For YA Friday I am looking at the new release, Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner.
Meet Cat, an avid teenage bird watcher who fell out of a tree and damaged her brain. She is on her way to I-CAN, a treatment center for Advanced Neurology. All she wants is to be normal again. When she arrives at the clinic she is surprised to find that she is only among 6 other kids undergoing treatment. There's Quentin, who has a football injury, Sarah who has a hockey injury, Ben who fell off a horse, Trent who likes basketball and then the mysterious Kaylee, who Cat doesn't meet.
At first things seem to be going well, and the treatments begin working to ease Cat's headaches and physical instability. The two doctors in charge of everything, Dr. Ames and Dr. Gunther, seem dedicated to healing the children and progressing with their treatments. Then Trent comes into the cafeteria one day a completely different person. The other kids can't explain it. Cat begins to worry about the clinics true intentions, and when she finds out that all six kids have been declared dead, she knows it's time to run.
A very intriguing story. I like how we start everything from Cat's POV. You get a good idea of just how badly she wants to be healed. So badly that when things start to go wrong, she contemplates ignoring things and hoping for the best. Thankfully, Cat is a really smart girl and pieces together the truth behind the clinic.
This puzzle is a fun aspect, because it pulls you through the first half of the story as you wonder what the two doctors are doing. Then we have the children's fight to survive. The fear of being on their own mixed with despair is strong. The poor kids have everything against them, and Dr. Ames is ready to kill, perhaps already has, to keep his research going. There are very intense escape scenes and I actually didn't know if they were going to make it because the author puts them into a hole so deep, they really have little chance of success.
The whole concept of the doctor's experiment is a little strange, but it fits with the plot, so I'll give it a pass. Overall, an interesting and tension filled read. 4 stars.