Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Spliced #1

Spliced

Rate this book
In this gripping sci-fi thriller, genetically altered teens fight for survival in a near-future society that is redefining what it means to be human.
Sixteen-year-old Jimi knows people change, but nothing could prepare her for what’s about to happen to her best friend, Del. Del is obsessed with becoming a chimera (ki-mir-a): a person who pays back-alley geneticists, known as ""genies,"" to illegally splice animal genes into their own. The resulting physical changes have scared lawmakers into drafting legislation declaring chimeras officially nonpersons—so when Del goes missing, Jimi is desperate to find him before he alters himself forever.
As she tries to save him, Jimi must face down unscrupulous people and risk her own life—all while knowing that if getting spliced is the choice Del has made, it means he’s leaving her behind forever.

400 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jon McGoran

28 books169 followers
Jon McGoran is the author of ten novels, including Spliced, Splintered and Spiked, a trilogy of near-future YA science fiction thrillers from Holiday House Books.Spliced was named to the ALA’s Library Information Technology Association (LITA) inaugural 2018 LITA Excellence in Children’s and Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Lists and was also named one of the American Bookseller’s Association’s 2017 ABC Best Books for Young Readers. The sequel, Splintered, comes out May 2019. His other books include the acclaimed ecological thrillers Drift, Deadout, and Dust Up, from Tor/Forge Books, and The Dead Ring, based on the hit TV show, The Blacklist. Writing as D. H. Dublin, he is the author of the forensic thrillers Body Trace, Blood Poison and Freezer Burn, from Penguin Books. His short fiction includes stories in the recent anthologies Hardboiled Horror and Joe Ledger: Unstoppable, as well as the novella “After Effects,” from Amazon StoryFront; Bad Debt, which received an honorable mention in Best American Mystery Stories 2014; and stories in a variety of other anthologies. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, a group of published authors dedicated to writers helping writers. When not writing novels and short fiction, McGoran works as a freelance writer and developmental editor and co-host of the writing podcast The Liars Club Oddcast. Find him on Twitter at @JonMcGoran, facebook.com/jonmcgoran/ or at www.jonmcgoran.com. Or visit www.spliced.world and splice yourself!

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
268 (29%)
4 stars
309 (34%)
3 stars
250 (27%)
2 stars
58 (6%)
1 star
19 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews
Profile Image for Lori.
308 reviews100 followers
February 3, 2018
It is as much a parable against hate crimes as a story, not that he is wrong. Deciding that a person or group of people do not quite rate as fully human, is an important first step in rationalizing crimes against them.

Some of my quibbles:

These teens strike me as preternaturally mature. It made them easier to relate to by me. I'm not a teen.

That guy is not a chimera, so how are his eyes fluorescing without at little jellyfish or firefly DNA. Maybe it is a new figure of speech like 'sparkling eyes.'
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
October 5, 2017
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Chimera (ki-mir-a) n. A person who pays back-alley geneticists to illegally splice animal genes into their own. 16-year-old Jimi is not prepared for the changes her best friend, Del wants to make in his life. As she feels him slipping away she tries to hold on tight. When Del runs off she knows that he's going to do something he'll regret in the future... become a chimera! With a scary law being drafted into State legislation, Del could officially become a nonperson and with his anger issues she knows it won't turn out well. Can she accept that when Del is spliced they'll be parted forever?

The cover drew me in... I picked it right out of a stack of ARCs and the premise sounded promising. I wasn't disappointed either, which makes me happy! I liked the idea that this was a dystopian world but that instead of it being about a corrupt government or special powers manifesting it was about the nature of what it means to be human. It felt spot on that the world was quite devastated, that the population has been reduced and returned en mass to the cities, that animals are quite extinct, fossil fuels are limited and augments to humans is quite popular.

The idea of chimera is quite an intriguing one and I liked how it was explored with the merging of DNA. Splicing and being able to reverse it and all that jazz made for a great discussion about humanity. I do think the story got a touch preachy at times. It's great to have a message but when I feel like I'm being beat about the head its a little too much!! Still you can see the parallels that are being made to issues going on in society today. I kept screaming that it was their choice! Sometimes we forget about choice in pushing our causes and that goes for both sides...

