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Tattoo Atlas

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A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.

Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.

Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.

But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?

384 pages, Hardcover

First published October 18, 2016

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About the author

Tim Floreen

3 books221 followers
***Tim loves hearing from readers but doesn't spend much time on Goodreads. If you'd like to message him, visit his website: www.timfloreen.com.***

Tim's debut novel, Willful Machines, is out now from Simon Pulse. His follow-up, Tattoo Atlas, will be released on October 18, 2016.

One of Tim's earliest memories involves sitting in front of the television and staring in awe at a raven-haired, star-spangled Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. He went on to spend much of his childhood running around in a paper tiara and bracelets and tying up his grandma with his “magic lasso.” When not doing that, he was developing crushes on his Masters of the Universe action figures, memorizing the entire libretto of Les Misérables, and carefully maintaining his huge (and now mostly worthless) comic book collection. Also, he read a lot and wrote a lot.

Tim majored in English at Yale and earned a master’s degree in creative writing at Boston University. He now lives in San Francisco with his partner, their two cat-obsessed daughters, and their two very patient cats. His recollection of the words to Les Miz and his adoration of Wonder Woman remain fully intact.

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5 stars
435 (37%)
4 stars
414 (35%)
3 stars
221 (19%)
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60 (5%)
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26 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 262 reviews
Profile Image for Shaun Hutchinson.
Author 25 books4,636 followers
June 29, 2016
Review to come closer to release date. Needless to say, I loved it.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,133 reviews309 followers
March 31, 2017
A stylish and tense YA thriller with a slight SF bent.

The setting is contemporary, but the SF twist is in the experimental brain surgery performed on a high school shooter in an attempt to alter violent tendancies and stimulate empathy. The story follows Rem and his three friends a year after the shooting, his relationships with them, and with his mother, the doctor heading up the pioneer surgery. This book turned out to be quite a page turner for me, and of course there is much more going on than first meets the eye.

The writing style reminded me of Shaun David Hutchinson, another master of slightly SF contemporary and textured characters. Like Hutchinson, Floreen is an emotive writer, who does a good job of capturing frantic self-doubt and the odd mental contortions created by a need for acceptance.

An excellent read that left me wanting to check out Floreen's debut novel, Willful Machines.
Profile Image for Diabolica.
422 reviews52 followers
January 22, 2021
My only recommendation with this book is to not read the summary. I didn't even look at it.

I'm not really sure where to begin with this review because my mind feels so thoroughly assaulted by what on earth was going on in this book. It's a very interesting version of a high-school shooting. I didn't even realize that was the foundation of the book until the very end.

This book doesn't focus on the tragedy or any of the fallout. Instead, it takes all of that in stride and adds this freakishly scary twist to it. I won't lie and say it was totally out there, but I picked up on it way too late. I'm honestly surprised I found this in the YA section of my library. Someone take it out and reshelve it in the adult section because 16yo me could never.

This novel is really interesting because it toys with a couple of interesting ideas. There isn't a direct ethical message the author aims to present and Floreen plays devil's advocate a lot. Although the topics weren't deeply explored (and I won't say them so I don't risk the spoiler tag) I'm glad she decided to hold at least some kind of discussion or debate about the ethicality of the plot.

I also want to point out that although I don't know a lot of neuroscience myself, her explanation seemed VERY LEGIT. And Floreen does a good job of articulating a good amount of info that left me satisfied with how realistic the whole project was while not overwhelming me. Also, my brain is fried just in general so that might have helped.

The MC and cast were amazing. I love books where the MC isn't the main character, honestly, Jeremy barely ran the course of his life. And it was especially interesting how Floreen put a lot of thought into the character flaws and it showed. Each character had their cocktail of problems and Floreen didn't let them easily flush it out of their systems. In essence, there was some really great character development.

This book is a full emotional rollercoaster. There is no other way to put it. There are so many people dying and the cover is really deceiving because I HAD NO IDEA that the plot was going to be this depressing. I'm pretty close to the brink of crying for these characters.

