Sunday, 6 April 2014
Cat Patrick's second novel, Revived, centres on Daisy, a teenager who has died five times since she was five years old. Daisy is part of a top secret medical experiment testing a drug called Revive, which can bring people back from the dead. Unfortunately, dying so many times means many new towns and new names, in order to keep the Program a secret. Daisy doesn't have many meaningful connections with other people her age, until in their latest town she meets the McKeans, Audrey and Matt, and begins to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding the Program.
One part which I really enjoyed about this story and which I thought was handled well was Daisy's best friend Megan, a fellow Program kid, who is transgender. I loved that this was treated in a matter-of-fact way and accepted by all of the characters as totally normal and not worth commenting on further. I really wish there were more young adult books where LGBTI youth were presented like this, as no big issue - just part of the scenery. Kudos to Patrick.
Ultimately though I was a little disappointed by the story. I loved the concept of the Revive drug, and the mystery of the motivations behind the program, but I felt the delivery fell a bit flat. The 'big reveal' at the end felt a little anticlimactic, and didn't answer all of the questions raised in the book. I think it would have felt more true if it had used more 'show' rather than 'tell'.
Daisy was not the strong character I'd hoped for, as she spent a lot of the story reacting to things and being dragged to one place or another by someone else. Her friendship with Audrey however, was quite moving, and her romance with Audrey's brother Matt was quite a lovely illustration of how those in a relationship support each other through trauma. The genuine affection shown by her handler-cum-parent Mason was a highlight of the book as well.
In the end it didn't quite live up to the expectations raised by Cat Patrick's previous novel Forgotten, but is still a very enjoyable read.
To Read: Unwind, by Neal Shusterman, Wither, by Lauren DeStefano and Red Rising, by Pierce Brown.