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“Altered” by Jennifer Rush - A thrilling ride filled with a twists and turns

The book cover for "Altered" by Jennifer Rush
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"Altered" by Jennifer Rush

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The book is told from 16 year-old Anna’s POV. Her father works for a government agency known as the Branch, testing out subjects to make them the perfect soldiers. They have 4 subjects in their hold: Nick, Cas, Trevor, and Sam.

Anna helps out her father with the tests, but she also helps the four boys bringing them stuff to do in their cells and talking with them. She’s grown attached to them, especially Sam, who seems to be the leader of the group.

When it comes time for the Branch to see them, Sam is able to escape with the other three boys. Anna goes with them with her father’s request to stay away from the Branch.

The 5 of them go on the run following little bread crumbs that Sam had left behind the last few times he had escaped. Sam uses these clues to try and remember what happened, but having a hard time doing that because he knows that his memory was wiped.

While on the run, Anna learns that some of the things that her father told her may not be true, especially the ones involving her mom’s death and her connection with the boys and the Branch.

As the story comes to a close, Anna learns about her past and her connections with Sam and the other three boys, but she’s afraid of the answers to the questions that she has and what it will take away from her.

This is new Young Adult series and it’s really interesting because of the idea of the story. The idea that the government is trying to create a super army. Obviously this would create a problem because eventually the tester will grow attached to their subjects, just like this happened in this story. Anna’s father grew attached to the boys and didn’t want them to get hurt.

Sam is the leader of the group and he’s the one that needs to do what’s right for the group. That proves hard because he has feelings for Anna and sometimes his feelings for Anna contradict what’s write for the other three boys.

Anna is pretty much the only female character in this story, so there’s a lot of pressure to have the right character for that so to appeal to both female and male audiences. Anna has always had feelings for Sam but doesn’t really know why he stands out. The lack of development in Anna’s character will actually help in the later books because as she uncovers the truth about her past, she will have to learn to deal with and determine what kind of person she is.

It would have been more helpful to have a little bit more of a beginning showing how much Anna and her father cared for the boys. Maybe a few pages talking about the time passing, like how they got there and how they started growing a relationship with one another. It would have helped with the development with Anna and Sam’s relationship. There was no development there, at least what was told in the book. Perhaps as the series goes on, we will get flashbacks or glimpses of those times together.

The climax of the story was filled with action and drama and offered some insight to what we can expect in the rest of the series. We learn about Anna’s connection to the boys and why she’s so important.

There were a lot of gaps in the story and a lot that we have to assume is plausible. It would have been helpful to maybe show a chapter or two of the passing time to see Anna connect with the boys more. That part went by too fast and it made it so we just had to assume they were close just because it was said.

Next in series: Forged (a prequel set before Altered) and Erased (book #2) - both are available

Format: Available for eBook, paperback
Series: book 1 of 3 of Altered series
Rated: 15+ language, graphic scenes
Genre: Young Adult
Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10859509-altered
Recommendations: The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken; The Fifth Wave trilogy by Rick Yancey