Either way, it is a solid read. And I'm glad I picked it up on a whim from my library.
Profile Image for Devanshi.
241 reviews157 followers
July 5, 2021
What gives us the right to change who he is just because he doesn’t fit in?

Took me a long time to complete it but it was because I was busy. The book is just perfect. Heartbreaking but beautiful. Really good writing, relatable characters. Add to that a good amount of mystery and you've got the recipe for a good book. Honestly loved it.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,231 reviews2,211 followers
April 16, 2017


I read this in a single sitting.

I'm overwhelmed.

So I'm just gonna vomit some words.

Okay let's do this.

This is a novel that takes place in a modern world very similar to our own, with the tiniest scifi twist of slightly more advanced technology (lemme tell you, Tim Floreen does this whole "scifi mixed with the real world" thing REALLY well). A year before the story starts, a horrific incident occurs where a boy was shot during school - and now, his murderer is going to be "fixed." Scientists have created a new piece of technology that allows them to alter the brain in such a way to basically cure sociopath/psychopath/antisocial personal disorder. With this little gadget, they believe they can fix Franklin.

Rem is the gay son of the scientist attempting to fix Franklin, but was also the best friend of the boy who was murdered. He gets caught in the world between helping his mother, trying to be there for his friends, and, slowly, finding empathy for the boy who murdered Pete.

Filled with typical teenage angst like sexuality, boys, and friendships mixed with not-so-typical angst like murder and experiments, this novel is a roller coaster. Tim Floreen has a way of writing novels that makes you just want to keep flipping the pages. Like his previous novel "Willful Machines" this book also has its downs with annoying YA tropes, but his writing and character development is fantastic. He is wonderful at story telling.

He's also great at pulling at your heart strings. I never knew what I should be feeling for any character. One second I'd love a character, the next I'd hate them, the next I'd want to protect them at all cost because so smol and precious, the next I'd want to punch them in the face.

Also the ending. Like. Wow. The ending was perf but also I cry so much.

Tim Floreen has definitely solidified his position on my "Autobuy" authors. Yup. This was gr8. A+
Profile Image for Kay.
374 reviews22 followers
December 29, 2017
Holy crap! HOLY CRAP! Where the hell did this book come from?!!

I'm shook. I'm in awe. I'm crying.

It was so good.

This book was a whirlwind.

It takes you on a journey in the human mind. What makes you a killer? It was really good.

I can totally see this being a movie or a tv show.

I really enjoyed it.

This review makes absolutely no sense. I'm still processing.

3.75/5 stars
Profile Image for Angelina.
385 reviews46 followers
October 16, 2016
Originally on Fable's Library
I requested this book from Simon Pulse this doesn’t not change my opinion at all! (Thank you Simon Pulse!!!!)

I SHOULD probably start off with saying, the first chapter is a bit graphic. Also there’s minimal animal violence, if that makes sense. If that bothers you, you have been warned.

What I Liked
-Usually I can figure out how a book ends, with Tattoo Atlas, it was a mystery. I kept suspecting the wrong people which was GREAT because it ended up becoming a awesome shocking story.
As I read, the story played out like a movie. The whole thing was super intense and well written, I was gripped (and kind of freaked out) from page one. You know a book is good when you can’t put it down, Tattoo Atlas was this book. I think I need to read more of Tim Floreen’s books.

What I Didn’t Like
-Both of these points are more personal opinions… The whole book kind of sort of made it seem like video games were the problem. This really bothered me because I play video games and I don’t think they mess people up. Well, I don’t think kids should be playing rated M games, and I don’t think they should be playing violent games all day. They should be outside, or something. I just don’t believe video games are the problem and it bothered me that EVERYTHING linked back to a game:/ really?
-Another personal opinion, one of the characters didn’t swear. Everyone acted like she was SO uptight because of that. Really? I don’t swear, I’m not uptight. I just felt a bit offended… There’s nothing wrong with the book though

-Tattoo Atlas is an LGBT book (yay!) that is intense from page one. Tim Floreen is a great writer who had me gripped from page one. I can’t wait to read more of his future works. I hope this book ends up on more peoples radars.
Profile Image for Phee.
572 reviews58 followers
June 16, 2018
4.25 stars.

