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Altered by Jennifer Rush

For as long as she’s remembered, Anna has led a life full of secrets: both her own and those of others. In a secret lab in the basement of their home, Anna’s father runs experiments on four genetically altered boys, and Anna has been sneaking in to visit them long before she was allowed to even enter the lab. But now that she’s helping her dad out there, Anna has gotten to know the boys a lot better: moody Nick, teasing Cas, thoughtful Trev, and especially enigmatic Sam. She’s come to care a lot for them, which is why she’s so upset when she learns that the Branch, the mysterious organization that her dad works for, is coming to retrieve their property. But when the Branch does show up, things go drastically wrong: people are killed and the boys escape, taking Anna with them at her father’s request. But they can’t run forever, because what they need more than safety is answers. What happened before the boys were brought to the lab? And how is Anna really connected to them?

There isn’t any one reason for why I picked up this book; sure, I’d heard a few positive things from other readers I trusted and sure, the plot sounded interesting. But I was never truly excited to read this story—until I did. Altered really does have a lot going for it, from four superhot, genetically altered boys to a strong but imperfect heroine and memory manipulation to an extra-governmental conspiracy. While I certainly found the characters complex and interesting, what really made this book impossible to put down was the incredible plot; I was enthralled with the action, the danger, and the gradual trickle of shocking secrets about the pasts of the boys and Anna. With excitement, romance, identity crises, the wonders of science, and a whole lot of suspense, Altered is a story that is sure to satisfy, if not completely wow, any eager reader.

Altered will be enjoyed by fans of False Memory by Dan Krokos and Adaptation by Malinda Lo.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from ALA

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