The Enemy by Charlie Higson

enemyBibliographic Information:

Higson, C. (2010). The enemy. London: Puffin. (978-0-414-32501-9)

The Enemy series:

  • The Dead, bk. 2
  • The Fear, bk. 3
  • The Sacrifice, bk. 4
  • The Fallen, bk. 5

Plot Summary:

All the adults have been infected with the sickness. Two groups of children have developed bases in supermarkets. Together, they are stronger and can fight back and so far they have enough food. But when a younger kid, Small Sam is kidnapped and a boy named Jester arrives to tell them of another group of kids at Buckingham Palace, they decide to risk going there to join the other group.

Critical Evaluation:

There are two reasons why this series has been so successful. First, of course is the heavy dose of adrenaline-laced fight scenes with gore and death doled out is equal measure. Higson understands how to write an action book; he has had a lot of experience with his Young Bond series.

The other reason may not be expected in a book of this genre and that is the character development. Higson has put in a lot of time building back stories and developing individual characters. Usually, when an author invests the time in developing a character a reader expects that character will be around for a while. Not so with Higson, he kills off main characters as quickly as secondary characters. That, I think, is what surprises the reader the most. They invest in a character, start cheering for that person and suddenly, they are gone. Maybe that is where the horror comes from; the knowledge that nothing is certain and anyone can be the next victim.

Reader’s Annotation:

It is important to stay with a gang because the adults usually attack the isolated and weak. Together, the kids can survive because they are smart and quick. But the adults seem to be getting smarter they are coming.

Information About the Author:

Charlie Higson has a varied resume. He has worked as a decorator, an actor and comedian. He even formed a band.He has also written for television and radio and, of course, he is the author of the very popular Young Bond series (The author, 2013).


  • Horror
  • Thriller
  • Post-Apocalyptic

Curriculum Ties:

  • N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Create a booklist of similar books including Gone series by Grant and the Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Read the first page when a child is taken by the adults.
  • Book trailer

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 14 and up
  • Reading level 4.1

Challenge Issues:

  • Violence

Challenge plan:

  1. Listen to the critic to understand what the concerns are.
  • Ask if he/she has read the book
  • Ask if he/she has spoken to his/her child about the concerns.
  1. Explain rationale for including the book in the collection
  • Provide CLA Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and CLA’s Position Statement of Diversity and Inclusion documents
  • Provide school’s selection policy
  • Provide list of reviews/lists
  1. If necessary, provide a “Request for Reconsideration form”

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

My students love it and the series is in constant circulation. The gross factor is high.


  • Kraus, D. (2010). The Enemy. Booklist, 106(18), 46.

“Higson writes with a firestorm velocity that aspires to the sweeping reach of Stephen King’s The Stand (1978). A muscular start to what looks to be a series.”


Booklist 2011 Top 10 Books for Youth, Horror


The author. (2013). Retreived April 25, 2013 from


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