So this book is called ‘Anatomy of a murderer’ in the uk. But I prefer the American title and cover so that what I bought.

This was so so good. I’m not really into YA these days as I prefer a more mature plot and characters. But this really surprised me. Sure it had its tropes and eye roll moments, but it had such a interesting concept and really varied characters. I couldn’t stop reading it. I really like that it was set in our world but it had that slight sci-fi bend to it. Strangely it gave me PLL vibes which I’m totally down with and it had that mysterious element as well. I also love that it’s a standalone. I’m really preferring those at the moment.
I’m now super excited to pick you Wilful Machines by this author. Why are more people not talking about Tim Floreen!!
Profile Image for viktoria.
214 reviews57 followers
Shelved as 'read-ish'
February 16, 2018
Note to myself (and whoever): Based on the summary here* and the Ingram entry (using the ISBN 9781481432818), I'm almost positive this is the paperback release of Tattoo Atlas with a new title, apparently. Which is okay, I guess, but way to fake me out and make me sad, publishers. I was excited about Tim Floreen having a new book only to discover it wasn't a new book.*

*Unless this changes. Then my sadness will change to joy.
Profile Image for Halley Hopson.
800 reviews52 followers
August 5, 2018
4.75 stars!

This was fantastic. And so very intense. There’s just something about Tim Floreen’s writing style that just really clicks with me.
Profile Image for Allyson Bogie.
180 reviews10 followers
August 23, 2016
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher.

Tattoo Atlas was totally gripping and I could barely put it down. Reading it was kind of like experiencing a really good action movie, and I felt the same way about Floreen’s first book, Willful Machines. The very first sentence is masterfully crafted and the story captivated me from there.

My first thought when I finished this book is that it's not for the faint of heart. It combines a school shooting, a lot of death, a violent video game, questionable human motivations, and some pretty intense technological concepts.

Jeremy, or Rem, lives with his mom and has lost many loved ones. His brother was killed in a war and one of his best friends was killed by another student named Franklin in a school shooting that took place one year before the book begins. It turns out that his mom, a scientist, is trying an experimental treatment on Franklin. She’s trying to understand what causes someone to pull the trigger, or not. Franklin’s treatment is the science fiction aspect of the story, but it doesn’t feel very far from reality at all. Rem is gay and is involved with a friend from his friend group. His sexuality doesn’t dominate the story but it does play an important role. This isn’t a book about being gay. It’s a book about all of the topics I listed above and the main character happens to be gay. He has romantic interests, just like most teens in YA literature.

Rem is mourning his friend and his brother, navigating friendships and possible romance, and developing a more complex relationship with his mother. His experiences feel realistic to me, and I think that many teens will relate to them. I'm a middle school librarian and I would recommend it to mature early high school readers and then any older reader who would be comfortable with these topics. It would be a great young adult book for adults to read, too. I wouldn’t recommend it to middle schoolers or students who have a hard time with violence. It may be appropriate for readers who have lost family or friends, but that would depend on the person.

Tim Floreen is writing very interesting stories and I am looking forward to reading his next book!
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews126k followers
January 5, 2017
After what happened last year, 17 year-old Rem Braithwaite never wanted to see Franklin Kettle again. Franklin murdered one of Rem’s best friends as Rem watched, a nightmare that has haunted Rem’s sleep since the day it happened. Now, Franklin is locked away in Juvenile Detention; Rem is doing his best to push the incident out of his mind and move on with the rest of his tight knit group of friends.

