Author: Jennifer Rush
Genre: YA, science fiction
Series? Yes, Altered #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads: When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.
Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.
Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
ANDIIII!!! I finally read it!!! And now I’m going to tell you all what Andi told me: READ THE BOOK. You will not regret it! I would never have guessed that Altered is a debut novel, and let me tell you – if this is where Rush is starting, I can’t wait to see where she goes! She’s definitely going on my “to watch” author list. I loved every bit of this book, from the characters to the plot to the concept – it’s all perfect!
Anna: It seems as if YA has taken a turn for the better! Anna joins the ranks of female characters who can hold their own, yet don’t sacrifice their femininity. She’s distinctly a girl, at times getting distracted by her attraction to Sam and his tattoos (and honey, I don’t blame you. Shall we refresh your memories as to what tattoos do to Kayla?)
The Boys: Okay, I’m going to put them all together since breaking them down one by one would take up far too much text since I could just go on and on about each of them.
- Sam, as the leader of the four, is the most mature and taciturn, and seems to be the pillar for all of them. He’s strong and capable, and he and Anna were the perfect team as they tried to figure everything out. Did I mention his tattoos?
- Cas is the goofy, slightly more childish of the bunch, and yet I still fell in love with him. He’s not immature, but just a little more carefree. When the time comes for him to be responsible, he steps up.
- Nick is my favorite of the four, even if I think his backstory was a bit transparent. He’s the dark and moody one, but as the book progresses he opens up a bit more, and shows a softer side. Definitely the most complex out of the four.
- Trev… Trevor!!! I love him. He was my first love in the book, with his bookish ways and soft heart and easy friendship with Anna. But by the end of the book… Grrr. I really hope we see more of him in the next book, because he needs to be redeemed in my eyes.
Concept: I love the idea of genetic manipulation – the possibilities, the ethical implications, the ideas of free will and being human – all of it! I’ve even written about it in my own novels (and I’m still hoping to one day share it with someone!). And here’s where my one complaint for the book is: I wish there was more world building. I know that the boys were altered, but how? And why? And what specifically was done to them? There were a lot of questions about the actual genetic manipulation that weren’t answered for me, so I’m hoping they’re answered in the second book when the group explores their pasts more.
Plot: I loved it! It was nearly perfectly paced, up until the very end where I felt it was a tiny bit rushed and wrapped up too quickly. Other than that, everything was flawless. The romance never overpowered the action, and vice versa. Plus, the romance, other than being a teensy bit insta-lovey and angsty on Anna’s part, was really well written. AND THE PLOT TWISTS! YES – twists, as in more than one. Jaw dropping/screaming from shock in several places.
Engaging, to say the least! I inhaled this in only a few sittings, and would have gone in one if I hadn’t been away at camp where I was supposed to be socializing instead of reading… Although those top bunks are really great for holing yourself away for a few minutes 😉
I’m beyond excited for the next book, and really hope I have a lot more questions answered in Erased! And I feel super special, because I won a giveaway from Andi (which was the incident that actually got us to talking) and she’s pre-ordered me a copy of Erased! So come January ish I’ll be reading the next book in this promising series!
My Final Rating:
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Food for thought (sound off in the comments!)
If you’ve read the book:
- Who was your favorite out of the four boys?
- Do you think the plot was a bit rushed at the end, or did you like that it skipped the unnecessary planning and drama?
If you haven’t:
- Why haven’t you picked up this book??
- Do you think large character casts like this can be overwhelming, or do you prefer having several protagonists?