Book Reviews

Strays is 5-Star

NetGalley delivers digital galleys, often called advance reading copies, or ARCs, to professional readers and helps promote new and upcoming titles. Professional readers–reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers and educators–can join and use NetGalley at no cost.” Netgalley is a special section of my book discussions where I post reviews of the digital books I read through this service. It’s quite amazing the gems you can find. I’ve yet to regret reading a book, even if I don’t like it…


Lindsey is on her own in the tiny factory town she grew up in. Abandoned by her parents she’s just trying to make graduation so she can ditch the bad memories. When a boy who was kind to her once and disappeared seeks out her help she finds herself compelled to do everything she can for him. Following the trail of his creepy tattoos, Lindsey relies on Johnny, her neighbor who she’s been pushing away. Together they learn of a connection to the medical testing center that saved the town.

I didn’t know what to think going into this book, I like tattoos, that’s why I requested it. I wasn’t expecting much. I was a little thrown when the book started with a POV labeled ‘Now’ that alternated with ‘Then.’ This continues through the book and while a sort of story gimmick became the motivating force that compelled you to keep reading. It was a touch annoying at first but became quite intriguing the more I read and at the end was stunningly well used. I don’t suggest copying this technique for you own stories but it never disappointed in the course of this story.

Lindsey is a strong girl with a rough life who is just putting one foot in front of the other. She’s not an especially different character but I felt she occupied her space well. I believed that she was compelled to help Tyler and that she felt staying away from Johnny was a good thing. The way the POVs open up you go along with how things appear to be and fill in the blanks yourself. This was well done as the reader is the one misleading the reader in a way that helps keep us moving forward into the unfolding story. I never thought she was stupid (which I think a lot sometimes…) and I really appreciated that in this instance where the ‘Then’ part of the story could have gotten way over the top and cheesy fast.

I know it doesn’t sound like I’m saying much… the plot was really strong and the writing supported the story well. To know about elements of the story would ruin the techniques used to keep the reader on the edge of your seat. Unlike Alive I felt the technique was success in delivering the story which is a sort of teen drama inter-cut with a sci-fi experiment… This quote from the book may help:

“Even the prisoners themselves didn’t make sense. The people in the cell block were nothing alike, young, old and everywhere in between, and pretty much every imaginable race or mixture. Labcoat said they were sick, but with what? None of them looked ill at all. At least, not in any way Lindsey could tell. It wasn’t like they all had the sniffles or something. None of them had matched in the least. Except for their tattoos they had nothing in common, and the tattoos had come from this place, so that wasn’t it. So if they weren’t sick, then what could they be there for? None of this makes any sense. Goddamn it.”

Intriguing, right? This book isn’t trying to be an epic adventure, but the twisty little book it is really stood out to me. There’s definitely more stories to be found with Lindsey, Tyler, Harrison, Artie, Davis and B at the center. (All great characters that I look forward to learning more about – like Harrison and Davis’ backstory!) This is a great first installment of their journey to find a family in each other.

This is really all Lindsey’s story though and we see that play out all the way to the end. The premise sounded neat and delivered. The story was suspenseful and delivered.

BOTTOM LINE: Teen drama mixed with a radical sci-fi experiment in the best way!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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