I can't talk about for fear of spoilers (though I will say the Stranger Things chat and bugsplaining were brilliant) but the whole thing is just superbly executed.

Jennifer is an expert at getting that creepy atmosphere growing, tension building and danger mounting. And it refers back to book one in the absolute best ways while being an entirely different beast too.

As relentless as the first, with just as many twists, turns and surprises, this is fast-paced, exciting and utterly gripping.

And if you're thinking 'yeah, but aliens aren't really for me' - don't be put off! I really don't do sci-fi but here I make an exception - it is great!
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Crater Lake was one of my favourite books of 2020 so I was delighted to get an early review copy of Crater Lake: Evolution, the second in the series. 

After the events at Crater Lake, Lance and the gang have settled into life at high school. The way that friendships have developed and moved on in the short space of time feels really genuine and authentic.

When there’s a strange explosion at the University Lance knows it’s somehow related to the events of the year 6 residential. But it can’t be...can it?

Jennifer’s writing is just brilliant! Filled with suspense, humour and tension in all the right amounts. The dialogue in particular is perfect - the gaming chat at the start of the book made me laugh as it’s exactly what I hear coming from my 12 year olds’ room on a regular basis!

Crater Lake: Evolution is as good, if not better than the original. Perfect for MG readers who like action-packed adventures and a great introduction to age-appropriate horror stories.
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I adore Jennifer's writing - brilliant humour, and with Crater Lake:Evolution she has seemlessly blended in a nice dollop of horror and suspense. Of course she has! This IS the follow-up to Crater Lake, afterall!
Love how this sees the same friendship group from Crater Lake, but, a little bit older and with the great addition of Karim.
A nail-biting, suspense-filled, giggle-inducing read! LOVED this one.
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Wow I absolutely loved reading the original book to my year 6 class but this one is even better. The humour is excellent and the new character Karim is a brilliant addition. Not only does it have all the action of the first one but it also has a very important message about friendship and changes as you grow up. Will definitely be recommending this to my class.
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A brilliant sequel to Crater Lake, if anything, I think this is better than the first!
More jokes and fun with the characters we met in the original, but with characters and relationships developing as they move to High School. The same old alien problems though, needing to be dealt with by Lance and his crew of old (and welcome, new) additions.
Scary, funny and thrilling, I can't wait to share this with my class, who are already huge Jennifer Killick fans.
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Jennifer Killick does it again! This is an excellent sequel to the first book, in what I really hope is a long Crater Lake series. 

Crater Lake: Evolution, like the first book, almost feels like a cross between one of the Goosebumps books, an episode of Scooby Doo and something else I can't quite put my finger on. The story is scary but in a good and oddly safe way. I have total confidence in the characters to give the story a happy ending.

I already have children at school, slightly disgruntled that I have already read this, asking me when they can borrow my pre-ordered copy.
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Following their near-disastrous Year 6 residential trip to Crater Lake, Lance and his friends are back at home and have started their different high schools. Lance has a new friend, Karim, but sadly the rest of his friends have all drifted apart.

When a disturbance occurs in the town and strange things start happening, Lance knows it is related to the activities at Crater Lake. His suspicions become stronger when Miss Hoche reappears on the scene.

Can Lance bring his friends back together and prevent yet another invasion?

This is another brilliant read that will have UKS2 hooked. My class are already begging for me to read it to them but they will have to wait until my pre-order arrives!

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers Firefly Press for this advance copy.
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Its been 5 months since the terrifying events at Crater Lake where the human race was under threat from a vile swarm of angry wasp aliens. But are they back!?

Lance suspects as such, especially after the strange explosion at the university in his hometown Straybridge which has knocked out the wifi (as if having no wifi wasn’t scary enough, just wait) and meant a suspiciously convenient curfew has been placed on its residents. Lance isn’t convinced, his mum is acting really weird now and the family cat is now terrified of her and won’t come in the house. Somethings not right. Lance is going to need help, the help of his friends. 

I mean how scary is this… “And then he’s gone, and it’s just me and the thing that used to be my mum.” 

