Josh worships his older brother, Max. They look alike, they talk alike, and they both have the same interests, including their favorite massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Genesis Alpha. But Josh and Max have an even deeper connection. Because Josh was born for a reason. It was Josh’s stem cells, harvested when Josh was newly born, that saved his dying older brother’s life.
Now that same beloved older brother is arrested, accused of the brutal murder of a teenage girl. Josh is bewildered. Is Max really a monster, or is all of this a terrible mistake? And if the worst is true and Max is guilty, does that mean Josh is guilty too? After all, Max wouldn’t exist without him. But this is only the beginning. Before long, Josh will come to a number of searing revelations — revelations that have dire implications not only for Max’s future, but for Josh’s as well.
My first impression of this book: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer + Defending Jacob by William Landay = Genesis Alpha by Rune Michaels.
Just saying, this book was good but not as good as I thought it would be. Because something like those stories combined would be amazing, and this book was great–but didn’t add up the way I thought it would. In other words, the equation didn’t work for me. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer + Defending Jacob by William Landay
= Genesis Alpha.
First of all, there was the part about bad characters. Both Defending Jacob and The House of the Scorpion have well-written, realistic characters. I thought that Rachel really only had one side to her. She didn’t grow at all as a character, and she was just there to discourage and be a constant bringer of doubt to Josh. She is ruthless, angry, depressed and cynical. There is not one point in this story where she just breaks down and shows some emotion other than that. I was really hoping for Rune Michaels to take advantage of this character and show some growth or amazing revelation there, but that was not the case apparently.
I have to say, I was really disappointed with this book–and that is because this book had a lot of potential as The House of the Scorpion for 11 to 13 year olds. A good introduction to The House of the Scorpion, basically. But it could’ve been much more than that too. But Rune Michaels threw in a lot here that really wasn’t necessary. I would agree that they would all be cool storylines by themselves, but in this book it was just a little bit overwhelming and distracting.
On the other hand, Rachel’s character is interesting–despite being very two-dimensional–and the book is well-paced. I also liked Josh’s inner conflict a lot. I would recommend this to 11 to 13 year olds who enjoy thrillers or mysteries. 2 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 208
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