by Maree Anderson
Jay’s a cyborg who looks just like normal teenage girl. She’s super-strong, super-smart, and she can even appear to grow and age like a human. When a covert organization intent on using Jay as a weapon comes after her, she needs to find a place where she can blend in. Greenfield High seems perfect… except that the boys all think she’s totally hot and keep hitting on her, and she has no clue how to handle the attention. Who knew high school could be so perilous?
To add to her confusion she’s evolving – experiencing human emotions for the first time. And when she encounters ex-jock-turned-outcast Tyler, he sends her logical brain into a spin. She’s just starting to get the hang of this girlfriend/boyfriend thing when her pursuers track her down.
Now’s sooo not the time for a cyborg to fall in love and get all emotional!
This indie book came to my attention because the author revealed some super exciting news about it. The details are still in the works and I’m not at liberty to reveal any of it, but after hearing the news, I just had to read this book. Boy, I’m so glad I did.
Major Kudos for Originality:
Take The Terminator and throw in teenage angst, bullying, and a machine that discovers it/she can feel and you’ve got the wonderfully original FREAKS OF GREENFIELD HIGH.
The Emotional Pull:
The author did a brilliant job of showing Jay’s confusion as she evolves, becoming more human as she interacts with others. At first, she analyzes her feelings and breaks them down into chemical reactions. Later, her confusion escalates and she worries she’s malfunctioning as her feelings for Tyler grow. She begins to care and eventually to love. Something she never thought possible for a being like her.
Then when Tyler discovers the girl he’s falling for is a cyborg, the scene is utterly heartbreaking. I felt his pain and understood his anger and hurt. Wow, emotion on every page there.
One Minor Problem I Had:
I’m not one for big dumps of vivid narrative. A few descriptive words here and there usually do it for me. As I read FREAKS, I came away feeling like I’d listened to an audio book instead of reading the words on the page. Why? It was because, with the exception of Jay and Tyler’s sister, the author didn’t describe any other character’s appearance. I knew what their personalities were like, but I had no idea what they looked like. The biggest issue was not being able to picture Tyler. I knew he had problems styling his hair, but I never knew what color it was so I could never fully picture him in my mind.
Wow, the author certainly ramped things up at the end when the bad guys finally track Jay down and she does what she needs to do to keep Tyler and his family safe. What a page turner. Again, my heart broke for Tyler and what he had to go through, but it was worth it in the end.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I’m not sure I’d let my 13 year old daughter read it. There are some mature situations (that are referenced, but take place off the page) and the language the teenagers use, while I know is realistic, I don’t want my tweener reading. Not yet, anyway. I think this book is more suitable for the older, high-school teen crowd. But if you like YA with a bit of romance and Sci-Fi thrown in, this is definitely the book for you.
Learn more about Maree Anderson at http://www.mareeanderson.com/