Altered (Altered, #1) by Jennifer Rush
Published: January 1, 2013 by Little, Brown Books
Received: egalley for review from publisher
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. [goodreads]
This is the type of story you need to set aside time to read cover to cover. I was on the edge of my seat, feeling anxious and nervous of what was to come next, not being able to stop reading even if it was the end of a chapter. If you're a fan of suspense and mystery mixed in with sci-fi elements, and a slow churning romance; then this book comes highly recommended.
What grabbed me first was how quickly the story jump starts. Even though there was a lot of information given in the beginning, it laid the framework nicely and I never felt lost. If anything, it left me feeling more intrigued and wondering where things could go. Anna has been living in a farmhouse with her dad in rural New York, tending to the four boys who have lived in their basement for the past five years. The concept sounds extremely weird, but it's the most normal thing Anna knows because she understands her father works for The Branch, and together they've been administering the lives of these boys as they undergo different tests and treatments for a plan that's for the greater good.
Anna has developed relationships with these boys, even if it's been behind a glass wall, causing them to become constant fixtures in her life. It comes to no surprise that when things don't go as planned, Anna is quick to stick with these boys and ends up finding herself on a new path, attempting to uncover the lies she's been fed in search of answers for herself and everyone she's ever loved.
The entire story is laid out clue after clue and you find yourself trying to solve the mysteries right along side Anna, Sam, Nick, Cas, and Trev. It's a race against time, and with them constantly having to watch their backs, I found myself unable to put the book down until I knew they were safe, with light seeping through to reveal the truth. But that's the beauty of first books in a series -- you never get all the answers you're looking for, only more questions that leave you wanting more!
This book took me by surprise because I was not expecting such an intense reaction. I love when a story is that entertaining that I can't step away from it.