I am fairly certain that I have mentioned how much I loath and detest waiting for things! I buy a new article of clothing, I have to wear it as soon as possible. I buy a gift, I can hardly contain myself until the person opens it. Well, imagine my chagrin when I reach the end of book one of a trilogy/series and have to WAIT NEARLY A YEAR for book two! I can’t even tell you…….Anyway, the book in my cross-hairs right now is Altered by Jennifer Rush. Those of you who know me particularly well will understand why I picked up the book to begin with (see cover). I wasn’t expecting much…sometimes the cover is the best part of the book. This time, though, the cover was just the beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed the read!
Anna is an ordinary girl living with her father in an idyllic farm house…where there’s a basement laboratory holding 4 ridiculously handsome boys. Okay so “ordinary” doesn’t really describe her life in the least. Her mom died when she was a baby and all she has of her is a picture and her journal/cookbook. Each day she goes down into the basement lab to help her father study and monitor the boys’ progress. It’s her job to take their blood and analyze it, recording any changes or anomalies. It’s not so bad, really. Cas is goofy and tells great jokes. Trev is her confidant and who knows her secret feelings for Sam, the alpha male and most gorgeous boy she’s ever met. The only fly in the ointment is Nick, who, for no reason she can figure, hates the very sight of her. None of the boys remember anything before they woke up in the lab five years earlier, which is strange and piques Anna’s curiosity enough to break into her father’s study to read their files. She only gets as far as Sam’s when men from The Branch come to take the boys away. The Branch is a mysterious organization for whom her father works and who “own” the boys. They use the opportunity to escape but are surprised when Anna’s father wants them to take her with them. As they make their way, putting as much distance between them and their captors as possible, the boys and Anna try to piece together what little information they have and deal with the flashes of memory Sam begins to have. They quickly realize that, if they are going to survive, they will have to find out who they used to be and why they were chosen.
This isn’t quite a dystopian story because the whole world has not catastrophically altered but there are certainly some elements of dystopia in the story. It’s a rather clever take on the age-old genetic mutation theme. The characters are well-formed and believable, though there are moments when you have to do a mental double-take. Anna’s role in the story ends up being pretty interesting and somewhat unexpected. Fans of sci-fi will definitely enjoy this!