When the unthinkable happens, Sasha Maclean
27 November 2020
When meeting someone, we use first impressions to decide how we feel about them, at least until we know them better. That is a pretty well recognised fact. But first impressions are rather important when choosing books, too. Even if we don’t admit it, we often choose a book with an interesting cover (although we try not to judge a book because of its cover.) The looks hook people in, but the blurb brings it home (literally, I always leave bookshops with a lot of books.)
Neands. A picture of an apeish creature on the cover. Bright green. Looks like a thriller. ‘This Virus is Changing Everything’ Could this be a coronavirus book?
I read the blurb. This is worse than coronavirus. People are changing into Neands. And what are Neands? No one really knows. Are they like Neanderthals, or something else entirely?
‘Change only the name and this story could be about you…’
The very first page of Neands hosts a startling sentence. Judging from the back cover blurb, this book looks like a sci-fi thriller. A creepy sci-fi thriller. And now it could be about me? I know, just with a first impression, that this will be a wicked read.
Charlie Rutherford has scientist parents. He is named after scientists too. He thinks he is ordinary, but his parents are making discoveries, about people changing, becoming more aggressive, dumb and strong. His parents suspect it has something to do with genes returning to a small percentage of Neanderthal.
Charlie’s father tries to warn the world, but everyone dismisses him as a conspiracy theorist. Charlie is worried, but after his father dies (or is killed) and his mother vanishes without a trace, he is scared, lonely and confused.
That is, until Charlies discovers some others who worked with his parents, who were also trying to warn the world about Neands. He lives with them for a while, learning more and more about his parents and their work, until one day, the unthinkable happens.
I like this book because there are so many plot twists where everything goes wrong but at some points, I wanted to throw the book at the wall. Good books are the ones that surprise you, delight you and anger you, all at the same time.
Another reason I really like this book is a little something on the spine. A small number one. Which is implying that there is more to come (maybe even a series.) Although I like the way this book ends, I certainly would like to follow Charlie’s story a little further, so count me in for book two!
Something else that makes this book special is the little inserts between the chapters. Newspaper clippings, text messages or notes from Charlie’s notebook add extra little bursts of information, adding to the depth of the story and the luxury of the book.
So, basically, if you like sci-fi, thrillers, mystery, conspiracies, plot twists, and books set in New Zealand, I will wholeheartedly recommend Neands. It has so many amazing messages, great characters and an astounding plot. Happy reading!
- Sasha Maclean is 12 years old and a student at Sacred Heart Girl’s College, New Plymouth.