I quite liked Jimi right from the beginning. I found her easy to follow around. She is a good kid but not pretentiously so. She's a little confused about this whole chimera things. She's too much of an obedient girl to get caught up in it but she's too much of a kind person to fall for the opposing sides hatred campaign. She's caught in the middle. She felt 16 to me and was dealing with losing her last child hood friend. The others we learn about have already abandoned her and so I really felt for her and understood why she held onto Del.

I didn't care for Del. You know that friend you have SOOOO many good memories with but who fell into drugs or petty thievery and pranks? That's Del. I think we at least know someone like that, they're called trouble but they're not a bad person, they just have bad judgement. What really worked about Del was that I believed Jimi felt this way about him! I was totally feeling their friendship and the horror Jimi felt at it slipping away. She couldn't go on with the future without giving it her all to save the past.

So yeah the relationships were spot on and there were quite a few more... A mother who is overprotective and doesn't quite believe Jimi is an adult... An older brother who hogs the parental affection, but not maliciously so. Rex, the chimera who does all he can to help Jimi on her quest to find her friend. Ruth, Ryan, Pell and Sly the other chimeras who become acquaintances then friends of Jimi as she delves into the chimera world. These friendships worked well to me. Even the girl from her past whom she meets again and the girl who wants to reverse her splice all informed Jimi's interactions with the chimera world.

I really appreciated Jimi's change from this uncertain girl, who doesn't know if becoming a chimera is a good or bad thing so much as a crazy thing to someone who stands up for chimera rights and acts against those that would hurt her friends. She also had to grow from someone holding onto her old friend who is no longer in sync with her to allowing others into her life who could be as close if not closer that Del. This development is not perfect (Jimi is quite wishy washy through the middle) but i appreciated the beginning and end.

The problem I had with the narrative was that it was ALL telling YET it was telling that happened at the right moment and it felt very natural. Even superior telling though becomes wearisome. Blessedly it happened in amongst the breakdown of Del (i.e. the setup). Because the plot worked a little more than the storycraft it helped the reader to get past all the telling and hide that fault. It helped the pacing kept the story rolling forward!

Plot wise the last 40% was quite good... it took a little too long to get here and things were a little rushed at the end but is was quite well developed. The story really came into its own once we got past the middle. The end quite redeemed the middle actually!!

Overall I had fun reading this take on a dystopia future. I think the environment and animal causes made for an intriguing premise. I loved the focus on friendship with the touch of romance. Romance doesn't need to hit us over the head, it can be light and a changing of perspectives. I would certainly read the next installment!!

⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Relationships
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Feelings

BOTTOM LINE: Do you have an affinity for animals? If you do you'll enjoy this sci-fi future!

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
______________________
You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
Profile Image for Leah.
38 reviews
January 19, 2018
3.5 A fun, quick, dystopian read. Maybe a little heavy-handed with the commentary on today’s society for adult readers. But a good read for teens with lots of adventure and plot-twists. The book brings up many ethical questions (re: genetics, environment, race, discrimination) so it could be interesting for a book discussion.
Profile Image for Annalee.
119 reviews6 followers
July 3, 2018
Another camp read. I think I should have been more social.

This book was confusing. Also, this review will probably be pretty short because I don't know what to say. There were a lot of plot holes that weren't filled in and a lot of characters that weren't that well-developed. I had really high hopes for this book but they weren't fulfilled. 
Profile Image for Mal Warwick.
Author 29 books403 followers
November 8, 2021
You’ll notice early on that Spliced was written for young adults. Teenage protagonist? Check. Lack of profanity? Check. No sex scenes? Check. But in other respects the novel meets all the other requirements of adult science fiction. The near-future world it portrays represents the logical outcome of trends fully in evidence today. The story is suspenseful and full of surprises. It centers on biological innovation which is just barely conceivable given the current state of the art in science. But it also displays one of the flaws inherent in much YA literature. Its teenage heroine is endowed with skills and insights she is unlikely to have. Yet it all works reasonably well. You should find it possible to suspend disbelief as the story rushes to a powerful conclusion.

