They were made to forget. But they’ll never forgive.

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, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who’s stolen Anna’s heart.

When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna’s father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs.

On the run, with her father’s warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She 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.

The Phoenix’s Perspective

I have to admit I was originally drawn to this book because of its cover.  The image is interesting and confusing all at the same time.  The branches come across the cover like a tattoo across his back and the broken letters seemed to pull me in with a physical appearance of being Altered.

THE LIKES: The first four chapters are setup – the interesting thing about the setup is that you never really get any background information.  You’re set up in the present just so you know your surroundings and main characters.  Then chapter 4 end and chapter 5 brings in a wave of action that is almost never ending.  The action is broken into sets by moments of intense puzzle solving while the main characters attempt to figure out what is happening and why they don’t remember anything before the last five years.

Having so many main characters, it was nice to see them each fulfill a specific role.  It made it easier to understand each of their roles throughout the story and to never have trouble picking out who was speaking. Forgive the 90’s reference (telling of my age), but it was very reminiscent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — one very strong team made of four distinct personalities (the leader, the smarts, the angry one and the goofball).

THE DISLIKES: Due to some great writing, you start to feel connected to the characters.  You feel their pain their longing, their sense of betrayal.  You really want to help them find all the lives they have lost.  Yet, everywhere we turn, it is “classified.”  Classified – I hated the word every time Rush used it, but at the same time I was intrigued by it.  It meant there was something really juicy locked up somewhere that someone hoped we would never know.  It also meant there would be another book to give us time to de-“classify” everything.

OVERALL: It was an awesome read that pulls the reader in quickly and won’t let go — it took me only 4.5 hours to read through it.

Would I add it to the library?

It was one of the times I was very happy that I let the cover picture make my choice for me. I cannot wait for book two and think Rush should be really proud of her debut novel.


Genre: Fiction – runaways, sci-fi, genetic engineering
ISBN: 9780316197090
Rating:  good

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