Study Guide

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment Family

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Okay. I'm Max. I'm fourteen. I live with my family, who are five kids not related to me by blood, but still totally my family. (P4)

The other flock members may not be Max's biological siblings, but they're basically all that she has in the world. If they're not her family, then who is?

I'd never told the others, but I just loved, loved, loved Angel. Maybe because I'd been taking care of her practically since she was a baby. Maybe because she was just so incredibly sweet and loving herself.

"Maybe because I'm like your little girl," said Angel, turning around to look at me. (3.25-26)

Max may just be a fourteen-year-old girl, but she already has some experience with motherhood outside of playing house. She's an adopted mother to Angel, who is super cute despite the whole creepy reading people's mind thing.

"These birds," said Nudge, wiping her eyes and feeling stupid. "Like, these dumb hawks have more of a mom than I ever had. The parents are taking care of the little ones. No one ever did that for me. Well, besides Max. But she's not a mom." (25.16)

Poor little Nudge—all she wants is to find her family. It's pretty rough when you find yourself feeling envious of a bunch of giant, bloodthirsty hawks.

Jeb had calmed me down, talking to me, taking my mind off of it, and then, when I least expected it, he had popped it right back into place. Instantly, all the pain was gone. He'd smiled and stroked my sweaty hair off my forehead and gotten me some lemonade. And I'd thought, This is what a dad would do. This is better than what a dad would do. (35.5)

Jeb totally did seem like a good dad when he was living with the flock… until he faked his death and rejoined the evil scientists who had them locked up, that is. That's not something a real dad would do, right?

Ella's mom was taking care of me, like Jeb had. I didn't know how to act, what to say.

A girl could get used to this. (35.13-14)

Max may have just had a couple of nights with Ella and her mom, but she already feels oddly at home with them. They really know how to treat a girl to some good old domestic comforts.

"I have to take off tomorrow," I told Ella that night when we were getting ready for bed.

"No!" she said, distressed. "I love having you here. You're like a cousin. Or my sister." (46.12-13)

Max would be an awesome big sister to have. She is fiercely loyal and protective, and will rush in to fight off bullies, even when they're carrying around a shotgun. Talk about a fearless protector.

Plus her mom was so awesome. She was strict about some things—don't leave your socks lying around—but so not strict about other things, like calling the cops about my bullet wound. Unlike any other parent I'd ever heard of, she didn't press for details, didn't lecture, and believed what I said. She actually accepted me. Like she accepted Ella, for who she was. (46.18)

That's a new one: Max is actually jealous of Ella because she has a mom who can be strict. It's basically the exact opposite of what most teenagers want (a parent looking over them), but it's what Max has been missing for her entire life.

Jeb had been the only parentlike person I'd ever had. He had kidnapped the six of us four years ago, stolen us away from this freak show and hidden us in the mountains of our house. He'd helped us learn how to fly—none of us had ever been allowed enough space to try before. He'd fed us, clothed us, and taught us survival sills, how to fight, how to read. (60.3)

Jeb's betrayal is a thousand times worse because Max really trusted him, not just as a friend, but as a dad. He was the only person who took care of her like she was a normal kid, and she just can't believe that he'd do this to her.

"Nudge is right," Angel blurted. "We did have parents—real parents. We weren't made in test tubes. We were born, like real babies. We were born from human mothers." (70.24)

The fact that they have real mothers who gave birth to them changes everything for the flock members. Sure, they're still human-avian hybrids, but this means that they might have biological families instead of just other experiments who were created in the same batch.

"Yeah, Jeb's son," he snarled. "Like he even knows I'm alive. What do you think happened to me while you were off playing house with my father? Did you think I just disappeared?" (106.22)

Well, Ari's serious vendetta against Max suddenly makes more sense. He hates her so much because he blames her for taking away his father—and for monopolizing all of his love and attention. Aw, poor Ari.

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