TEENAGERS HAVE FOUND SOMETHING COOLER THAN PIERCINGS AND TATTOOS

Spliced is the first book in a trilogy about the social impact of chimera technology when widely adopted by young people. In this near-future world, genetic engineering has made it possible for humans to undergo chimera therapy that will modify their biology to express animal characteristics. This is biological innovation run wild. Some, with bird DNA embedded in their genome, now grow feathers. Their faces resemble those of birds. Others express as dogs, lions, tigers, or other species. “Chimeras had been a thing for at least fifteen years, after the bio-hackers started mixing with the body-mods to see what would happen.” The practice has grown so widespread that a popular backlash is growing. And legislation is under consideration to reclassify chimeras as nonpersons and thus outside the law.

JIMI CORCORAN

Jimi Corcoran is a bright and athletic sixteen-year-old who lives with her seventeen-year-old brother, Kevin, a basketball star, and their mother. It’s sometime late in the twenty-first century or early in the twenty-second. Climate change and a series of deadly flu epidemics have forever altered American society. Most of the survivors live in the major cities, which are still able to maintain electrical and water services. The suburbs, known as “zurbs,” are largely deserted. Some small towns continue to operate with their own solar and wind generating facilities. But Jimi and her family are reasonably secure in their home in northwest Philadelphia. She’s a star student and set upon attending Temple University after she graduates, which is now almost two years off.

DEL GRAINGER

As a young child, Jimi had hung out with three friends. Leo Byron has long since moved across town with his parents. Nina Tanaka was from a well-to-do family and had gravitated to a different crowd in high school. But Del Grainger, who lived next door, remained her best friend. The only problem is, Del is wild and frequently gets into trouble. His mother had committed suicide a few years ago, and his father, Stan, had gone off the deep end. He’d always been a mean man. But his wife’s suicide turned him into a monster, who routinely beat Del. To make matters worse, he’s a cop. The boy often turns up bruised and bloody on her doorstep at night.

A FATEFUL DETOUR INTO THE ZURBS

The action starts in earnest one morning when Jimi and Del have missed the bus—his fault, of course—and they choose a shortcut to walk to school. The detour carries them into the violence-prone zurbs, where they encounter an old abandoned house where a number of chimeras live. When the police show up to arrest the chimeras, Del goes crazy and attempts to murder one of the officers. Jimi saves the man’s life. Thus begin their adventures, his on a rebellious path to become a chimera, hers to rescue him when he disappears. The dangerous routes they take through this troubled land involve them in a high-stakes battle between the chimeras and a society that has grown intolerant and vicious toward them. And in the process they tangle with “this bazillionaire named Howard Wells” who funds and leads Humans for Humanity, or H4H, which spearheads the effort to criminalize chimeras.

“HUMAN” VS. “PERSON”

The legal conceit on which the action in this novel revolves is the distinction between two seemingly identical words. “Human was a biological and social concept. Legally it had no meaning. But legally, a person was someone with rights and protections, compared to a non-person, which has all the rights of a cinder block or an apple.” Remember, under more than a century of rulings by the United States Supreme Court, a corporation is a person. That’s the basis of the Court’s notorious 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In addition to the three YA novels in his Spliced trilogy, Jon McGoran has written three ecological adult thrillers as well as The Dead Ring, based on the hit TV show, The Blacklist. Writing as D. H. Dublin, he is also the author of three forensic thrillers. McGoran is a founding member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, a group of published authors dedicated to supporting writers, readers, and the people who bring them together. When not writing novels and short fiction or cohosting The Liars Club Oddcast, a podcast about writing and creativity, he works as a freelance writer, developmental editor, and writing coach.
Profile Image for Nancy Kotkin.
1,405 reviews19 followers
May 19, 2019
This future dystopian world is ravished by climate change (Sound familiar?) and flu pandemics (Sound familiar?), forcing everyone to crowd back into the cities where electricity is still available and even more important due to the depletion of fossil fuels and the adoption of electric-powered cars. Though the narrative does get a bit preachy at times, the story is set up to support that with two opposing political and ideological factions (Sound familiar?). One of those factions believes that people whose genes have been spliced with animal DNA are now less than human (The gene splicing is original, at least with animals, but does the xenophobia and distrust of diversity sound familiar?). The job of science fiction is to show us what could happen, and serve as a warning; Spliced fulfills those functions admirably. This is science fiction that is terrifying in the same way as The Handmaid's Tale in that a lot of this could actually come true in the not-too-distant future.

