Published January 1st, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
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 has 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. (Goodreads)
I really had no idea what to expect with Altered by Jennifer Rush. For starters, I received this book in a review subscription box and had never even heard of the book. Secondly, this is Jennifer Rush’s debut novel. From the synopsis I expected a bit of sci-fi and a bit of romance. It didn’t have as much romance as I was anticipating but it definitely had a sci-fi twist. Something else I wasn’t expecting was finding out that this is not a standalone. It is in fact the first book in a series or trilogy I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I really enjoyed this story and I would like to see what happens next so I added the 2nd and 3rd books to my wish list as one does.
Altered follows Anna who is on the run with four boys who were for the last 5 years living in her basement. Anna’s father works for the Branch which seems to genetically alter people for some unknown reason. Over the years Anna and her father work to monitor and treat these four guys locked in the basement of their farmhouse. Over time Anna had developed a sort of friendship with at least 3 of them, but the majority of the story takes place after they break out of their cells and are on the run. Surprisingly Anna’s father encourages Anna to go with the boys and to never return to the farmhouse. So this story is spent trying to figure out what is going on, how and why the boys were altered and so forth. Another added element is the boys do not seem to remember anything prior to being locked in Anna’s basement.
I am really shocked I haven’t heard more about this book because it kind of blew me away. Anna was out of her element as you can imagine but the guys were so great. They had distinctive personalities and those really worked well with each other. Since they were on the run and they were trying to figure out clues it kept things interesting and fast paced. I think if you’re sick of series this can act as a standalone which speaks to the strength of this book. I rated Altered 5 stars.