Unleashed - Rachel McClellan

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

It's been a long time since I've read a good YA thriller, and Unleashed is a great one. Although I haven't read Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I know the story and have always been fascinated by it. The way McClellan handles her re-imagining of this classic is clever and suspenseful. Unleashed takes you on a fast action-packed ride from beginning to end.

Claire is a high school student who's in a band and wants to get out of the town she lives in. She doesn't have a great home life, and she's had to protect herself because neither of her parents will. Once she accidentally overhears classified information at the medical research facility in her town, her life is in danger from a security guard who's been tasked to find out what she knows and a guy she runs into named Gage. Luckily, she has a father figure in her life who also happens to be a policeman. He looks out for her just like a father would his own daughter.

Soon it becomes apparent that one of two important people in Claire's life play a role in the information she overheard - she just doesn't know which one, and neither does the reader. That was one of my favorite aspects of Unleashed - not knowing and trying to figure out who Gage's identity before he could harm Claire. You only know Gage could be Claire's friend, Logan, or her boyfriend, Ethan. McClellan writes both characters in a way that either one could be the culprit, and you use clues and hints she drops to take a guess.

I really didn't know which one was Gage and was kept guessing until the end. The ending was spectacularly intense and kept my pulse pounding! McClellan did a stellar job with her re-imagining of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Unleashed. And what a perfect title for the book! I'd recommend this to anyone who is looking for a YA thriller with romance sprinkled in.