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.
If there's one thing I can say about Altered, it's that it's a joyride... A thrill... A test of the nerves... This book hits the ground running and it doesn't stop until the very end... and even then, there's still a battle to be fought.
Sam, Cas, Trev, and Nick find a way out of the lab, and when Anna gets caught in the crossfires, she is forced to go on the run with them, leaving everything she has ever known behind. She feels like this was all an accident, a grave mistake. Like she had a choice to get involved with the boy's dangerous undertaking for freedom. She questions herself about her decision, if she would have made a different one, but the lurking truth is, she's a part of them and they are a part of her.
The boys are a group of supercharged misfits. I just love them. Even Nick with his surly attitude and hatefulness towards Anna. Then there's Cas with his "innocent-but-mischievous way that only five-year-olds can pull off;" Anna's best friend, Trev, with his myriad of quotes from the books he loves to read; and then we have Sam ~ "The things that truly defined him were still a secret."
All these guys have their own personalities and distinct voices ~ it's impossible to get them mixed up. And Anna's in the middle of them all. She grows so much throughout this novel, beginning as a naive teenager just trying to finish high school at home, baking pumpkin cookies for the four boys locked up in her dad's lab, to this kick-ass, courageous female who can take care of herself and those she loves. She didn't suffer from damsel-in-distress syndrome like so many female characters tend to do. While the boys do feel the need to protect her, she soon proves that they need her just as much as she needs them. Anna takes quite a few massive hits, both physically and emotionally, and while she doesn't come out unscathed, she accepts the weighted truth and allows it to make her stronger.
Of course, there's hardly ever a good story that doesn't include a little romance. Maybe I shouldn't call it "romance," as that sounds a bit on the cheesy side for Anna and Sam, but there's no denying their feelings for each other go beyond friendship. "It wasn't just love. It was a million other things all woven together. Emotions I couldn't even name." What I loved about their relationship is that it wasn't head-over-heels from day one. There was no need to rush and force them to be together, and it felt real and believable and left you hoping.
This book just doesn't stop, and there's not a single dull moment that I can think of. Stolen identities. Secret experiments. Wiped memories. Hidden messages. And that constant motion of watching your back to make sure no one is following you. It's definitely a whiplash-worthy ride.
I highly recommend this book, guys. There's no way you'll be able to put it down once you get going.
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Happy Reading Everyone :)
~ Keely ~