But since Crater Lake, relationships have become extremely tense and getting the group back together will be tricky. He only really talks to Karim now and the others barely speak at all. He has to though, they must put any bad feelings towards each other behind them and work as a team once again if they are to have any chance of success… One way or another… Their lives, the town, the world depends on it! 

What a terrifying and yet funny book from Jennifer Killick. Warning: Don’t look at Chapter 13 directly in the words, it will make your skin CRAWL! And as if dealing with a vicious race of alien wasps wasn’t bad enough, having to face life in secondary school and drifting friendships as well is almost too much. What this book does show is that just showing up and apologising is sometimes all friendships need and that when you work together anything is possible. 

Congratulations on a book that may actually be even better than the first one. I haven’t decided yet, they’re both excellent.
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Crater Lake: Evolution is a fast-paced, scary, yet funny, read for kids (8-12) It is a sequel that manages to be even better than the original, Crater Lake. Jennifer Killick has her finger on the pulse on children's language, humour and interests making this an immersive and engaging read. It feels fresh and vibrant. Kids will love it!
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She has done it again! Jennifer Killick has combined laugh out lough comedy, middle grade angst,  sci fi scariness and fantastic writing, to produce a book that will hook you in and not want to let you go.  Don”t ever fall asleep we are told and trust me this book will keep you up at night...simply because you will not be able to put it down!

Old familiar faces and new ones transform and become a force to be recorded with, the gang need to sort out their differences if they are to save the world - again and as a reader you will never look at your Christmas tree in the same way ever again. 

A perfect read for sci-fi loving middle graders who like a drama that will scare the, but ultimately make them feel good about themselves and the uncertain world around them..
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A simply wonderful sequel that I devoured.

The creatures of Crater Lake are back and are invading the gang’s home town. It felt wonderful, almost like coming home, to see Lance, Chets and the team all back together again. And to have Trent and his wise crack comments was just wonderful. The book is just as fabulous as the first - fast paced, hilarious at points and a really compelling story. Thank you for the arc. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to read it to m Y6 class, who are already pondering their own residential trip after the first book.
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*please note this review may contain spoilers* 

It has evolved! And I not just talking about the waspy alien community in Spraybridge. If you’ve read the first book – named simply Crater Lake – you’ll know that Jennifer Killick has a skill in balancing horror with comedy. But it’s a real feat to create a sequel that not only explains the premise of the first so niftily, without exposition and awkwardness, but grows the storyline with tenacity and tension. With Evolution, she does so - effortlessly. Like Stranger Things meets BBC classroom drama meets popular video game, One of Us, it’s about a group of old school friends that must dodge ill-meaning aliens whilst simultaneously trying to work out how to neutralise them. The plot has really clever little twists and the sci-fi element is true to its roots – there’s real science referencing in this book; prepare to become an amateur entomologist. Also be prepared to be disgusted by that. 

All great stories need characters we care about. The cast of Evolution is so colourful and tangible, you can’t not care. (Unless you’re one of them…. Bzzzzzz). We’ve met most of them before – their personalities are clear-cut, believable, unforgettable. But there’s a new one in this book: Karim. Endearingly self-adoring, with slick moves and quick banter and, importantly, a dependency on hair-styling products. I never thought main character, Lance’s friendship group could take any more members, but things are different now, and Karim is a super fresh addition to the cast.

The dialogue is terrific and readers will love the humour tucked between every set of quotation marks. (Because if there's a time where humour is needed in adversity, it's when your mum's body has been hijacked by giant wasp extra-terrestrials). There’s lots of quipping, backchat and banter. It’s full of butts. But that’s where the buts stop. 

I have nothing but applause for Crater Lake: Evolution. It's funny and thrilling, and whether they realise it or not, kids will be learning an important life lesson: it doesn’t matter if friendships grow or change – so long as you can put differences aside and come together to work as one when bug-eyed aliens take over your town. That’s all that matters.
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With a ten year old in lockdown from school, this book came at just the right time. I read this to him and he loved it so much, he re-read it another FOUR times in one week! Full of adventure and humour, the evil aliens of Crater Lake have evolved and are planning to control the world. 
Massive hit here. 
We have had to buy the previous book for more in depth reading. 
Great work by Jennifer Killick, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ranked 7/5 by the boy 
Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ahead of publication in exchange for an honest review
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Firefly Press in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to get my hands on an advanced copy of this book as Crater Lake was one of my favourite reads of the year last year so I was keen to find out what happens next with Lance and his friends. The answer it turns out is, quite a lot happens!

