Altered (Altered #1)

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Altered (Altered #1)
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
January 02, 2013
ISBN
9780316197083
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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’s 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.

Editor reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.8
Plot 
 
3.7  (3)
Characters 
 
3.7  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (3)
Action Packed to the Brim
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jennifer Rush has written a thrilling debut with a perfect blend of sci-fi and mystery. It was different from what I was expecting in a way that just worked.

Altered was such a great read. The plot is absolutely addicting and is completely action pact! It is great from the start, and only gets better with each chapter. By the last quarter of the book, I was on the edge of my seat absolutely enthralled. Altered has layers and layers with its story. You keep thinking you've gotten everything there is to get and Jennifer Rush throws another layer at you, delving even deeper. There are also SO many twists. It was just SO GOOD!

Some of the characters were a bit bland for my liking at first, but by the end of the book they all really rounded out. The boys particularly all really grew on me. I think Cas was my favorite- what a sweetheart! So much of Altered was a bit like a puzzle, trying to fill in the blanks, and I loved seeing the boys and Anna work together to try to solve it. There is so much more I am so excited to read about in

There were a few aspects that forced me to suspend reality beyond a point I found that worked. Some of the particulars of the world did not seem to fit perfectly together, which left me a bit confused at time. I was also left with a lot of questions. I wanted more answers, particularly in regard to the sci-fi aspect of Altered. Jennifer Rush crafted this really enticing neat idea, but at times, I couldn't grasp the entirety of it since everything wasn't quite fleshed out.

Altered by Jennifer Rush was a wonderful book. It was not without its flaws, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. After the intense ending Jennifer Rush leaves readers with, the wait for the next book will be intense indeed! I cannot wait to read more from this rising star in YA!
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Action, Suspense and Swoon.
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Thank you to the awesome Jenn Rush for loaning me a copy of her fantastic debut! Altered is a book that has been on my radar for a few months and I'm sooo excited to have been able to read an ARC of it! The original cover is what piqued my curiosity - hot guy, interesting synopsis but like the boys themselves, it too has been altered and now looks even cooler with the tree which is a vital part of the story. (pun completely intended)

Altered is a well written story that can be enjoyed by a variety of readers. Action, suspense, romantical tension and plot twists keep you engaged and on edge. The Sci-Fi elements are entertaining and not the least bit overwhelming. As a non-Sciency person, a book that makes me think too hard or causes my brain to hurt is one I will zone out of in about five minutes.

These characters are interesting and I found Anna, the MC, to be a good mix of innocence and strength. We get watch her go from a naive girl who has no clue of what's really happening with the boys to a bad-ars young woman who faces challenges head on and stops at nothing to protect the ones she cares about. *fist bumps her* All four of the guys, yes, four, are physically appealing (code for "hot"), but also posses qualities that make them unique and completely "crushworthy".

Sam is tall, dark and broodish, managing to hide both his secrets and his pain pretty well. He's the one Anna feels most connected too and is convinced she's in love with. Their relationship is complicated from the start and thankfully doesn't fall into the, "Instantaneous love affair at the first chance of freedom." trap. Even though they spent almost every day together for years, and there's a definite attraction, the issues that arise while they're hiding from The Branch will leave Anna wondering if Sam is the "Sam" she thinks she knows (and loves) at all.

The other guys, Trev and Nick are a yummilicious blend of brains, brawn and bravado but my favorite is Cas. *sighs* He's full of snark and fun and his obsession with food resembles a hilarious misguided love affair. He's hardly ever still and seems a bit scatter-brained but when he's needed, he's all focus and brute force. Unless, he's hungry. Then you're on your own. JK! (I wonder if Jenn would let me borrow Cas too? You know, as long as I promise to return him without any jelly doughnut stains.)

This really was a fun read (even if my heart ached for these characters at times) and it ended in a way that was satisfying but also left me eager for the next book! I'm a visual person and being able to "see" the story's setting and/or characters through the author's eyes takes the reading experience to a whole new level. Jenn has an Altered pinterest page where she's pinned pictures of what the boys look like (Anna too). Just try not to drool all over your screen, I hear it's not good for it. ;)
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If You Like Reading About Pretty Boys
(Updated: October 09, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Despite the slightly more boy-friendly cover (maybe? I'm guessing. It seems like it holds more boy appeal than some, but I'm not sure about the shirtless guy), Altered is definitely what we generally quantify as a girl book. The main subject of the book, it's driving force, is romance, with all of the science-fiction-y aspects coming second. If you're in the mood for a really hardcore dystopian novel, this is not the one I would recommend.

