Authors: John Sandford and Michele Cook
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014
Genre: YA Action/Thriller
You know John Sandford as the prolific author of the Lucas Davenport series as well as, my favorite, the Virgil Flowers series. Now Sandford has teamed up with Michele Cook to write a Young Adult Action/Thriller series. Uncaged is the first.
As the story opens, a group of teenagers is breaking into the Singular Corporation with the sole purpose of “uncaging” all the test animals that are used for the company’s experiments. Its a chaotic and disturbing scene as hundreds of animals and rodents are running everywhere.
One of the teenagers, Odin, a brilliant computer whiz, manages to also grab some important company flash drives. The teenagers manage to escape the building, but are now on the run for their lives.
Odin’s sister, Shay, is also bright. Shay and Odin are orphans staying at different foster homes, although they have remained close. When Shay hears Odin is on the run, she runs too. She has a hunch about where he is going. Shay worries about her big brother. He has a condition that keeps him from handling himself well in public and stressful situations.
The Singular Corporation has a group of security experts that reminded me of an evil gestapo-style group. They had every electronic surveillance tool and seemingly unlimited funds at their disposal. They were super sharp at figuring out where the kids were or likely to be.
Along the way Shay hooked up with another group of young people that I thought were pretty cool. A young man who had also been homeless became an artist, made some money, bought a hotel in Hollywood and opened the hotel to teens also homeless. The art work he did and the kids staying at the hotel was another fun part of the story.
Shay eventually hooks up with Odin, but, since the Singular people have been following Shay, they snatch Odin and stash him far away. Shay has no idea where he is. How she enlists help to find Odin and what she finds is crazy and scary. It’s a wild ride to the book’s conclusion.
Uncaged is much more explosive and edgier than Sandford’s other books. It moves very fast. The animal rights issues are seriously troubling. There is even hints that Singular is also experimenting on humans. The issues and the action makes me think this will appeal to Young Adult readers. After just one book I can promise you I’ll read the whole series.