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Altered by Jennifer Rush

So first off, let me start by saying that I liked this book, a lot. But I also had some issues with it.

The basic summary is that a girl named Anna, who is a teenager, works  in a lab with her dad, in which four boys are being experimented on. One day, she and the boys escape the lab, and are being hunted by the people who own the lab. They then go on a journey to get away from these people hunting them, and she finds out that she’s connected to the boys by more than just the lab. There’s also a subplot romance between her and one of the boys, Sam, and their connection as well.

You can probably see my issue with this book, but I’ll tell you anyways: the boys are being experimented on. And I know it sounds like she helps them escape, but she really doesn’t. For a long time she contemplates doing so, or so she says in her narrative, but she never actually does. Instead, she just kind of pushes the fact that they are EXPERIMENTING on people out of her head and ignores it. And that just really bothered me, and made me really angry at Anna, who just kind of goes along with all the “research” that they are conducting on the boys.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed it. The love subplot actually made me really happy because although he was imprisoned under her house for almost all her life, and she was practically helping in the experimentations (which still bothers me, and is just really not okay), they are kind of perfect together, which, I guess was the point. I also liked her relationship with all the guys in general, and how they didn’t need to be romantic to make it a good story. I liked that she could just be friends with them without having an awful love triangle (actually, it would have been more like an angle), and they still got along happily. And none of them were dying to get together with her (well, except for maybe Sam). And I genuinely liked the other characters. Except for the villains. I found the villains disappointing. They weren’t cunning, or brilliant, or even particularly well-rounded. They were just…mean. (I mean, it’s a little unfair to judge the villains of this book at the moment, because I’m also reading Peter and the Starcatcher at the same time, and Black Stache is absolutely brilliant. Great book, by the way.). And obviously, they were evil; but I like a little more substance to my villains. Like maybe they have a funny side, or maybe they’re a romantic, or have some kind of interesting social life, or maybe even something to make them more despicable. The villains in this book were simply evil. They weren’t funny, or crazy, or even really enjoyable characters. They were just….flat. And while I enjoyed the simplicity in that, I also didn’t like it. Like I said, I like my villains with a little more something special. Not a character who is simple and just plain evil. That’s just boring.

There are two last things I must say about this book: I loved the fact that the main plot was  a little unpredictable; there were definitely parts where I was pleasantly surprised. There were also parts where I thought, duh, of course that was going to happen, and those were disappointing. But I liked the parts where I was actually surprised, even if it was just a little. I also really liked Cas and Nick. They are such lovable characters; Nick is abrasive, and moody, and generally just harsh, but I liked that he wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine and had a little more depth to him. At the same time, he wasn’t annoyingly dark. I also liked Cas, because you could count on him, no matter what happens in the novel, to never change. Cas was just fantastic. He was funny, a total flirt, and genuinely sweet. He constantly flirts with Anna, but not in a way that says I’m pining for you, but more in the I-do-this-with-all-my-friends kind of way.

I would not recommend this book to children, or anyone under the age of not able to read Hunger Games. If you’ve read Hunger Games, your probably okay to read this. You won’t like it as much, since it’s nothing compared to Hunger Games, but its decent. I’m just using the Hunger Games as an age limit, because, honestly, I cannot think of an age at which this would be appropriate. There’s definitely a little blood and gore, and there’s the romance, the flirting (mention of sex I think, but don’t quote me on that), and mention of drugs, but it wasn’t over the top. There may have been curse words (again, don’t quote me on that), but I’m really not sure.

All in all, I liked this book. I had some issues with it, but I liked it. I wasn’t overly impressed by it, but I liked it. Let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite book ever, but it was enjoyable. Again, though: not impressed, but enjoyable.

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