The story takes place several months after the events in Crater Lake. Lance and the others have just completed their first term at secondary school and it is almost Christmas. Several changes have taken place during this time and for various reasons, the friends are no longer as close as they once were. In fact some of them are not even speaking to each other any more! However, when an explosion at the local university leads to reports of a mysterious creature escaping and his mum starts acting weirdly, Lance knows he needs to get the gang back together. Aided by Lance's new friend Karim, the former fallies must put aside their arguments and work together to save the town from something even worse than the horror they faced at Crater Lake!

Jennifer Killick is so good at writing children at this age - they sound just like the children I teach! They are all very relatable: talented in some ways, flawed in others. I love the suspense, the terrifying action scenes and the thrill of solving each part of the mystery. However, I think what I like best about these books are the scenes with the group discussions. They're full of witty replies and funny/embarrasing stories, but sometimes they're also the moments when the characters stop pretending and admit how they're really feeling - something we would all benefit from doing more often.

Once again, the mystery is very well thought out and when you look back after reading, the clues are all their, but so cleverly woven into the story that you have to stay alert to pick up on them all! I know this will be a great story to read aloud to a class as there will be so much to discuss about their theories and predictions. The horror aspects of the story are delightfully creepy but also totally age-appropriate which is a great balance. I love the way the suspense builds throughout the story and the fact that this time they're not alone, away from home, but events are happening right in their home town and still no-one can help them, makes this book feel even scarier than the last one!

I really liked the way this book explored how hard the change from primary to secondary school can be. Going to different secondary schools, balancing new friends with old friends, getting to know a new set of teachers and establishing your place in a new school are all big and genuine concerns that 11-year-old children face and I appreciated the way that this story handled these issues. I really think that reading Crater Lake in last term of Year 6 (just before the children go to seondary school) and reading Crater Lake: Evolution during the first term of Year 7, would be a great way to promote discussions about the transition between primary and secondary.

This was a sensational sequel and I highly recommend it to anyone who has read book 1 (and those who have not read book 1 should do that immediately and then read this one!) Will there be a book 3? I hope so!
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The bugs are back! And whilst that is SERIOUSLY not good for Lance and co, it's fabulous news for every reader who enjoyed Crater Lake last year. The 2020 middle grade release, written by Jennifer Killick and published by Firefly Press, seemed to create more impact than the meteor that not only made the crater at Crater Lake Activity Centre but brought alien spores with it. And it's not surprising that the first book went down a storm - it had been on the edge of my seat and, most importantly, kept me wide awake! But now it seems the bugs were not defeated after all...

Five months after the year six school trip of nightmares, Lance and his friends are no longer a tight -knit group. Struggling with the transition into high school, things have got tense. But nothing reunites a friendship like the threat of an alien take-over and some seriously strange things are happening in the group's hometown of Straybridge. 

After an odd explosion at the university, the town is put under a precautionary curfew. But Lance's mum is acting weird and he's certain the bugs are back. Now it's down to him to heal the rifts that have cracked his crew apart so together they can battle to save their loved ones, their home...and the world. 

Just like the first book, this brilliant sequel kicks off with spine-tingling action, a fast pace and bags of sharp banter. Killick has the uncanny ability to nail dialogue between twelve year olds and it is the interaction between Lance's loveable, but humorously dysfunctional group that make these novels such a fab read. Every character brings their own distinct personality, their own very relatable issues and, in the case of the sequel, their own axe to grind. The group has fallen apart and yet it is their deep bond and their ability to overcome the challenges that face them that makes them so powerful...so loveable...and, in fact, so highly functional at battling the enemy. This is a group whose strength is equal to those in Stranger Things and The Goonies. Furthermore, as an adult fan of The Walking Dead, the whole group ethics and plot was right up my street. 