A creative premise that delivers on its promise. The true test of a great book for me is two-fold:
1) Do I deeply care about the characters and what happens to them?
2) Do I think about the themes and issues raised, even after closing the back cover?
Spliced meets both those criteria in my opinion. The characters are developed well and the themes are timely, relevant, and important, even critical. Also, the title is intriguing and the cover is eye-catching.

Rex's true identity came as a surprise to me, though the real mission of Haven did not. And I have theories about Aunt Dymphna and Chimerica that I will keep to myself. The nice thing about waiting to read the first book in a series or trilogy is that the second book is already out and I can dig right in.
Profile Image for Frank.
3 reviews2 followers
October 11, 2017
I have read all of Jon's books and have found them all very thought provoking. I have always enjoyed his characters, subject matter, and writing style.

Spliced is a YA book and I wanted to see what it was all about. The idea of being injected with animal dna and taking on some attributes fascinated. I found it a very fast read and it was a definite page turner. I would recommend this book for adults in addition to YA.

Treat yourself, treat yourself to a Jon McGoran, start with Spliced.
Profile Image for Alison.
44 reviews
June 27, 2019
I don't normally write reviews, but I felt bad giving it a single star and not saying why. So, here's why:

This book is . . . Not Great. For a lot of reasons, actually. Spoilers ahoy.

Let me start by saying that pieces of the worldbuilding were interesting and thought out well—it’s obvious that the author’s spent a lot of time thinking about a climate changing future and what that entails for us, so there were intriguing bits of that sprinkled throughout. That’s the nicest thing I have to say. Buckle up.

At the top of my list of grievances, because I’m qualified to speak to this: The science is just Bad. I get it, it’s science fiction—theoretically it’s allowed to bend the rules. However, as a biologist, the fake science bugged me A Lot. The general premise is people (usually teenagers, for whatever reason) can get animal DNA/features spliced into theirs for a price. The rich kids can do this with good fancy doctors. Most people, however, do it with back alley “genies,” who apparently can alter someone’s biology within twenty-four hours in a garage or abandoned house by sticking them with a viral vector and infecting them with animal DNA to give them new physical traits. The soon-to-be chimera (that’s what spliced people are called) then undergoes a lengthy process that they call “sweating out the change,” where their biology and organs and bones and literally everything physical rearranges, again over the span of hours, and you emerge on the other side a chimera. If, however, you decide that you don’t like being a chimera, within 24-48 hours you can go to a “fixer,” a doctor who can somehow reverse this process, but if you wait longer than that, you’re stuck forever.

That’s just not how any of that works. Like, at all.

Human bodies fight off foreign invaders (like, for instance, animal DNA injected via viral vector), unless someone is immunocompromised. That’s, like, the whole point of the immune system. There was no mention of immunosuppressants or anything like that to deal with the body’s immune response, and somehow this whole chimera vector thing is in a couple of syringes, max? Plus, bodies don’t just rearrange and grow new organs and bone structures and glands and what have you over the course of hours while someone lies in an abandoned house under a blanket, which is how we witness a couple chimeras “sweating out” their changes. I’m willing to buy some fudged science if it’s at least believable fudged science, and this was definitely not. Oh, and later on a character gets an emergency splice “stacked” onto him, when his first one almost kills him? So theoretically this bigger better one saves him from the first one, which is also just . . . wrong. Like. Why.

