Freak of Nature
by Julia Crane
Publication Date: February 2, 2013
Published by: Valknut Press
Formats Available: eBook, Paperback ~284 pages
Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.
Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.
Despite owning many of Julia Crane's novels, this is the first one I have actually read and I am so glad I did! The first thing that caught my eye about this novel was the cover. It seems that Julia Crane is incapable of having a less than stunning cover. I love cover and the picture of this pieced together girl who has been split at the seams. And the pale skin tone and teal colors, while I didn't know at first, have meaning to the novel. The second thing that caught my eye was the title: Freak of Nature. I know at times I have felt these very words and I had to see what they meant to this girl on the cover.
Within the very first chapter the author had me questioning the consequences of something that people contemplate everyday: to put the check the box or put the donate sticker on your driver's license or not. Well our main character Kaitlin checked yes. And that one tiny check mark changed her fate forever. Instead of dying like she should have, she was given to science and has been turned into something quite unnerving: a cyborg girl that still looks like Kaitlin, but there have been a few changes made. And after each operation to turn her into this thing, she lost more and more of what made her human.
"By the second operation she stopped laughing. By the fifth, she stopped smiling entirely."
She has no pain sensors or taste buds, but with her new body she can do extraordinary things: run like the wind, fire a gun with precision, and processes everything in her newly programmed brain with ease. However, there is still something left inside; a piece of Kaitlin is still inside and she has to hide it or else she may die a second time. But there are feelings left and that is something quite unacceptable. She shouldn't feel anything, not sadness nor happiness, not the way her skin tingles when she is around Lucas, or feel like she has a best friend with Quess. But it is there and she is keeping the one thing she has left of her old life to herself.
The IFICS and their experiment make me sick. And the people that worked for them were worse. How did they justify this experiment and how could you take a teenage girl do that to her without being a monster - or worse - someone who just cares about progress. But then there is Lucas, a super-smart kid who just wants to do cool things, but has a conscience - one that lacks in action, but it is there. He feels for Kaitlin and regrets the loss of a girl he never knew when she was truly alive. And I loved that we got to see what things are like through his eyes too. And through him we see his feeling for Kaitlin, ones that make him feel weak in the knees.
"How could you possibly think I'm beautiful? I'm repulsive - a freak of nature."
I loved the burgeoning romance between Kaitlin and Lucas. And though she finds herself a freak, they are both broken in some way. What I loved about Freak of Nature was that it wasn't just a Science Fiction novel or a YA Romance, there was more depth to it that is so hard to explain. Julia Crane has created a world full of mad scientists, hormonal teenagers (robot or not), and gave the readers something to think about well after they finish: what do our choices really mean? There is light action, but the book is about strength, love, and friendship. There are a few things I could get nit-picky about here and there. One of which is that Kaitlin is supposed to be super intelligent, but when given an iPhone or the idea of Facebook and she completely goes blank. Um. shouldn't the super machine know about technological advances? But aside from that I enjoyed reading Freak of Nature and am curious to see what will take place in book two.
*For mature teens due to some sexual content.
4.5 Candles for Freak of Nature
FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.
Q) Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A) I do some research, but mainly I just go where my mind takes me. Ideas come out of nowhere it seems. Like for Freak of Nature, I saw my daughter making a cyborg image on photoshop and I though I’ve got to write a book about a cyborg.
Q) Is there a message in your novel/novels that you want readers to grasp?
A) I don’t think of that when I write. I’ve always believe that any book opened there is at least once sentence written for the reader. I hope there is something that makes my readers think about it later even if it’s just one line that reached them.
Q) What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your characters to life?
A) I can’t think that deeply into writing if I did it would freeze me up. I’ve gotten to know a lot of different personalities over my lifetime and I draw from that. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel extensively so I think that helps.
Julia Crane is the author of the Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination. Although she’s spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.
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