Title: The Gardener
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Release Date: May 25th, 2010 (Today!)
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads:Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.
Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most?
The Gardener is a book that starts strong and finishes strong. I never wanted to put it down. The concept is highly original, and the story moves fast. Both great things in my opinion.
Mason was very easy to relate to, and very easy to be in the head of. He was smart, observant, and had a strong sense of morals. The other characters weren't quite so developed, but they were still enjoyable. The entire book spans only about two days, which is a bit different from most books, but so much happens that you forget. Something that I found was a bit rushed in terms of real life was how fast Mason had feelings for Laila. I just didn't get it. Their relationship was sweet nonetheless.
Most of how Mason reacts to things in this book is very believable, which is important. I don't like it when I read something and my reaction is "No one would ever do that." It kind of ruins the point. A lot of this book is centered on science, which is not my best subject, but I never felt like it was too advanced or like I was being left behind by it. That could have very easily been the other way around.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I'm very grateful that I had a chance to read it before its release date. It surpassed my expectations, and if you're looking for a fast, thriller type of book pick this up!
Overall: 45/50 A-
Title/Cover comments: The cover is very appropriate, as is the title. I feel like it gives a lot away though.