Perfect for this year’s Summer Reading Heroes theme comes this adventuresome novel about a group of teens who are dying of brain tumors and recruited to join a team of special ability fighters to save the world.
When soccer star and college freshman Cam Cody is diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a fatal brain tumor that means he will die within the year, he is presented with a choice from a mysterious man: die in a hospital bed with a gown that shows off his derriere or join a top secret organization that offers kids like him a chance to do extraordinary things like saving lives before dying. Cam, dejected at the thought of missing college and a real future, joins with gusto and is packed into a helicopter, flown somewhere secret, made to parachute out into a jungle and rappel into a heady competition among pharmacologically gifted teens, all unbelievably with glioblastomas. There’s Zara, as sexy as she is fierce; Ari, who’s so smart he’s almost Einstein; Donnie, the muscled athlete; Calliope, a musical genius; and Jules, Tegan, Owen, Wally, and now team-player Cam. Their only two contacts are their trainer, Ward, and their pilot, aptly termed Pilot. Occasionally they visit doctors who supervise the experimental wonder drug, TS-9, which everyone but Cam is given and causes extraordinary abilities. As Cam learns the ropes and they start on their missions, he begins to receive strange notes. Little does he know that they’re from a survivor of last year’s terminal team, and she’s about to blow the lid on all of the secrets, turning Cam’s world upside down and starting a chain reaction to take down the organization.
Marketed as yet another addict read like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc., I didn’t find this to live up to the promise. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll be entertained, but I rather thought it was a quick amp up, crash down sort of novel. The events seemed to be too close together and just as soon as you got used to one scenario, another was throwing you for a loop. Too much action and not enough believability for it to succeed as greatly as THG etc. Still, an intriguing plot, a fast-paced story, and exciting and mysterious characters keep you reading. Beware of the high body count though and some predictable circumstances.
Note: Strong language, brief sexual circumstances.