Saturday, 3 August 2013

Altered - Jennifer Rush

Altered (Altered, #1)Altered (Altered #1) - Jennifer Rush
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

They were made to forget. But they'll never forgive. 

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, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who's stolen Anna's heart. 

When the Branch decides it's time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna's father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. On the run, with her father's warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. 

She 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. (Description from Date A Book)

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I adored this book! Altered is an addictive read, I couldn't put it down!

What's strange is that you find out so much form the blurb: a lab, with 4 boys being held - boys that have been genetically altered in strange and curious ways. Stronger, more dangerous and yet unknown at the same time. And then there's Anna, a teen and daughter to the scientist running experiments on the altered boys. Why are they being tested and developed into something more than human? Well, for a secret agency with government connections, of course. But when this group, The Branch, tries to take them away and the boys escape taking Anna with them, a troubling journey to uncover the mystery of their past takes hold.

The four boys were the first part that made me curious. I loved how different they all were. Cas, with his inability to sit still too long, but a giant obsession with food. Trev, who had an incredible memory and loved to bring up quotes that matched almost every situation. Nick, who I think was the most dangerous of the bunch because of his darker attitude and harsh take on life. And Sam, a natural leader maybe, but a brilliant strategist and someone with a protective streak and an obvious hidden past. These boys drove me crazy, but in a good way. I loved their connection to each other, the way they bounced off each other, it made them seem closer. Which I guess is possible when you live in a lab with only the 4 of them for years. However, the biggest mystery behind them all was their hidden pasts. A memory loss from the time before arriving in Anna's world. And when you've got gaps in your memory the only thing left to do is search for answers.

I loved this quest to uncover the hidden pasts. The focus was entirely on Sam and his back story. After leaving himself a few cryptic clues, the groups set off to make sense of it all. It was a bit strange how easy it seemed to follow all the link, despite a bit of trouble deciphering a few of them, it did come pretty quickly. Presumably, Sam had hidden all these clues to surviving outside The Branch; and while you would assume he'd be able to figure them all out, it was a tad easy for someone who couldn't actually remember leaving the clues anywhere. But that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I loved every new discovery, and I loved that each boy, and Anna, had a part in piecing together their trip. It wasn't just Sam figuring out all the bits on his own - there was real team effort going on.

At the start you're aware that Anna has deep feelings for Sam, so I was on the look out for a bit of romance between the two of them. I was not disappointed, although there was a bit of twist that threw me off for a while. I loved their little moments together! I can't wait to see more of it.

Speaking of twists, there was more than one. I guess that makes up for knowing about escaping from the secret lab in advance and the easy trail of clues, because some of these surprise plot lines left me speechless. One in particular hit me extremely hard. I was really impressed with the twists, I just wasn't expecting them, and they changed the dynamic of the story. Everything gets darker, you question bits from the beginning - I was completely turned around.

I have no idea what to expect from the sequel, but if it has even half the twists, danger and excitement, I know I'm going to love it!

5/5 stars

(Also posted on Goodreads)


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