Paul used to be normal. He used to play baseball, ride bicycles, and run like all the other kids his age, until a genetic heart condition ruined all that. At the age of twelve, he experienced his first heart episode--an episode of tachycardia that caused him to collapse. Ever since then, while the other kids continue with their normal lives, running, playing sports, planning for college, Paul just hopes he'll get to see tomorrow.
Now seventeen, Paul tries to make the most of it. Sure, he can't handle more than a simple walk around the neighborhood with the girl next door and his school has painted a parking space for an ambulance on his behalf they've come so frequent, but Paul continues life doing the things he's able to do. He studies a lot, watches movies, hangs out with his two friends--the only people in school who haven't written him off and moved on that is.
But when a stranger in the park asks Paul what he wants more than anything, he tells the truth: He'd like a do-over.
And so the stranger shoots him.
Paul wakes up in the hospital the next day, disoriented, but complaining about the random person who shot him in the chest. The doctors are baffled. There's no entry or exit wound, but radiological imagery shows a bullet lodged next to his heart. The thing is, though, the bullet is moving. Around and around it goes, circling his heart. And if that wasn't baffling enough, some of the images report it as being there then not, as if it's intangible.
Well, since Paul would never survive an operation due to his weakened heart, there's not much they can do about it. They'll just have to wait until Paul is dead to remove the thing. But that does not stop the CIA from circling like vultures. Sure, they do their part protecting Paul while they're there, which is especially lucky since a group of creepy, smelly aliens show up demanding whatever Paul has inside of him.
The chase is on as Paul, his girlfriend, and his CIA handlers race from one safe house to the next while the advanced alien race pursues them. With each encounter, they lose more and more of their numbers--including Paul's small circle of family and friends. Between the pursuing aliens, his weak heart, and the CIA's continued talk of basically 'disappearing' Paul, the teen is hard pressed, and it just might be time to take matters into his own hands.
I received this book for free as part of a review exchange. I had read Frankel's work before, but while I like the other book, I really like this one. Frankel's tone for Paul's voice was spot on, and I found myself caring and liking the protagonist pretty quick. I felt each loss, each pain. I felt the fear, the mystery, and the desire to just stay alive, even if by all logic, that's just not going to be possible.
The story was sci-fi, which is a genre I sometimes struggle with, but Frankel did a good job of holding his reader's hand throughout the story and taking them on this wild journey! It was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it for other readers.
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I am accepting submissions for reviews at this time. I am primarily interested in thrillers, suspense, magical realism, dystopians, and light sci-fi. I have a taste for the grim and love novels that make you think. Leave me haunted but hopeful.