We'll start with the things that I liked. The best part was Rush's writing style. Her writing is neither overly ornate nor laughably simple. I thought it worked with the story and the intelligence/education level of the heroine, Anna, from whose perspective we see. The only downside, which I'll extrapolate on later, was the tendency towards hackneyed phrases when it came to romance.

The science stuff was definitely cool. Though much of why this is happening and precisely who is responsible for it remains unanswered, Rush has not left her readers completely in the dark like some dystopian authors like to do. I hope to learn more about the processes and any special skills the boys have in the next book. I've always been a sucker for stories about people with special powers, whether mutated or scientifically-given, so this was right up my alley. So far, the book is not especially dystopian, although I think it does qualify, since the government does know of and fund the Program. Still, it's definitely not the best example of one.

There were, however, quite a few things I did not like. First off, there's the characterization. I hardly feel any connection to any of these characters, even Anna. Since I'm looking a the world through Anna's eyes, I ought to care whether she gets Sam, the boy she's been obsessed with for years...but I don't. Other than the fact that she likes to draw and drools over Sam, I know very little about her. She's sometimes sarcastic, but otherwise she's mostly just naive and kind of boring. The boys are a bit more interesting, with Sam being the one I have the least interest in. Actually, the character I liked best was definitely Nick, who I think was supposed to be the one that I didn't like.

It will likely not come as a surprise to find that I did not ship Sam and Anna, since I wasn't invested in either one individually. The biggest problem I had with them as a ship was that there didn't seem to be any reason for them to be into one another, aside from the whole physical attraction thing. Sam seems so much cleverer than Anna, and they really don't seem to share any interests aside from living. There was never anything to explain why she crushed on him so hard or any conversations between the two about something normal to show a real connection, a possible basis for a relationship not driven by heightened we-could-die-at-any-moment emotions. As far as I can tell, their feelings are manufactured solely by the conditions in which they find themselves.

Perhaps the biggest reason that I couldn't handle them, though, was how obnoxious Anna was whenever she thought about him. She indulged in the kinds of phrases YA heroines love to bandy about that always make me want to punch everything. Here are a couple (though they're from the ARC and could be changed pre-publication):
"If I had known the night before would be our final night together, I would have spent more time with him.
I would have told him how much he meant to me, that not a second went by when I didn't think about him."
Let's analyze this, shall we? It should be noted that this is early on in the book and Sam has expressed zero interest in her romantically at this point. Her phrasing implies a stronger connection than they had (they played chess together at night, which he always won). What really irritates me is the second half where she says that 'not a second went by' without thoughts of him. Really?! How does she manage to function? Well, she kind of doesn't. She really doze zone out a lot while thinking of him, but, still, think about the implications. When she's taking a dump, she thinks of Sam. All of her dreams? About Sam. NO.
"I fought for air but came up short, like I was drowning, like the panic had filled my mouth, my nose. I gulped. Sam tipped my head back and air trickled into my lungs. This was not happening. Those men were not dead. And Dad was not shot. And I was not so close to Sam that I could feel his breath on my face."
This quote is worse, as the first can be dismissed as merely a poetic flight of fancy, exaggeration used to show the scale of her love (obsession). This one, though, not so much. Let me add some context: Sam has just shoved her against a rough brick wall, only to stop her from punching him but still. Her first reaction is panic. Okay, good so far. Then disbelief at all the crazy shit that went down (many men were killed so the boys could escape). Realistic response. Her final reaction? Squeeing over how close she is to Sam. *headdesk* This guy just killed a bunch of people, shot your father, and shoved you into a wall and you're STILL distracted by how sexy he is. Oh, HECK NO.

That all sounds quite harsh, I know, but Altered was a fun, if mindless read. I definitely intend to continue with the story and hope that, since Rush's writing is good, that she will develop further with her characters. Personally, I would love to see a wrench thrown into the story...like Anna starting to like Nick instead? That would be awesome. My opinion: fun book with sexy boys and action scenes but with some major issues.
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User reviews

6 reviews

 
(3)
 
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3 stars
 
(0)
 
(1)
1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Plot 
 
4.2  (6)
Characters 
 
4.3  (6)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (6)
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Suspenseful and Unique
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Anna lives with her father and four boys. The four boys, Cas, Trev, Sam, and Nick, all reside in their own individual cells in the basement of Anna's house, as a part of The Branch.

Anna knows there's something different about them, but she doesn't know the details. They're potentially dangerous; after all, she isn't even allowed in their cells unless they have been exposed to a sleeping gas. Sometimes at night, she sneaks down to see them, especially Sam, with whom she has a special yet mysterious connection.

When Connor and Riley, Branch officials, arrive with the intention of taking the boys away, Anna fights back and she and the four boys flee. Together they journey from place to place, following cryptic clues and piecing the truth together.

What is The Branch? Why have they kept the boys locked away for so long? What has The Branch done to them?