In addition to the science being atrocious, it’s also not super well established why people want to be chimeras in the first place? The tagline on the back of the book says “Getting spliced used to be a fashion statement. Now, it’s a death sentence,” but even the “fashion statement” bit isn’t explained super well in text. Most of the chimeras who the MC, Jimi, asks why they wanted to be spliced say something about “getting back to nature” (which humanity has wiped out, basically) and “honoring/remembering the animals we’ve killed,” or something to that extent. Or they just think It’s Neat(TM). The rich kids clearly do it because it’s cool and trendy, but that no longer makes sense given the book’s political climate. There’s an extremist group (a large extremist group) called Humans for Humanity (H4H) trying to get the Genetic Heritage Act (GHA) passed, which means that anyone who’s not 100% human is no longer a person. But there are huge demonstrations and rallies for this thing, and it’s a popular enough idea that chimeras are ostracized. And yet. People. Still. Choose. To get. Spliced. Just cuz it looks cool, basically, is what I got from my read.

So not only did I not buy the fact that people would want to do this to themselves (because it’s always voluntary—no one forces anyone to be a chimera, ever), I also don’t buy the H4H logic and the fact that the GHA ACTUALLY PASSES IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA IN THIS BOOK. It seems weird to me that what’s essentially an elective body modification surgery can mean that people are no longer people? I feel like it’s one thing if you’ve always been part animal, part human, but these people were literally fully human before the opted for this procedure.

It’s impossible not to understand the Real World Parallels, because this book is incredibly heavy handed: Chimera hate is a stand-in for racism and other types of discrimination (although shout out to the giant YIKES I felt when I actually read the word “homosexuals” with my own two eyeballs in the MC’s narration about other groups a certain mega church has discriminated against), but my issue with that is that it’s a false equivalent. You choose to be a chimera (for whatever awful unexplained Reasons). You don’t choose to be a person of color or queer or neurodivergent or marginalized. Trying to parallel the backlash chimeras face in their quest to be recognized as fully people with the struggles that people of color face Doesn’t Work, period. (This isn’t my lane, by the way, I’m super white, but I’m surprised I didn’t see anything along these lines mentioned in the other reviews I read? So I wanted to at least throw it out there, but I’m by no means an expert. Please listen to people of color.)

In addition to the paralleling not working, it also sets up a nasty “white savior” situation with our MC, Jimi, becoming the Chimera Savior. Jimi is not a chimera. Jimi is the one who miraculously saves the endangered chimeras at the end, and makes a rousing speech on TV about how we all gotta love each other and get along. Jimi saves the day. Which, I get that she’s the MC, but with the paralleling to our own contemporary real world issues . . . yikes. 0/10 do not do, especially when you’re a white man writing a (probably—of course it’s not specified, but her name is actually Dymphna Corcoran, named after an Irish saint, so I’m Guessing) white protagonist.

Other miscellany that’s worth mentioning:

There were at least five (5) references to skeeviness (of the sexual harassment/edging toward narrlowly-avoided assault variety), and one attempted skeevyness ON PAGE. Against our 16-year-old girl protag (and one of the referenced ones was when she was a KID ON A PLAYGROUND). I get it, that’s life. As a female-presenting person, trust me, I get it. However. Just because it’s life doesn’t mean I want to read about it in a YA sci-fi thriller that’s not about that sort of thing. It was very jarring, and made my pulse skyrocket every time in panic, and it was borderline creepy to me, because the author is a middle aged man.

Also, holy abuse, Batman. Jimi has one (1) friend, Del, and Del’s cop father is horrifically abusive. Physically violent (and, spoiler, murderously physically violent). Does Jimi or Jimi’s mom (Del’s NEIGHBOR) do anything to get Del out of this house and situation? Nope. Not a thing. Ever. Del just comes running to Jimi’s place when he’s SERIOUSLY INJURED for Jimi to help fix him up so they can share a kiss (their first! They’re best childhood friends but the kiss early on Changes Everything! Ew! Why!), and then start the plot, which is Jimi trying to track down Del before he gets spliced. The abuse is . . . not handled well, or thoughtfully. That’s frustrating and disheartening.

