TJ Burns — March 13, 2016
Wow! Just wow! Loved it!
Keeper has everything I look for in a young-adult, fantasy novel: A creative and unusual premise; interesting and distinctive characters, who experience loads of character growth; fun and intelligent dialogue; some unexpected twists and turns; and some fast-paced actions sequences that culminate in a thrilling and exciting climax.
Not all my questions were answered, but the story came to an exciting and satisfying end. (It was not a cliff-hanger – Yay!).
I really liked Sam’s personality from the start. She’s got character.
She volunteers at the homeless shelter — and she actually cares about the homeless people and goes beyond what is expected to help. She does incredibly well for someone who does not have loving, caring parents.
…and Sam’s a Hoosier! That makes her even more likable!!!
Greg is endearing — and I was rooting for him to get Sam long before I realized he had feelings for her — but still, I felt for Ashby too. He’s a product of his environment, to be sure, so he comes off condescending towards Greg from the start — but considering his pull to Sam, I could totally understand his jealousy. Ashby never questions following instinct — that’s just how it works. Greg (and his parents) hadn’t questioned it either… until now. As Greg puts it, they’re “like perfect, little trained monkeys.” Ha!
Early on I couldn’t help thinking that while Greg may not be destined for love, he still may try to break free of destiny and try to make his own destiny. Sam didn’t believe much in destiny before she morphed… so I thought they might have a chance.
The character dynamics, especially between Greg and Ashby, were thoroughly entertaining! This would make a great movie. I laughed during the scene where Ashby enters Sam’s class, trying so hard to be Mr. Irresistible — and pulling it off to everyone, other than Sam – and I enjoyed watching Greg rise to the challenge.
Through their interaction with and attachment to Sam, both boys experience personal growth. Greg is willing to let Ashby help them, for Sam’s sake, and then Ashby is willing to leave Sam with Greg, going against his instincts, for Sam’s protection.
This could be a teenager’s dream – going from average looks and body stature to supermodel beauty and proportions in two weeks. At first I thought this story might not promote a healthy teenager self-appreciation, except that it does.
Sam does not want to go through the transition. Despite her negligent parental upbringing, Sam has a healthy feeling of self-worth. She not only volunteers at the homeless shelter, but she goes beyond the duties of a soup kitchen volunteer to help the homeless, especially children.
Both Greg and Ashby are attracted to Sam before her transition to super-model, Ashby instinctually and Greg initially stemming from a protective instinct, which develops then into genuine feelings of love.
After his transition, Greg remains the insecure, awkward teenager that he was before he morphed into a mega-hunk. He develops his sense of self confidence gradually as the story progresses – as a result of his actions, not as a result of his super good looks. So even though descriptive emphasis is placed on the transition from average to perfection, the main characters themselves don’t place any value on looks, but rather value character.
I asked myself at first if there was really any need to have the main characters physically change. Wouldn’t the story be better served if they just changed mentally? But after finishing the book, I really like the contrast between this superficial physical change, which Sam and Greg disregard almost entirely, and their genuine inner growth, which comes independent of their outward beauty.
There are many questions left unanswered. I wonder what the story behind little Jacob and his dad is — Jacob’s dad seems to belong to a non-human race, hence his comment about sapiens’ treatment of trees.
What’s the deal with Sam’s adoptive mother, Barbara? What’s her back-story? Why did she adopt a child when she clearly didn’t want to be a mother? Does she know that Sam is something special?
And what drives Danata? She sabotages her son’s attempt at happiness by trying to kill his integral, and eventually she destroys him — but I can’t figure out why. Danata’s a singular, so she can’t understand the pain she’d be causing her son by killing his integral… or… maybe she wants him to go mad like his uncle so that she can keep the reigns of power. It doesn’t make much sense since her son is set to be her heir. Maybe she’s worried he will challenge her power sooner than later. Danata’s been keeping her son from learning anything about the government or the decision making process. Why?
And, finally, like Sam, I wonder if Roanna and Bernard are Sam’s real parents. Sam looks like Roanna, so… I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next installment, Ripper, to find out.
Published July 1st 2014 by Pendreams
TJ Burns Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1567751958
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