What has The Branch done to Anna?

I bought this book on impulse. It was on sale in the kobo store and I was in a book-buying mood.

I'm so glad I bought it.

I loved the writing style! The author described things in intricate detail and the relationships between the characters evolved significantly throughout the book. I found myself stepping into Anna's shoes every time I resumed reading, and I absolutely understood every single one of her decisions as if they were my own.

Each of the boys were unique and I often found myself appreciating the fact that they weren't the cliché boys you find in YA books all too often. They weren't perfect, they weren't strictly good or bad, and they each had their own personalities. They weren't "copies" of each other or other YA characters, they were original and that made this book very interesting.

I also found the plot of this novel incredibly original and intriguing. The mystery of the characters' situations, identities and futures were explored thoroughly, I was constantly forming my own theories on their life stories and circumstances. While I'm a big fan of paranormal stories, this sci-fi mystery was a pleasant surprise and a breath of fresh air. It had me wondering if I should pursue more sci-fi novels in the future.

Another thing I appreciated was the lack of love triangles. Love triangles can be engaging and emotional, but sometimes they can become cliché, and the idea of romance, ruined. While there was definitely some tension between Anna and the boys, there was no real love triangle. There was romance for sure, but it was balanced and didn't overpower the other aspects of the story.

A very enjoyable read! I am looking forward to getting hold of the sequel.

I recommend this book to readers of YA, sci-fi and mysteries, and to those tired of love triangles. If you want an intriguing mystery with a hint of romance and amazing characters, this book is for you.



This review can also be found at http://fortheloveofbooksreviews.blogspot.ca/2015/05/altered-by-jennifer-rush.html
Good Points
Included romance, but not cliche.
Suspenseful.
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Mmm, I Like This. Yes.
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
In Anna's basement, there's a secret lab where four very handsome, very dangerous young men are kept as an experiment. When they eventually escape, Anna ends up having to go along with them. As she becomes closer to their leader, Sam, Anna realizes that she might not just be the normal young girl she thought she was. If you're looking for a super quick read with a good deal of action, superhuman type guys and a bit of mystery, this book might be right up your alley. If you're looking for something deep and intricate, you'll probably want to look elsewhere. The writing style is quick and decent, and the plot is interesting, if not particularly complicated or twisty. But hey, I didn't really pick this book up for its twisty-ness; I wanted something that was basically Bourne Identity series for the YA crowd, and I think Altered did a good job of fitting that desire.

PS- Nick. I flippin' love Nick. I loved him since we first met him in the lab, continued to love him even when he was rude to Anna (because, seriously, he had valid reasons) and I loved him all the way to the end of the book. If he wasn't so prickly, I'd hug him; the man is sexy and dangerous, muscular, genetically enhanced and a giant among giants. I was more intrigued by him than by Sam, Trev or Cas (though I love them all, too...yes, all of them). So, yes, Nick is my favorite.
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not what I expected
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot 
 
2.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
Ehhh…what to say about this book? First of all, it reminds me of Elemental series which I didn’t like. It was a little bit better, but still not good enough.

I wanted to start this year with a paranormal novel since I haven’t read one in ages. They usually end up disappointing me. There aren’t many PRN novels I enjoy. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up and a lot of tricks authors use don’t work on me any more.

As the blurb tells you, Anna runs with ‘altered’ boys after they escape from secret agents. She has a crush on Sam who is a leader of the group. Other boys are Nick, Cas and Trav. Nick is as I put it like a grumpy old grandpa; Cas who is offering a comic relief and is always hungry and Trav, Anna’s best friend who has a photographic memory.

There aren’t many boring parts of the book except the start but the story was way too predictable and had a lot of holes. I wasn’t fond of the number of killings in it. Way too many people died like it was no big deal. The mole was so obvious and I knew who would get shot from the start.

Romance was not believable and I didn’t see why should Anna and Sam be together. Sure he was tough and very protective towards his friends. But all in all, nothing new.