This book is also super info dumpy, especially at the beginning—we’ll be chugging along through (kind of stilted at times) dialogue, and then we’ll get a couple big paragraphs of Jimi explaining the world history, or current political climate (she’s a Very Informed Teenager, okay), or family drama, or whatever, and then we’ll proceed with the chapter. And the timeline is rushed—the whole book happens in like a week? I get that it’s a thriller and it’s supposed to be fast paced, but in this week, the plot follows Del 1. Not being a chimera, 2. Becoming a chimera, 3. Running away to a chimera Haven, and 4. Dying when chimera Haven turns out to be a secret hunting ground where people can pay money to track down and shoot chimeras for sport (y i k e s), so naturally he tries to blow up the town nearby and then his dad shoots him and Del’s the only one who gets blown up (double yikes). Oh, but this is all from Jimi’s POV, don’t worry: she’s trying to track down Del and make sure he’s okay this whole time. That’s the plot.

I just . . . why. To any of it. To all of it. Please don't let the cover (which, by the way, is a lizard [reptile] tail, not a salamander [amphibian] tail like it should technically be for Del) draw you in like it drew me in.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Wendy.
2,325 reviews40 followers
November 10, 2017
“Spliced” is an intriguing and imaginative sci-fi thriller set in futuristic Philadelphia where backstreet geneticists (genies) splice animal genes into humans for a price. Although the wealthy indulge in small splices hidden under hair and clothing, those that have altered their appearance (chimeras) are shunned, finding refuge in ruined homes in the zurbs. Confronted constantly by the hatred and injustice of Humans for Humanity (H4H) the story heats up when the governor of the state signs the badly written Genetic Heritage Act declaring chimeras nonpersons and denying them any rights.

In this bigoted atmosphere fueled by fear and animosity sixteen-year-old Jimi is upset when her only friend Del who’s abused by his father, a cop and anti-chimera advocate disappears after stealing the money to pay for his change. Afraid for him because of health risks if the body rejects the splice and scared that she might never see him again, Jimi sets out to find Del, determined to save him at any cost.

Fast-paced and well-written, the action never slows as Jimi faces riots, threats and has to trudge for miles in her quest to find Del. Skilfully Jon McGoran has developed a scenario where discrimination thrives and the injustice of legalizing it creates an environment where chimeras can be hunted for sport and murdered. With chilling twists you don’t expect as emotions heighten, events unfold that have Jimi changing her perception of the chimeras as her affection and respect for Rex as well as her friendship with Ryan, Ruth, Sly and Pell deepens. An exciting roller-coaster ride from beginning to end you can’t put this story down until its fiery climax.

Jon McGoran has created complex, realistic and unforgettable characters that infuse the plot with intensity, suspense and heart-pounding conflict. Jimi (aka Dympha) Corcoran named after an Irish saint is stubborn, determined and often impulsive. Haunted by the death of her father, and with a mother who’s a busy marketing consultant focused on getting her brother, a star basketball player into the best college, she feels abandoned and resolute in keeping her only friend Del from making a bad decision that will affect not only her future but his. Troubled, reckless and vulnerable Del Grainger who suffers at the hands of a zealous, brutal and uncaring father is self-centered and indifferent to the pain Jimi is experiencing or the risks she will take to save him. In contrast handsome, smart and honorable Rex is compassionate and protective, willing to do anything to save the teenage girl he feels may never accept him as he is. Yet it’s the cold heartedness of Officer Cantrell, the sadistic callousness of Stan Grainger, and the diabolical evil of Jasper and the Mayor of Pitman that lend a dark, spinetingling shiver to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Spliced” and rate it highly. I hope we’ll see more of Jimi, Rex and the chimeras in future.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews186 followers
June 2, 2018
Spliced by Jon McGoran, 360 pgs. Holiday House, 2017. $18.99 Language – R (113 swears, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG; Violence – PG;

HS – ADVISABLE.

Jimi does what is expected of her and tries to prevent her best friend, Del, from doing anything too crazy. Del is Jimi’s only friend, and they support each other when family drama overwhelms them. But then their lives are interrupted by politics of the times and questions about the legality of performing genetic changes by giving people animal DNA. As society divides and riots become common, Del goes missing, and Jimi will do anything to find him.