Then Rem’s mother, a neurologist at a major research lab, claims to have a possible cure for the monster inside Franklin. In an experimental procedure, Rem’s mother will plant a small device in Franklin’s head—a device she believes she can use to eliminate Franklin’s violent impulses.

As with his debut novel, Willful Machines, author Tim Floreen poses philosophical questions about the human condition while telling a story that’s creepy, suspenseful, sad, and beautiful all at the same time. I audibly gasped more than once reading this book, certain I knew where the story was going, only to be proven wrong. I can’t handle anything that’s too dark and twisted but Tattoo Atlas had just the right amount of psychological thriller to keep me intrigued without forcing me to sleep with the light on.

-Katie MacBride

from The Best Books We Read In November 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/12/01/the-be...
Profile Image for J. Taylor.
1,316 reviews28 followers
March 12, 2019
Second novel of this author and I loved it again. His writing and his characters are just so on par, I can't wait for his next novel. This one really made me feel everything, it ended on a final note and I could really feel for the snowy like setting.

Profile Image for Is.
597 reviews
October 20, 2016
This is is a mindfuck of a book; simply, and crudely put. And as such, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

There’s some universal truths about me: I don’t like apples, but my favorite smirnoff flavor is apple. I hate bad ending, but I’ll look it over if the storyline is still amazing, regardless of the lack of HEA. Ever since I was in high school, and after a traumatizing ‘Not HEA,’ I’ve started this thing in which I look at the ending of a book. A lot of people don’t get it, and honestly I don’t need them to get it, it’s my thing. It’s my anxiety problem, it’s my security blanket. And so, naturally, I looked at the ending of this.

The question I get every time I confess this thing I do is, “Well, why would you want to read the book if you know the ending?” and the thing that gets me every time is how people believe the ending is what I read a book for. It isn’t, and it never was, and it never will be. Last time I was asked this I said, “As cliche as this sound, it’s not about the ending or the destination, it’s about the journey.”

“Being a nice person isn’t the same as being a good person, you know.”

What a journey is Tattoo Atlas. That’s what made this experience all the better for me; not the ending, but the journey Rem and Franklin went through. If any of you have Willful Machines, you know that Floreen writes an intricate storyline with technology and human nature and problems. He weaves it so that by the end your mind is in perpetual state of question.

“For better or worse, science had reduced the whole huge question of good and evil to a matter of electric impulses.”

Can evil be cured? That’s the question for Tattoo Atlas. Can a sociopath be cured through science, can empathy be created or stimulated through science? This book is a mindfuckery. For more reasons that one;

one, you feel conflicted if you should be pairing/sipping Rem with Franklin.

two, Franklin killed Rem’s best friend

three, first twist happens, and maybe shipping isn’t inappropriate

four, the twists and lies mount and you don’t know what to believe

five, lies and lies and lies and truth come out and you don’t know who to blame

six, the ending.

“Guys are straight lines.”

This book had so much going on, and never was it overwhelming. There’s tragicness, and drama, and questions, and doubts. One of the hardest part of this novel was Rem, Tor, and Lydia. Honestly, I felt angry at Rem for so much, and of course Tor, and really Lydia deserved better from all of them. The ending I wish could have been a little more deserving for Lydia, but I’m glad that topic was rectified.

“A fragment of Rem Braithwaite to mix with all the fragments of Franklin Kettle.”

As for Rem and Franklin, I’m still unsure of how to feel. I’ll be honest and say that I shipped them for a while, and maybe I still do. The whole question of evilness and is it evilness or is it about a person doing evil things?

I just really loved how everything weaves together, and how you doubt yourself so many times. How Franklin is developed throughout the novel, and how things don’t appear to be what they are. I’d really love to discuss this book with others because it’s so intricate, and at the end of the day it was amazing and creating so many emotions.

“After the Big Band, in my mind, I’d made him a monster. And later I’d made him innocent. When really he’d been neither.”