What I did like about this book were the characters- Nick and Cas and that amazing cover. Cas was a goofball and Nick was there sort of like my representative. He would say the things I felt. The cover was eye catching and the tattoo on Sam’s back has a lot to do with the storyline, though when I found out what it represented I thought it was a little bit too much.
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Altered by Jennifer Rush
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book was nothing like I expected. Of course the premise drew me in, but the events that were going on throughout the book had me on EDGE. And obviously by the cover, there were so many hot literary guys, so that was definitely a plus too lol
Sam, Cas, Trev, and Nick have been in Anna's basement since she could remember as part of a genetic altering experiment run by her dad's job. Suddenly her dad's boss decides its time to remove the boys from their spaces in their home. The boys use this time to escape and take Anna with them. During their time on the run, Anna finds out more about Sam and how they are more connected than she thought.
From the premise alone I was so excited to read this. And the hot guy on the cover... Um yes please. When I was finally able to crack it open though, I didn't want to close it again. It was everything that I wasn't expecting. There was fighting, guns and shooting, and a huge mystery. Everything that makes an amazing book! I was on edge with all the nonstop action and got upset when I had to do real life things like work or cook!
As for the characters. I love how each had their own voice. Especially the boys, since they had been held captive for so long.I was able to connect with every character and their emotion instead of just one or two. This is a difficult feat since this is a single person POV.
In Altered, Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling, action packed story of survival that will leave you stunned and on the edge of your seat.
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The Bourne Identity for YA!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Altered by Jennifer Rush
ARC received through trade
Published by: Little Brown BFYR
Release Date: On Shelves Now
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Action-packed and intriguing

Danger lurking around every corner, conspiracies threatening to push loyalties, and desire pulsing to be released—Altered is perfect! It’s The Bourne Identity for teens, only better—with a plot that puts a high speed chase to shame. Full of mystery and suspense, romance and intrigue, Altered is a MUST READ!!!

Before reading Altered, I was in a reading slump. The books I had read were good, but not great. You know, they weren’t the kind of books that you text your friends and family to read right away. But Jennifer Rush blew my bore streak right out of the water! Altered drew me in from Chapter 1, and the hits just kept coming from there! Page after page, I was drawn deeper into the secrets of her world; and by the end, I wanted to turn right back to page 1 and read it all over again!!!

The best thing about Jennifer’s debut novel was that every character had dimension. I felt like they each had a depth, and even though their secrets went deep and many were not revealed, I still felt like I knew each one. This was a huge feat, too, since there were so many characters that were in the spotlight. You have Anna and the 4 guys that she goes on the run with, and each of these 5 characters is a main character in their own way. I was thrilled that Jennifer was able to bring such life to so many without it taking away from the story or confusing me amongst them.

My favorite character was one that many readers will dislike—Nick. He is angry and brooding, and he makes it no secret that he dislikes Anna. Yet, there is something so vulnerable and truthful about him that I just couldn’t help but open my heart to him. I liked his in your face attitude and his rebel without a cause actions. It was sexy and provided great conflict amongst the five as they were running for their lives.

Anna and Sam are technically your two main characters, even though the other 3 boys take much of the spotlight. I really enjoyed the romantic tension between these two characters, and I found myself rooting for them to get over their secrets and fears and just get together! Anna was intelligent and strong-willed, and she definitely held her own against the four superhero-like guys. On many an occasion, I thought she was going to shove her fist in Nick’s face! I liked her bite-me attitude, and she definitely made me run the gamut of emotions. And Sam…you can just tell he is constantly thinking of everyone else before him. Now, normally a guy that is too sweet just rubs me the wrong way, but Sam had his superhero alter-ego, so that evened him out and made him extremely sexy!!!

Altered fills the gap in the much needed YA genre of romantic suspense. It felt like I was reading some of my favorite adult romance suspense authors (Lori Foster, Maya Banks, etc.), only with teenagers. I loved it! There just aren’t many YA books out there (I would even venture to say there aren’t any!) that are like Jennifer’s novel. Rough and seductive—where around every corner lurks a secret and an assassin. It was perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing!
I HIGHLY recommend this to all fans of YA and even Adult romance. There isn’t any sex or naughty content, either, so it’s safe for all teenagers. Yet, I even think fans of adult romance will enjoy this book!

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Altered by Jennifer Rush
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book was nothing like I expected. Of course the premise drew me in, but the events that were going on throughout the book had me on EDGE. And obviously by the cover, there were so many hot literary guys, so that was definitely a plus too lol
Sam, Cas, Trev, and Nick have been in Anna's basement since she could remember as part of a genetic altering experiment run by her dad's job. Suddenly her dad's boss decides its time to remove the boys from their spaces in their home. The boys use this time to escape and take Anna with them. During their time on the run, Anna finds out more about Sam and how they are more connected than she thought.
From the premise alone I was so excited to read this. And the hot guy on the cover... Um yes please. When I was finally able to crack it open though, I didn't want to close it again. It was everything that I wasn't expecting. There was fighting, guns and shooting, and a huge mystery. Everything that makes an amazing book! I was on edge with all the nonstop action and got upset when I had to do real life things like work or cook!
As for the characters. I love how each had their own voice. Especially the boys, since they had been held captive for so long.I was able to connect with every character and their emotion instead of just one or two. This is a difficult feat since this is a single person POV.
In Altered, Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling, action packed story of survival that will leave you stunned and on the edge of your seat.
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