My first though after finishing this book was “wow,” and I just sat speechless for a moment. My second thought was that I hope McGoran writes a sequel. The characters in Spliced feel like dear friends to me now that it feels like I’ve gone through this grim time with them. With Jimi and her chimera friends, I rode the rollercoaster of hope and disappointment, I questioned what the right thing to do was, and I pondered the definitions of person and human. For me, the best part of Jimi’s journey was seeing different sides of humanity and which definition should be the politically correct and socially accepted one.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2018...
Profile Image for Samantha.
830 reviews24 followers
December 16, 2017
I love scifi and I love animal stories, this was a pretty awesome combination of the two. The entire time while reading this book I kept thinking "If I could, would I get spliced? What animal would it be?", I totally would, but I'm not sure what animal. This book kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. I kept thinking of the book The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell while reading this, I was reminded how creepy and eerie it was.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
9 reviews
September 22, 2018
Spliced is one of those books that feels so close to home, with the setting in Philadelphia it is. It also addresses humanity in such a different way. It is such an interesting read that can truly not be put down! I wish this book received more recognition. I read it months ago but I have not gone a day without thinking about "Spliced." Months later, and I am still recommending it to all of my friends!
Profile Image for Melody.
663 reviews8 followers
December 4, 2017
(4.5 stars)

Set in a near-future society (in this case in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) where mixing human DNAs with animals genes is used to be a norm, fashionable statement but is now considered as an unrecognised act and a violation against humanhood. This genetic transformation through injections of the animal's genes to the human's body is called Spliced and those who are spliced are called Chimeras. They often bear some characteristics of the animal of its genes they are affected, if not by its appearance, e.g. having a faint coat of fur on parts of their body or having a different skin tone and texture, etc. Still, they are humans overall, just that they are something different.

Sixteen-year-old Jimi and her best friend, Del, have known each other since they were children. Jimi lives with her mother and her elder brother, Kelvin. Her father had passed due to a flu pandemic and Del lives with his father, who is a cop and he could get abusive at times. They are all aware of the chimeras; and most of them steer clear of them to avoid any trouble. At that time a law for the Genetic Heritage Act (GHA) hasn't been passed and as long as they keep their distance from each other they are safe

Del, on the other hand, thinks the idea of being a chimera is cool. He still misses his dead pet salamander and as the days go the thought of getting himself spliced grows. Although Jimi sympathises the chimeras and the contempt they are receiving, she still doesn't understand why Del is obsessed with the idea until one day Del goes missing and it struck her that Del's relationship with his father has worsen and she fears he may get himself spliced to spite his father, considering the latter harbours strong negative feelings towards the chimeras. Jimi's search for Del intensifies as the story progresses and she befriends a few chimeras along the way through a few mishaps which has made her think differently of them and humanhood as a whole. By then, the law for the GHA has passed and the chimeras are no longer viewed as humans. In short, they have lost all the rights of a person and are viewed as mixies, or even animals. Given this circumstances, humans have the right to discriminate or mistreat them and it fuels Jimi's determination in searching Del, with the help of her new friends.

"...what's so great about being one hundred percent human anyway? You look at what humans do to each other, what they do to chimeras and to animals and to the planet. Chimeras are people, regardless of any law, but for some of us, 'human' just isn't a club we want to be a part of." ~ Pg 104


"I never meant to leave humanity, and I don't think I did. To me, being a chimera is about more fully joining the rest of the world, not about being any less of a human. And it's about being able to choose who and what you want to be." ~ Pg 239


Intense and emotionally driven, Spliced allows readers to imagine the future world of the genetics engineering and most importantly, the meaning of humanity. The characters are fleshed out and developed and I found myself cared for some characters the more I got to know them. The first part of the story focused much on the friendship between Jimi and Del, as well as the uncertainties and the tension between the residents and the chimeras. The second part sped up and focus more on the interactions between Jimi and her new friends, their search for Del and lastly, the risk and the challenge they have to face with the chimeras haters, who would do anything to wipe them out.

While reading this book, it occurred to me how timely this story is with the underlying tone of bias and the subject of discrimination. I rooted for Jimi all the way; for her courage, her fierce determination in searching for Del and lastly, her compassion and her protectiveness in her new friends, the chimeras as a whole. There is a small twist I certainly didn't see at the end, but it didn't alter my overall view of the story. Although it seems to have a closure, I'm hoping there is a sequel to it.

