If you like a quick science fiction book that is loaded up to the brim with action, then this is a great book to pick up. It’s incredibly fast-paced and has a story line that will practically blow you away.
Imagine a society in which the gene that has been linked to violence can be identified, and the individuals who have that gene (and thus, a chance to be violent), can be labeled, monitored, and isolated if need be. Sounds like it could be a brilliant solution to the violence problem that our world faces, right?
Now imagine seventeen year old boys and girls who have been found to have the gene through blood tests (mostly boys, since the gene is usually only found in them) being pulled away from their families and forced to spend weeks in facilities, undergoing examinations and tests that attempt to drive them to violence, just to prove the scientists and government officials who have developed the system to be correct. Some of the tests include flashing lights and blaring alarms multiple times during the night, to cause sleep deprivation. Other tests include pairing mild-mannered individuals with others who will torment and bully them, just to see if they will crack and become violent.
This is what Lucas Marshall is dealing with when the book begins. He cannot sleep because of their “tests,” and since he is essentially locked inside a prison cell with another guy, his roommate, Chris, he feels like he is losing his mind. The cameras on the wall are monitoring him, waiting for him to crack and become violent, but he does the best he can. He is determined to get out of the facility and return to a normal life, even though nothing normal will await him once he gets out, since he will be labeled as having the gene that could result in violent behavior.
When he and Chris, along with the other boys in his wing, learn they will be leaving and going to the “reintegration facility” early, they don’t question it – they just go along with the plans. However, power outages, winter road conditions, and a crash with another van full of boys coming into the facility, starts off a chain reaction that could lead to their escape.
When they meet a young girl, the sister of Lucas’s brother’s girlfriend, things change. Lucas’s brother was at the facility as well, and when he came home, he was shattered. He eventually committed suicide, leaving behind a broken family and a girlfriend too devastated to to go on without him. Now this girl’s brother, Cam, is in the facility, too, and she wants to get him out. Working with a group of people who want to break them out and prove that their science behind their entire experiment is flawed, they race against time (as well as angry and potentially violent teenage boys who want revenge) in order to rescue her brother and give the counselor a flash drive that contains vital information that could shut down the entire project.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great science fiction thriller, and one that I finished in a pretty short amount of time. I didn’t want to put it down, because I wanted to see what was going to happen.
After reading Sweet Madness by the same two authors (you can check out my review for that one here), I knew that I wanted to pick this up as soon as I could. I was lucky enough to get a review copy, and I wasted no time jumping in.
While I didn’t love this book as much as Sweet Madness, it was definitely a great read. The characters were a bit harder to connect to, and the book was so incredibly fast paced that sometimes I wondered what it would be like if the book was longer (and I wished it was!), and more attention could have been paid to the lives of the other people in the facility. It isn’t something that ruined the book for me, though. The entire premise of the novel just felt so real, like I could actually picture these kinds of events taking place in the future, and that kind of spooked me a bit. Sometimes technology and science go a little bit too far, and this is the kind of book that illustrates that point.
If you like science fiction and thrillers, this is a good one to check out. Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie definitely have a flair for writing unique YA novels…novels that make you think while reading…and after all, aren’t those the best kinds?
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.