For more of my reviews visit me at the The Written Voice of Is
Profile Image for Blodreina (Red Queen).
388 reviews46 followers
June 2, 2019
- “I mean, it’s true you were never all that nice to me, but when was the last time anybody fell for someone for being nice?

♠ Può davvero esistere un modo per ‘spegnere’ alcuni istinti malvagi e invece ‘accendere’ quelli buoni come l’empatia, la compassione e la bontà? E se davvero fosse possibile una cosa del genere sarebbe eticamente giusto? Insomma, il mondo non è una bilancia? Esistono le persone buone ma purtroppo esistono anche quelle cattive. Non sarebbe una violazione della persona, pur malvagia che sia? Non sarebbe un annullamento del libero arbitrio? Se tutti avessimo una capsula nel cervello che controlla le nostre emozioni, e quindi le nostre reazioni, non saremmo tutti delle persone finte e manipolate? In fondo, come si vede nel libro, dovrebbe esserci qualcuno che tiene tutto sotto controllo, che ci controlla, ma allora chi ci assicura che quel controllore non possa cedere ad istinti malvagi? Chi controlla il controllore? E poi è davvero necessario usare la scienza? La forza di volontà, la morale, l’etica, non sono sentimenti abbastanza forti? Perché secondo alcuni non si può imparare ad essere buoni ma si può invece essere plagiati e diventare cattivi? E se si compie un azione malvagia spinti da terzi di chi è la responsabilità? Come dimostrare che è stata quella capsula a spingerci a farlo? E se non fosse stata davvero la capsula?

♠ Per la seconda volta in un anno Tim Floreen mi ha colpita. Per la seconda volta in un anno mi ritrovo a dare ad un libro con uno sviluppo di trama e personaggi da due stelle o meno quattro stelle belle piene perché….quant’è stato bello. Chiudere il libro alle due di notte, stanca morta per il lavoro, sapere che il giorno dopo alle 7 devo di nuovo essere in piedi per pulire casa, fare la spesa, pagare le bollette, andare a lavorare (e lavorare in una cucina di un ristorante ti ammazza, gente) però trovarsi ad addormentarsi alle 3 perché nella testa ti girano mille domande a cui non sei nemmeno sicura di volere o poter dare una risposta e alla fine puoi solo dire: Non lo so. Non so cosa pensare, non so cosa provare, non so cosa credere. Non so più niente.

♠ Io però li shippavo. Mi hai sentito Franklin. Vi shippavo. E non so se era perché ho sempre un debole per i disadattati o se perché nonostante il mio cuore di ghiaccio in fondo spero sempre nel lieto fine ma… io ci credevo, ci credevo davvero. Non si fa così, Franklin…
Profile Image for Fenriz Angelo.
420 reviews25 followers
February 6, 2017
This is a new to me author, I liked Willful machines a lot so I gave this book a try too. While I enjoyed it as much as his other book it doesn't mean I must rate it as high because I think Tattoo Atlas has many flaws that I cannot let go.

The story is solid, gripping since chapter one and suck you in till the end but when I let my head cool to actually think about I'd just read I couldn't help notice that first, I didn't know how much in the future the book was, also the videogame had so much weight on the story and Franklin's abilities I didn't buy it. I'm a gamer and I can see the videogame is a rip off Call of Duty, tho some of those games can be considered a more or less realistic render of war (see Battlefield 1 as the most realistic game about World War I) one can't asume you would actually know how to kill and hack devices by playing a videogame. Also, you cannot hack everything with just an ipod and who the fuck let's a tech nerd have an iPod???. The police was nonexistent like...for real there's two shootings and the school wasn't thoroughly searched nor the students interrogated hmm..ok.

Despite all that I really liked the book in general? None of the characters were likeable, but they were flawed and you never knew who to trust but you wanted them to be okay nevertheless. I knew where the story headed I didn't expect the lack of HEA but I'm glad it had that ending otherwise it would have felt forced. I think the message about ethics the author tried to achieve in the book was good, I think he has potential in his stories and I hope he gets to write more.
Profile Image for Maximiliano.
8 reviews
November 19, 2016
I loved how this book portrayed human nature and its inifinite reach. How trying to separate the human mind into a black or white spectrum is not a correct assessment. This book manages to achieve, throughout each and every one of the characters, how good and evil cannot be separated; how one cannot live without the other.

