Review: Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon

April 8, 2013 3 - 3.5 Stars, Science Fiction, Thriller 8 ★★★

Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon
Published by Soho Teen on April 9, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
17-year-old Sophie lies on her deathbed in California, awaiting the inevitable loss of her battle with cancer…
17-year-old Declan stares down two armed thugs in a back alley in Galway, Ireland…
17-year-old Anat attempts to traverse a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt…

All three strangers should have died at the exact same moment, thousands of miles apart. Instead, they awaken together in an abandoned hospital—only to discover that they’re not alone. Three other teens from different places on the globe are trapped with them. Somebody or something seems to be pulling the strings. With their individual clocks ticking, they must band together if they’re to have any hope of surviving.

Soon they discover that they've been trapped in a future that isn't of their making: a deadly, desolate world at once entirely familiar and utterly strange. Each teen harbors a secret, but only one holds the key that could get them home. As the truth comes to light Sophie, Declan, Anat, and the rest must decide what to do with a second chance at life—if they can survive to claim it.
My first question while reading Strangelets was: What is a Strangelet?  I knew the book featured young strangers mysteriously thrown together in an even more mysterious setting.  I thought it was a cutesy way of referring to strangers, similar to how the terms piglets and eaglets refer to a small, cute version of the adult animals.  (“Oh, wook at the cute, wittle strangelets!”)  Umm, no.  When the answer was given near the end of the book, it was far from cutesy, and it made my head spin.  And by the way, it is an actual scientific term.  Thanks, Google!

But before we get to that, I’ll start at the beginning which sucked me right in.  Six teenage strangers, all from different parts of the world, wake up to find themselves locked in a hospital.  Or is it a laboratory?  In any case, they are alone, unless you count the terrifying monsters lurking about.  Some of them are suspicious of the others, believing that at least one of them must somehow be involved in what increasingly looks like a massive conspiracy.  My own mind reeled, trying to figure out how any of this was possible.

When the group finally breaks out of the hospital and splits up, it doesn’t feel like a bad Hollywood screenwriter ploy designed to cause as much mayhem as possible while the audience groans in disbelief.  In this case, I was definitely worried for the safety of the group when they split up, but their reasons were plausible, and it is a bonus for the reader because we get two concurrent and equally frightening story lines.

I had so many questions while reading the book, and I had no idea where Gagnon was headed.  Answers started to come at a furious pace about ¾ of the way through.  I wish that they’d been doled out a little more evenly.  The book was very fast-paced up until this point, but then the action ground to a halt, replaced by a lot of explaining.  I will freely admit that it much of it went right over my head, so I can’t really comment on whether there were any holes in the explanations.  I felt somewhat bludgeoned into submission, and I decided to just go ahead and accept it.  I think that a more gradual approach to the revelations would have alleviated this somewhat.  Nevertheless, the mysteries and the action-packed story more than compensate for the overly-talky ending.

Note – I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for review.

Review posted at Goodreads


8 Responses to “Review: Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon”

  1. Sapir V

    This book sounds terrific!!! I really want to read it.
    From your review, I understand that there is always something interesting in it: at the first 3/4 it was the action and fast-pace, and at the last 1/4 it was the explanations. Added to my to-read list!!
    GREAT REVIEW!! I’m a new follower (:

    Can you please follow back? Thanks ♥
    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  2. Ashley

    I did not know it was actually a scientific word! I think you are spot on with your point about the revelations. The lack of explanation in the beginning was something I was not a fan of.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  3. Readiculously Peachy

    Wow this does sound like a very exciting and original book! But too bad that the explanations and reasoning were almost too hastily explained towards the end. It’s always a bit more enticing when you slowly start deciphering the mysterious plot. Nonetheless, it has caught my attention, hence thank you dear blogger buddy for this wonderful review 🙂

    See you around buddy, and I wish you a very happy and pleasant (reading) day 😉

    Florentine @ Readiculously Peachy

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