Author: Mark H. Kruger
Book #: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: August 27th 2013
Date Read: September 21st 2013
Rating: ★★★½ / out of 5
"It's the only way."
"To find out what's really going on in this town."
After years of traveling the globe with her mother, never staying in one country for more than a few months, Nica is forced into the once situation she never saw coming: Moving in with her father for the next two years in the small, quiet town of Barrington, Colorado.
But, though the town claims to be the safest in the state, strange things are definitely going on there. When Nica and three of her new friends start experiencing.. changes to their bodies, powers that any normal person should never possess, they begin to uncover the dirty secrets of Bar Tech., the company that "looks over" the town, as well as what they have in mind for the teens.
This book screams science-nerd: The biohazard symbol on the cover, talk of "green-lights" and exposure to radiation. I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, because of the characters, I did not.
Nica has a different voice than those of other YA protagonists I'v read about. Most of them yearn for a life adventure, but are stuck in their small town. For Nica, it's the opposite. She has explored the entire world only to know have to now move to the very quiet, safe little town of Barrington.
I started off liking her, as well as most of the other characters, but as the story progressed I began liking them less. It came to the point where I was no longer interested in any of them personally. They are all just the perfect mixture of pretty and troubled, and your average stereotypical teens. Nothing overly extraordinary about Nica that would make her personality any more tolerable.
I actually lost all respect for her at one point, when she sneaked into Jackson's room and spy on him in the shower, using her power of invisibility.
I knew I should just leave the house immediately, but I couldn't help but sneak a peak at Jackson's naked body. I was an awful person, I know. A peeping Tom. But I was only sixteen and wildly curious. I told myself that I'd just take a quickpeek and then leave. Jackson would never know I was there.Um, how about no?
If the story wasn't interesting, the characters alone would have made me DNF this book. However, to me, the story was the redeeming point for one reason:
I love radiation.
(None of this is what you see in this book, mind you. Cred to Bethesda!)
The story of this book focuses on the biological effects of radiation on these teenagers, who were all exposed to some strange form of it when they were still in the womb and are now being exposed to something similar today. Because of this exposure, they start developing powers. Now, I am taking a Biotechnology class and I am pretty sure that developing powers (no matter how it's done) is impossible after birth. I think that, in order to get any sort of power, it needs to be done with a developing fetus.
Regardless of the credibility, the author provides lots of information, including mention of the the human genome project, supposed effects of the radiation, where the radiation originated from, and such. We also see mention of the CDC and other top secret government agencies, as well as possible government / business conspiracies.
"Our bodies are powered by bioelectric impulses to the brain. The effects of EMR on humans depend both upon the radiation's power and frequency."
"If you must know, I'm conducting a genomic cluster study. Not all the nucleotides within the human genome are parts of our genes. In fact, parts of our DNA don't serve any obvious purpose."
(Hell yeah I do!)
This was what really made me become attached to this book: The story itself, not the characters. I really hope there is a sequel (and there should be because of that ending...) as I cannot wait to see what more we learn about this company, the radiation, and the powers these teens are developing.
Overall, I would really only highly recommend this book to fans of science. I also am not sure if I would recommend this to avid readers, as I know there might be shared complaints about the characters. This is a read where the characters should not be taken seriously, but the story should.
Then she turned to me and proclaimed, "Let's get the hell out of here."
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