When you read a book or watch a movie you're always telling yourself "Oh, that guy's the good one, he has all the right motives, we should root for him". But this book showed real humans. Flawed. Not completely good, but not completely evil either. Who are you going to root for when everyone has made their share of "wickedness"?

The artsy parts of the book were lovable. I loved the imagery, Rem's imagination, the use of music to express the characters' feelings, and the use of poems as an important part of the characters' moods. And I loved that our main character always had smushes of paint on his clothes.

Those last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat, literally. I actually felt scared for myself, and I thought that at any moment the killer would enter my room and dispose of me. I love when an author can make me feel like that. The bittersweet ending made me want more, and my tears thought the same.
Profile Image for sage.
18 reviews
March 5, 2017
This book held my attention from start to finish.
I loved every bit of it and I might've cried one too many times.
The writing wasn't beautiful or anything like that, just the plot, the plot was interesting.

The characters are so well developed I've grown fond of all of them, except for Tor he can definitely choke.
This book i complex and, although it might be a big quote, it talks, even for a brief moment, about the lack of gun policy in the US, why it's an issue and although it's brief, it was beautiful how it was written in with the plot.

I sobbed when I finished the book, not out of happiness though. This book broke me.
Overall it's a really good book, brings up the right questions and makes you wonder and have empathy towards others, even when you think you'd act a certain way in a situation they're facing.

I loved every bit of it.
Profile Image for Curtis Davenport.
100 reviews10 followers
October 24, 2016
4.75 stars!!!
Went into this novel with no expectations and was BLOWN AWAY BY THE END OF THE FIRST. CHAPTER!!!
"Tattoo Atlas" is a great standalone about our perception of good and evil, and if "evil can be cured like a disease". Even though the characters felt trope-y in the first quarter, by the time you reach the middle portion you'll have characters that you hated you love, characters you hated you despise, and characters you DIDN’T WANT TO SEE GO!!!
I really loved Rem and Franklin's relationship, though it was rushed and I wished we got to see MORE!!! I was totally shipping them romantically (and maybe, just praying that they would have at least something romantically sexual, but oh well!) by page 170!
Profile Image for Deseree Jones.
7 reviews
June 11, 2017
What a book! (For this review I am going to be vague to be careful not to give away spoilers!) For this week's genre choice I really wanted to read Ember of Ashes but the library did not have it. I was disappointed when I had to choose another book and just reading the first chapter of Tattoo Atlas, I knew that it would be a painful book to get through. The first chapter involved a human eating a live mouse and I could not even finish the paragraph so I thought this was going to be a bad book that would not fit my taste.

I was so wrong! I read this book in about 4 hours total, I could not put it down!! It took so many twists and turns that made me gasp out loud a few times. It was a book that really kept my interest the whole time and before I knew it, it was 2am and I was still reading.

I think what I loved the most was the integration of psychology in this book. They really tied in psychology with the mystery and thriller theme of this book. Because of that, it made me really think and analyze the characters and the events that happened in the book. It discussed really advanced psychology and science in general, and how it affected the character Franklin. I love psychology so I found this aspect very enjoyable.

All of the characters had distinct traits and the author was very detailed in everything. I love when that happens because it makes it easy to really envision yourself watching the story in your mind, which is ironic because a big part of this book was watching themselves in a video game as if they were actually in it.

The ending wasn't necessarily predictable but it did not surprise me, which was fine because throughout the whole book the author had so many different twists that I kept switching who I thought was the murderer. There was a lot of information to keep up with and it was very detailed, so I had to re-read some paragraphs to keep up because I was so interested in figuring out the killer. The ending gave me anxiety because I was just waiting to see how it would all play out! I was definitely sucked in.

