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Title: Unleashed: A Young Adult Twist on Jekyll and HydeAuthor: Rachel McClellan
Genre: Romance, Thriller, Science Fiction
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Source: Copy for review
Seventeen-year-old Claire Williams' tough upbringing has taught her how to throw a punch or two to survive, especially when it involves a man's unwanted attention. But her strength waivers when she visits Bodian Dynamics, a medical research facility, and stumbles upon classified information - someone has stolen a drug that not only changes a person's appearance, but also unleashes the darkest, most evil part of their inner psyche.
After an intimidating security guard threatens the lives of her friends if she speaks to anyone about the incident, Claire pretends the drug never existed. But when she finds a dead girl in her school and is attacked herself, she thinks the events are connected. Especially when she meets Gage, a teenage boy who doesn't seem to have a conscience and who is hell-bent on making her just like him by unleashing her dark side.
The police try to catch Gage, but his increased strength and speed, a side effect from the drug, make him impossible to kill. But Claire knows a secret - he can only die while in his normal state. And since Gage knows personal information about her, Claire thinks she knows who it is: either her best friend or her recent boyfriend. But this doesn't change Claire's resolve. Gage has backed her into a corner so Claire does what she does best: fights. And once she figures out which boy Gage is hiding behind, she's going to kill him, even if it breaks her heart.
It's been a long time since I've read a good YA thriller, and Unleashed is a great one. Although I haven't read Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I know the story and have always been fascinated by it. The way McClellan handles her re-imagining of this classic is clever and suspenseful. Unleashed takes you on a fast action-packed ride from beginning to end.
Claire is a high school student who's in a band and wants to get out of the town she lives in. She doesn't have a great home life, and she's had to protect herself because neither of her parents will. Once she accidentally overhears classified information at the medical research facility in her town, her life is in danger from a security guard who's been tasked to find out what she knows and a guy she runs into named Gage. Luckily, she has a father figure in her life who also happens to be a policeman. He looks out for her just like a father would his own daughter.
Soon it becomes apparent that one of two important people in Claire's life play a role in the information she overheard - she just doesn't know which one, and neither does the reader. That was one of my favorite aspects of Unleashed - not knowing and trying to figure out who Gage's identity before he could harm Claire. You only know Gage could be Claire's friend, Logan, or her boyfriend, Ethan. McClellan writes both characters in a way that either one could be the culprit, and you use clues and hints she drops to take a guess.
I really didn't know which one was Gage and was kept guessing until the end. The ending was spectacularly intense and kept my pulse pounding! McClellan did a stellar job with her re-imagining of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Unleashed. And what a perfect title for the book! I'd recommend this to anyone who is looking for a YA thriller with romance sprinkled in.
Rachel McClellan, author of Unleashed and many others, was born and raised in Idaho, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she's not in her writing lair, she's partying with her husband and four crazy, yet lovable, children. Rachel's love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it was...
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