Author: Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 2, 2013 (hardcover)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Overall: 5 Stars
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, solemn and brooding; Cas, lighthearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who's stolen Anna's heart. Reserved and always controlled, Sam does everything with purpose.
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 go, 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, 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.
It's very hard to believe that Altered is only Jennifer Rush's debut novel! Altered was fast-paced and action-packed from start to finish, and played out like a suspenseful movie in my head. It's definitely an amazing and thrilling novel you don't want to miss reading!
Sam, Nick, Cas and Trev have been genetically altered by the Branch, and for years, they've been kept in separate rooms in the lab below Anna's farmhouse while her father studies the effects of administered treatments. When the Branch suddenly sends agents to take them away, Anna helps the boys escape and flees her home with them. With no memories of their lives before the lab, Anna aids the boys in finding clues about their past and learns she's more connected to them than she could have ever imagined...
Sam is the leader of the group who has also captured our heroine's heart (and mine!). There's a quiet intensity about him which I found just as mesmerizing as the fact that he always has his guard up. Anna regards Trev as her closest friend, and he's a source of comfort to her when she doubts herself. Cas is playful and bursting with energy, and also breaks tense moments with comic relief. Nick may be pessimistic and begrudgingly accepts Anna's presence, but he's very loyal to his friends.
If I had to be on the run from a secret, dangerous organization, then there's no better company than four smoldering hot boys such as Sam, Nick, Cas and Trev who I would want around to protect me. Anna was fortunate to have them watching her back! There's an important reason why her father insisted that Sam hide Anna away from the Branch, and I was driven mad with curiosity to learn the answer. Everything Anna believes in will be shaken as the truth is revealed and shocking betrayals are discovered.
I really didn't want the book to end and even attempted to read it more slowly so I could prolong turning to the last page. Oh, who am I kidding? I totally rushed through Altered because it was too addicting to put down! I absolutely cannot wait to read the sequel. Jennifer Rush's Altered will no doubt remain among my best reads of 2013 by the end of the year.
Thanks so much to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing this review copy! You can learn more about Jennifer Rush's Altered on Hachette's website, and if you're not already doing so, don't forget to follow HBG Canada on Twitter and "like" their Facebook page!