Another thing I loved was the Tattoo Atlas theme. The main character, Rem, had kept a notebook that he painted in. He painted mainly dark things, but all of the paintings were his illustrations of events that had happened in his life and left a permanent imprint on them. He did not have a tattoo himself (until the very end) but he loved the idea of painting all of his life experiences. It gave a really personal touch to the book.

This was overall a great book. It had the in-depth characters that made you feel like you knew them and empathize with them. It had the mystery and thriller. It did not really start out as a mystery so when there was a murder that occurred, I was so excited with the twist because it gave me something to think about and try and solve. I give this book a solid 5 stars and would recommend to anyone who loves thrillers.
Profile Image for Eine Klingel.
1 review
April 15, 2023
I'm giving it a 5/5 because this book got me so hooked and it hurt me like no other book can.
There are lines that are very memorable that I had to forcefully forget because I was a crying mess the week I was reading it. The characters are so well-written but I won't hide my disappointment with the MC. I'd tell everyone to read this book (if you're ready for the emotional rollercoaster ride).
Profile Image for Kristina.
13 reviews2 followers
May 16, 2017
The premise of this novel is intriguing, and raises the ever-asked and perhaps unanswerable question: should we, if possible by means of technology, interfere with the brains of others to alter their personalities in an effort to "improve" their humanity? This is a question I love to debate within my own mind, as you could argue the pros and cons of either side until the end of time. It is also interesting for me, as a person in the medical field, whose job it is to administer oral medications that essentially do much of what they are attempting to do to Franklin in this novel... Calm him. Create empathy. Do away with sociopathic tendencies. Carve a decent and acceptable human being from a fragmented brain. (The rest of this contains spoilers, FYI.) This book and it's premise started out strong for me, however, the entire relationship between Rem and Franklin felt off, strange, and wrong to me. I understand what the author was attempting to do, and even how he built this as a poor choice on top of a history of poor romantic choices for Rem, but it felt too forced. I often cringed at some of the scenes because I myself struggled to reconcile the Franklin who murdered Pete with the character now written before me, and it seemed downright unbelievable that Rem would have these strong feelings for someone he despised, who murdered his friend in front of him, who would have murdered him if not stopped, and for someone (save one locker room scene) he did not seem to care about at all. Perhaps it would have been more believable had the author built up a history between these two, but there was nothing, and so it felt strange. I did like how, for a few moments, the storyline did have me questioning whether the murderer was indeed Tor, and the Emily Dickinson poem reveal honestly made me freeze in my seat. But there were many parts of the book, such as having to believe in the hacking and sneaking abilities of Franklin that seemed impossible, as well as the disappointing end (Just shoot him, Rem! Do not kiss him as he dies while your friend is possibly bleeding to death! Do not end with that tattoo, Rem! Just no!) That made me drop this down to 3 stars. Overall a very enjoyable ride, one that gave me pause with questions of technology and humanity, but that could not quite pull out the satisfactory end I was rooting for.
Profile Image for Noelle Strait.
11 reviews
March 16, 2017
This book grappled with some tough issues and made the reader decide what "evil" and "love" mean. The mother of the main character, Rem, is trying to see if they can cure Franklin, a psychopathic teenager, using a brain implant. However, as the book progresses, the reader begins to learn that the mother's methods are not always conventional and moral. Rem is stuck wondering if evil is curable, and if the end result outweighs the corrupt measures taken to get there. Rem not only battles with the evil he knows -- the school shooter, Franklin -- but with the evil he is discovering. Rem recognizes that Franklin must be "evil", based on his actions, and wonders if an implant could ever change his dark soul. Although, as the book progresses, Rem starts to see a different side of Franklin, and he is forced to evaluate his beliefs on the permanence of evil. Around the same time, he begins to learn that his mother's experiments stray from the straight and narrow. Could the cure for evil really come out of immoral practices and motives?
Rem is an openly-gay high school student and has spent months pining over one of his close friends (Tor). He has no questions or insecurities about his sexuality, but he does start to feel quite confused when he begins to have feelings for post-implant Franklin. Love can span gender, but can it span right and wrong? Rem begins to think he must be incredibly messed up to fall for the murderer of one of his friends. And yet, this believed psychopath has treated Rem better than Tor ever had. He then wonders if his feelings for Franklin are genuine, since the Franklin he knows is just one piece of the whole person's history.
This book was a thrill ride, full of constant twists and shocks. I could not put it down! I had to keep reading so I could find some resolution. Tim Floreen made some bold choices with his level of graphic content and his characters' personalities, but it was successful in hooking an audience. He not only weaved an enticing story, but tied in deep, difficult questions for his audience. I loved this book from cover to cover and I would recommend it to any and everyone!
Profile Image for mckenna ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ.
348 reviews2 followers
January 7, 2019
Holy. Sh*t. I don’t even know where to begin with this book; when I first picked it up I thought “oh sure, let’s go with this” but I’ve never been so happy to buy a book on a whim! This novel had so many intricate characters and mysterious plot lines and while some may have been farfetched there isn’t one thing I would change about this book! Let’s break down Franklin for a minute...oh my GOD. So Franklin was always a messed up kid but after getting a surgery done his mind was manipulated into acting on those thoughts and killing his classmate (HOW DOES THE AUTHOR THINK OF THIS, SO COOL!) and throughout the novel you can look back and catch hints after it’s revealed that Franklin’s empathy was switched on and off. It’s incredible how you can find yourself feeling bad and feeling empathy yourself for a school shooter but it’s so much more complex than that. Empathetic Franklin is a sweet, caring character and seeing him switch back and forth between sociopathic tendencies and real human emotions is astonishing! In the end when Franklin shoots himself while feeling empathetic my jaw literally DROPPED. Franklin had said he couldn’t live with himself when he was feeling human again knowing what he’d done when the switch was flipping and in that moment you feel so terrible for this teenager that they put through this. Constantly switching between anger and bliss and being aware of what you used to be when that switch is flipped is a fascinating story and I am THRILLED to have read this story! I would definitely highly recommend this book to anybody who is interested in something a little more serious and something sci-fi!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ririn.
683 reviews4 followers
October 27, 2016
"So what did he do?"
Franklin's eyes darted toward me. "He kept me away from you."

