I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date is November 8, 2015.
When seventeen-year-old Lucas Marshall tests positive for the M0A1 gene—a genetic abnormality believed to predispose humans toward violence—he is shipped off to an impregnable government facility to undergo a battery of psychological tests aimed at making him crack. Now, having survived their tests and proven his mental stability, Lucas is labeled safe to return home. But any hope Lucas has of returning to a normal life is shattered when the van transporting him to the reintegration facility is forced off the road by a group of radicals intent on accessing the facility and exposing it's dehumanizing practices. And Lucas is their ticket through the front door.
I am kind of disappointed that this one wasn't any better because it had so much potential. Some scientist discovered a genetic abnormality that can tell people whether you have a predisposition to criminal behavior or not. A law is created that says citizens must get the test for this gene on their seventeenth birthday. If they test positive for the abnormality, they are sent away to a facility for a round of tests to determine how well they can adapt to society. At least, that is what the government tells people. The tests the patients go through are basically tests designed to incite a response and to get them to crack. They are treated like criminals because of this abnormality in their gene. Everyone looks at them with suspicion and fear. Lucas and Chris are roommates and best friends. They are determined to make it through the tests so they can go home. Lucas's brother had gone through the same tests years before, but he had killed himself a couple of weeks after coming home. Lucas is determined not to break like that.
This premise was a little misleading. The premise suggests that Lucas and Chris meet up with a group of people who want to break into the facility to expose it to the world. That would have been a lot more interesting. No, this was about a girl (Carly) who wanted to break her brother out of the facility. That's it. Yes, these people wanted the facility destroyed, but that wasn't their goal. Carly is Lucas's brother's girlfriend's sister (whew!) and Lucas feels responsible for her. Carly's brother was in the facility and she wanted to break him out. I had to roll my eyes at Carly and her gang of rebels. They wanted to bust into the facility with an electrified fence and guards with rifles. And what did they have? Axes and baseball bats! They didn't even do enough research to get the right clothes! So they were going to break into this facility without getting themselves killed, despite the fact that they had NO clue what the inside of the place looked like or where they were holding her brother. When Lucas tried to point out the absurdity of their plan, Carly just rolled her eyes and ignored him. It was never really clear how old Carly was either. Younger than seventeen since she had never had the test, but I wasn't sure if she was 14 or 15 or what. Lucas and Chris seemed like smart guys, but their plan to break into the facility wasn't that much better.
One of the issues I had with this book was that the author did not explore the ramifications of this genetic abnormality and the forced testing more. I mean, it could have been a nature vs. nurture type thing. Everyone assumed that the genetic abnormality meant you were sure to turn into a criminal. But the testing itself seemed to produce criminals or suicidal behavior. And all of society seemed to shun the guys who tested positive. There was brief mention that criminal behavior hadn't decreased at all since the testing started, but then it was forgotten. It was also interesting that only one girl out of thousands had tested positive for the abnormality. There were so many ethical issues to be explored. Instead, we got a story about a group of people trying to break someone out.
The events of the evening do still make for interesting story though. I found myself literally biting my nails to see if Lucas, Chris and Carly would make it out with Carly's brother. There were doe twists and turns and tons of violence. I thought this was an okay book with great main characters. I would have loved for the author to focus more on the ethical implications of everything, as well as the friendship between Lucas and Chris. It isn't often that we see a well-written friendship between two men in YA fiction. Oh, and I thought the epilogue was useless and I wish it wasn't there.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Not sure I would recommend this one. It was just okay. I would say to just skip it.