Author: Shelley Workinger
Format: Trade Paperback ARC
How I read it: Trade Paperback ARC
Rating: 3.5 Crowns
Synopsis: Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him - except the living, breathing, human products of his work.
Almost two decades later, the newly self-proclaimed "open-book" military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes - its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as lighter-than-air 'athletes'; 'indies' as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.
While exploring her own special ability, forging new friendships and embarking on first love, Clio also stumbles onto information indicating that the military may not have been entirely forthcoming with them and that all may not be as it seems...
My Review: I was intrigued by the concept of this book from the moment I heard of it. In a YA market filled with vampires, werewolves, and fallen angels, a genetic experiment causing super-human abilities almost feels normal! Not only does it seem a little closer to reality, I feel like it brings an element of surprise and more danger to the table - sure, the teens who are victims of the experiment have some crazy abilities, but none of them are so much that they are ever safe from the danger surrounding them.
We meet our cast of characters at a super secret government facility, which is relatively normal aside from the fact that it's nestled deep in the woods of New Jersey. The government has done a decent job of making the kids feel like they're at home, and ultimately leads them into a false sense of security. All the while, the teens are realizing that what they thought were mere talents are actually the effects of the experimentation done while they were in utero. I can only imagine how exciting and frightening it would be, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes they could have been invisible at times in high school.
Despite their abilities, the teens are pretty normal - Clio and several others become friends pretty quickly, bonding primarily on their mutual connection of being military brats. I liked all the characters, and definitely enjoyed the relationship between Jack and Clio. One of my favorite things was that although some of the teens are misunderstood, they're all good kids and are just interested in getting to the bottom of the conspiracy. I, personally, am a little tired of the "oh I'm your friend, just kidding I'm evil" thing in YA novels, and love seeing a great group of friends bond together to figure things out.
This was a solid (no pun intended) story, and I'm definitely interested in reading the sequel Settling when I can get my hands on it. My only complaint was that the book was pretty short, so the story had to move quickly. It would have been great to see more background on the genetic experiment itself, or on the individual characters before they knew about their abilities.
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