3.5/5(Even though it was a 3.5, I felt it deserved more of a 3 star rating on GR)Originally posted at Gypsy ReviewsEverything about Altered screams NO for me because I’m not one to fall easily for hot guys and even in this case, none of them really filled my criteria for a YA hot guy but surprisingly, this book exceeded my expectations and was more than a romance story. There was a bit of mystery, thrill and a little science fiction. There’s a lot more depth than I anticipated to find and Altered proved that it was an enjoyable book for me and a quick read too. Anna lost her mother at a very young age and ever since she can remember, her father has been working for the Branch and part of the program consists of the 4 altered boys who live in her basement. Anna is homeschooled and now is her father’s assistant and has come into contact with the boys many times and formed friendships or relationships with them. Anna knows a bit of self-defense and can draw very well, she seems meek and shy but there is more than meets the eye with her. Problem is though, I did get a huge damsel-in-distress vibe from her despite the fact that she knows how to defend herself. You don’t really see her actively trying to save herself so to me, having her know self-defence really defeated the entire purpose.The four boys are all quite distinctive because their personalities are so different. Sam is the leader and no doubt is the one who gives the commands, Cas is flirty and playful, Trev is full of wisdom and smart and Nick is dark and moody. I liked them, their whole dynamic really worked for them. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding them, particularly Sam and their connection with Anna too so it was quite a bit of a surprise to me when that plot twist was revealed. It’s not boring, that’s for sure.Now for Sam and Anna, it wasn’t much of a case of instalove because they knew each other for a while but we never got to see why Anna liked Sam so much. We just had to take for granted that she loved Sam and she would do pretty much anything for him. It is incredibly hard to connect with a relationship when you have no idea the feelings behind them and the history. I think it’s pretty much crucial if you want readers to root for them, that’s my opinion when it comes to couples. I like to get to know a little bit of their history first so I can actually connect with them. I can’t just go straight into rooting for them if I have no idea why they liked each other in the first place. I can’t take that for granted because I know nothing about them, why should I care about them? Give me a reason to.The story was good, it was definitely much more than I expected and Rush expanded much more on the Branch and what they did. There’s definitely a lot of backstory and surprises here and there that I wasn’t expecting at all which is always good when you’re trying to keep on surprising readers. I won’t reveal too much but really, you will never see some of these coming. I did find parts about solving the small puzzles in between a little anti-climatic because they didn’t seem complicated at all and especially since we know they’re quite smart and it was mentioned one of the guys was affluent in many languages, I didn’t find that code with the Roman Numerals particularly difficult? I mean it’s pretty obvious it’s linked to numbers? Rush could have put a lot more thought into making them more complicated and convincing.So judging solely on her book, I would recommend giving her book a try but I wouldn’t purchase it, it’s a book you’ll like but not enough to go out and buy it. I’m not going to go out of my way to support her though, she’s written a good book which I might check the sequel out when I see it in the library but that’s it. I find it hard to support her though because of her previous incident with a negative review of her book, in no way did that affect how I wrote the review but this is a personal feeling of mine and it affects the way I look at her as an author but not her books. So Altered is worth a read because it really did surprise me and exceeded my expectations.