Series: Altered #1
Author: Jennifer Rush
Published: January 1st 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Thriller
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.
Anna has 4 guys in cages in her father’s basement, their minds wiped while they undergo mysterious tests and treatments. They have been there for the last five years, long enough for her to bond with them, do consider one her best friend, and one someone she would like to explore quiet villages in Italy with.
That is, until the boys escape and take her with them. There’s no time for exploration while on the run from people who may be in league with the government. A lot of face paced action follows. Car chases, gun fights, nameless government flunkies being killed.
The boy of Anna’s dreams, who she really knows very little about, and who admitted to playing her to gain her trust and co-operation, has a mysterious tattoo. One that might contain clues to his identity. So starts a grand mystery complete with codes to decipher.
The group has a wide range of personalities, which makes it really fun to read about these boys. You have the comic relief easy going guy, the sensitive best friend, the mean grouch and of course, our love interest, Mr. Mysterious and Brooding. All of them genetically modified. They are all stronger than normal, wickedly good with guns, and can feel when the other are in trouble. It’s a little generically super soldier. I would have liked to see more diverse abilities. Trev is mentioned as having a photographic memory, and Sam has a sort of domination over the others that makes him the natural leader and means everyone else just tags along while he follows the clues he left for himself.
Overall, it’s a pretty entertaining story. I would have liked to learn more about the boys, but seeing as how they don’t know much themselves, that can be excused.
I really liked that despite Anna being surrounded by so many guys, there wasn’t the normal love triangle feel. The romance elements are also not in your face, while still giving those who are into that sort of thing, a couple to root for.
Jennifer Rush lives in a little town on the shoreline of Lake Michigan with her husband and two children. She grew up wanting to be an Egyptologist, but realized she hated the desert and declared herself a writer instead. She won her first writing award in the fourth grade (a Mickey Mouse pencil was the prize) and has been crafting stories ever since. In her free time, she likes to read, Photoshop, and consume large amounts of caffeine.
Her debut YA, ALTERED, will release January 2, 2013 from Little, Brown.
Her debut middle-grade, BOT WARS, will release March 21, 2013 from Dial Books for Young Readers. It’s written under the pen name J. V. Kade.