Crater Lake Evolution doesn't offer quite the same spooky setting as Crater Lake. However, with the threat being so close to home-or even inside Lance's home-the stakes are at an all-time high. Not only are their own lives at risk but the lives of everyone they hold dear are under threat. I loved that the bugs had evolved and I also loved the clever way the spores were being transmitted- it not only made sense but made the plot fresh and unpredictable. The only brilliantly predictable things was Don't. Ever. Fall. Asleep. 

As with the first book, this is not for the faint-hearted. Your palms will be sweaty and your heart will be thumping but, again, Killick keeps the action within the boundary of age appropriateness as long as horror is your genre. You may not want to read it under cover of darkness but rest assured, if you do, you'll feel like part of the group. 

Overall, this is another cracking read which not only delivers a creepy, blood-pumping plot but which explores the difficult realities of transitioning into high school, the pressures young people face, the strength and beautiful nature of friendship and the power of teamwork and unity. It is as heart-warming as it is chilling, as funny as it is scary and I guarantee you are in now danger of falling asleep whilst reading it. 

A massive thanks to Firefly Press and Netgalley for allowing me to review an early copy. Crater Lake Evolution is now available to pre-order.
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Lance and his friends have been back from Crater Lake for 5 months and have settled into high school, although they seem to have all grown apart.  Lance and Chets don't see as much of each other now Lance is friendly with Karim; Katja and Ade have fallen out; Big Mak is keeping himself to himself now he's got a girlfriend; and Trent ... well nobody's really seen Trent.  Life carries on and Christmas is approaching; however, strange things are starting to occur in Staybridge.  The town had been chosen to be the first SMARTtown in the country, but then an explosion at the university's research departments plunges everything into chaos.  Nobody is allowed into the centre and everybody is forced to abide by a curfew as one of the living test subjects has escaped.  Then, when Lance's mum starts behaving strangely, he becomes increasingly more concerned that his old adversaries from Crater Lake are back and he needs to find a way to rally the troops once again.

Crater Lake was such a gripping book and a huge hit with my class last year when I read it to them (and, indeed, is a big hit with many of my class this year too!) that I was thrilled to be able to read an early copy of Crater Lake Evolution thanks to NetGalley.

It was good to be back with Lance and the rest of the gang from book one.  They have clearly grown since we last saw them and their experiences at the activity centre in Year 6 have effected them.  They have grown apart so no longer see each other and feuds have formed between some of them.  Lance and Chets are still friends but Chets is clearly jealous of Lance's new friendship with Karim (who, in my opinion, is a wonderful addition and a brilliantly funny character).  It's Lance's leadership skills that come to the fore once again to reunite the group in order to try to save the town.  One of the things I really like about each of the characters is their individuality and the fact that they aren't perfect; they make mistakes and there is very definitely a human side to them; readers can see this and it makes them relatable.  Can I say though, that I love the fact that Trent is still Trent and doesn't seem to have changed - he makes me laugh!

This is a brilliant sequel to Crater Lake; full of laughs and adventure, and the perfect was to introduce children to sci-fi.  Be ware the evolution of the species and remember: Don't. Ever. Fall. Asleep.

Crater Lake Evolution is due for release on the 20th May.
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Crater Lake Evolution is one of those books you just can’t put down! Lance and his crew are back again to battle a swarm of alien wasp like creature which have invaded a little too close to home. A story built full of suspense, humour, horror and cool kids life styles. Jennifer killick has such a great way to grip a read, build up a tense moment and releases your worries are the right moment with humour or memories of a life lived in childhood. I great sequel to Crater lake and a must read for all Upks2 and those who like a horror story. Some great ideas to be used in school as well. News reports on explosions or events of the story at the end. Character description or description of unknown creatures. Research based on wasps and information text based on their findings. I will need to buy a copy for the shelf.
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A huge success of a sequel. Like The Empire Strikes Back is to Star Wars: dare I say it, arguably BETTER than the original. Double the scary, the fun, the adventure & the mystery, this is Stranger Things for kids done Killick style.
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