Altered is the type of book that will have you in suspense the whole time. The complexity of the plot and the characters contributes to this element of anxiety and thrill. The story centers around a group of teenagers new to a boarding school, the likes of which would probably give you the creeps, Bates Motel style. This is the sort of school you would send a troubled teen to, when you didn't want to deal with him or her. This sort of school would also be known as a reform school, where they specialize in "behavior modification". These behavior modification tactic were highly abusive and questionable, bordering on murderous. The characters in this story are not aware of the type of school they are being sent to, willingly going in thinking this would be a fresh start, and with no idea of what actually awaited them.
I can't even begin to describe the despair I felt for these kids, being punished in such ways that would make your skin crawl. Although you got the feeling that these kids were not in their right minds, and definitely needed professional help, you couldn't help but be angry at their parents and wanting to stop all that madness somehow. I was also very taken aback when the age of the characters is mentioned, very young, too young, to be put through that kind of torture (although there is no right age for torture is there?). The characters quickly get caught in this hell where punishment was a given for the smallest of mistakes. They find their strength and begin to plot a way to escape the school, working together, or so they thought, until they are betrayed and their loyalties tested.
The book doesn't disappoint being fast-paced and full of twists and turns. I found myself caught off guard many times. Just when I would start to think that something positive would happen to these poor kids, something else would come along to ruin it. I loved how each character had their own voice, their own distinct personalities, very true to the way a young person would act and think. Aubrey did a great job of capturing that mind-frame of the anger of a teenager under attack and uniting to defeat a common enemy. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would definitely read the upcoming books in this series.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)