Monday, January 27, 2014

YA Review: Erased (Jennifer Rush)

Erased (Altered, #2)
Title: Erased
Series: Altered, Book 2
Author: Jennifer Rush
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Rating: Older Teen (some strong language, sensuality, violence, violent attack)
Told: First Person Singular (Anna), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC
Find It On: Goodreads


They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.

After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she's learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam's rules: Don't draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.

Then a figure from Anna's childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth -- before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?

Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last page is turned.

Writing: Stark and action-packed. It read like a good television show: short and to the point, with not a word wasted - action scenes barely more than blow-by-blows. Overall, masterfully written - the story was easy to follow and visualize, and the book a very quick read.

Setting: As locations are throwaway to the characters, so are they to us - barely more than mere backdrops, with minimal description. But coupled with the stark writing style, it works perfectly.

Story: Still in hiding from the Branch, Anna and the boys try to find some semblance of normalcy while always looking over their shoulder, ready to bolt at the first glimpse of an agent. But when a family member of Anna's, thought to be long dead, suddenly turns up alive, Anna goes in search of the truth behind her family's involvement with the Altered program. What she uncovers, however, is more twisted than she could have ever imagined.

The story started kind of simple and quiet, but it built to an explosive second half that I couldn't put down. Where the mystery in Altered (Book 1) was a little too complicated for me, I found Erased's twists and turns - most of which I didn't see coming - easy and fun to follow.

Characters: Anna has grown stronger and smarter and now holds her own with and against the boys - she rarely needs help, or looking after. But she still has her vulnerable moments, and struggles with a desire to return to a more normal life. She was the perfect balance of strength and longing. Sam was Sam, the quiet but affectionate romantic interest and leader of the group. I actually didn't feel he played that big of a part in this book, though - even some of his leadership role seemed to have been taken over by Anna, although she usually bowed to his good judgment. Usually. Nick began this book the foul-mouthed nerve-grater that I came to know and loathe in Altered, but by the end of Erased his very rough edges softened a bit and he is now my favorite boy (although his mouth is still the same, unfortunately).

Series: This is Book 2 in the Altered series. The end felt like it actually wrapped up the entire series, but more was hinted at, and there will be a Book 3 to release in 2015. You can find my review of Book 1, Altered, here.

Conclusion: Better than Altered, and I can't recall ever saying that about a Book 2! Took a little while to fully get into, but by the middle I couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. A quick, thrilling read, and although it felt like it wrapped up at the end, I'm excited for another book!

4 1/2 out of 5 Scribbles

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