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.
When I first started reading Altered by Jennifer Rush, I hated it. To be more exact, I hated the main character, Anna. There was nothing about her that made her a good character. I mean, come on! She helped kidnap and contain four boys for YEARS! How does that make her a good character? And WHY would one of the boys want to be with her after she did that to them? I didn’t understand it when I first started the book; I still don’t understand it. That plot line really took away from the book for me, as I never really warmed up to Anna or her dad’s character.
A large part of me really wanted to DNF Altered, because I was having such a hard time reading about Anna’s character. Surprisingly, though, I ended up loving the four main guys: Sam, Nick, Cas, and Trev. They were really strong characters with unique personalities that really added to the story. One thing that I would have liked to see is relationships with the three other boys, not just Sam. I know it’s not going to work out this way, but I really think that each boy deserves his own book like in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer. That would really add to the story and make me a loyal fan. However, I know the rest of the series is pretty much going to focus on Sam and Anna and there is just no way that I can get on board with that.
Approximately 3/4 of the way into the book, things really started to pick up. All of a sudden, I was interested in what was going on. That tiny section almost bumped it up to a 4 star, but it didn’t quite make the cut. I thought that most of the book was pretty boring with a low key plot, but that last part of the book was fast paced and entertaining.
I really liked the idea of the government doing human experiments to make the ultimate weapon. However, I wish that there had been a little more action and adventure. The book itself didn’t cover very much; not a lot really happened until the end. I also thought that it was a really short read compared to what it could have been. I’m hoping that the second book will have a lot more excitement that the first one did.
Overall, I liked Altered, but by no means did I love it. It’s not a book that I would ever buy and put on my bookshelf. I’ll read the second one eventually, but I just had a really hard time with Anna’s character. There are going to be a lot of fans of Altered, though, so I would recommend that YA lovers give this one a shot.
Publication Date: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: [rating: 3.5]