This could have been the most romantic book I read this year, until it's not. Somewhere along the way it turns into a thriller with sci-fi element O.o and I love it. Sure there are things that are just too good to be true: Franklin's hacking ability (come on, he was held in the facility owned by military), the cops who always seem to be sleeping.

But I love the idea and I also love the overall execution (no pun intended). It's disturbing and sad and sweet and hopeful and dark and so fucking sad. Rem can be so dumb about Tor sometimes, though I can totally understand his 'feelings'. I love Callie. She's keeping it real. I even love sociopath!Franklin (I blame this to the fact that I love Jerome Valeska from Gotham). I love that moment between Rem and Franklin in the gazebo. That was the most beautiful scene in the entire book. I love the little scenes they have. Until of course lover boy went into Terminator mode.

Most disturbing moment: Franklin and the mouse in the beginning of the book. That was actually what dragged my interest tho haha.

"Maybe you should draw a tattoo about that kiss, Rem. That would be something."

PS: This book almost, almost went to my ship-it-like-fedex shelf. Almost. Because Rem is kinda dumb about it.
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Profile Image for Kinsey.
309 reviews7 followers
October 28, 2017
2 1/2 stars

An interesting premise about the morality of interfering with someone's free will, but the novel seemed 1) far too rushed, 2) was filled with unsympathetic and downright unlikable characters, and 3) failed to make me root for Franklin and Rem's "relationship" or Franklin's new-found empathy which - considering those two things were the very basis of the novel - left me feeling very meh about the whole thing.
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