"Humanity isn't about DNA. It's about kindness and decency and treating others with compassion. ... It's time to stop bickering about who is a person, who qualifies as human and remember what it means to be human at all." ~ Pg 352


Note: Jon McGoran has written several thrillers for adults and this is his first book for young adults. He has also written a few books under pen name, D. H. Dublin.
Profile Image for Tammy.
837 reviews138 followers
October 30, 2017
The nitty-gritty: A super fun read with a cool concept, well drawn characters, and some social commentary for those who like depth with their action.

This might be the quickest I have ever read a book! I got through Spliced in just over a twenty-four hour time period, mostly because I stayed home sick from work and had lots of time to read, but also because this was such a fun and fast-paced story. I did, however, have some issues with the book, which I’ll go into later, but I can’t deny it was a great reading experience. When you figure in an extremely creative idea—genetically splicing animal genes into humans to create hybrid creatures called chimeras—you have an irresistible combination.

Jimi, her brother Kevin and their mom live in Philadelphia, in a future that has seen several world-wide catastrophes that have changed life for the worse. Something called the Cyber Wars between the U.S. and just about every other country resulted in the near destruction of the internet, and now only rich people have access to it, via implants called WellPlants. Several devastating flu epidemics have also thinned the population and created economic ruin for many families. In Philadelphia, the city is divided into the main city where electricity still runs, and the dangerous outskirts of town called the “zurbs” where solar power is the only option and houses lie in ruins. It’s the zurbs where most of the city’s chimeras live, humans who have been “spliced” by having animal genes injected into their systems, where they combine with human DNA to create animal characteristics.

Del lives next door and is Jimi’s best friend. One day after missing the school bus, Jimi and Del decide to cut through the zurbs in order to make it to school on time, when they witness police brutality against a group of chimeras who are minding their own business. Del is enraged and attacks one of the cops, leaving him for dead, although Jimi has too much of a conscience to let him die, and saves him before running off with Del. But soon after this incident, Del disappears, and Jimi is distraught.

Jimi knows she has to find Del, and so she befriends the chimeras who were attacked by the police. When she hears a rumor that Del might have been spliced himself, she joins forces with Rex, a chimera with dog-like qualities who has information that may lead them to Del. But finding him is only the beginning, as other chimeras have gone missing, and Jimi is certain that something bad is about to go down involving an anti-chimera group called Humans for Humanity.

McGoran’s story turned out to be less animal/human gene splicing science and more about the sociological implications of a new “race” of beings, and how this affects everything from politics to race relations. Spliced turned out to be very light on the science aspects of splicing, but although this bothered me a bit (I was hoping for more detail and physical descriptions of the how and why of splicing), I did appreciate the fact that the author chose to address some hot button issues that we’re dealing with today, which made for a very powerful story. Splicing has been more or less accepted for the past five to ten years, although it’s illegal for a medical doctor to perform a splice. That forces those who want to go through with the procedure to seek out back alley hacks where splices are hit or miss. Rich people can afford a “targeted splice,” like getting leopard spots on your back or even a small feather dangling from your ear, but most people simply choose the animal they want to be spliced with and hope for the best.

Splicing brought to mind a couple of things. First, I like the way McGoran addressed teen peer pressure, and getting the procedure (and having your friends try to pressure you into doing it) felt very much like drug or alcohol use. There is a very uncomfortable recovery period after splicing, and not all splices go well, and sometimes people die from the experience.

McGoran’s main message, however, deals with race relations. Chimeras are not only seen as different, and ostracized because of it, but a growing movement suggests that they shouldn’t even be considered human anymore. The city of Philadelphia has just passed the Genetic Heritage Act which proclaims that chimeras don’t have the same rights as humans. It certainly struck a little too close to home, what with all the drama our current presidential administration is causing. In fact, I wasn’t surprised to discover that one of the characters is a Trump-like bad guy who developed the WellPlant, the internet implant that only the top tier of society can afford.

I was also reminded of an old movie called Alien Nation  about a society where aliens have been integrated into daily life on Earth, but there is still a lot of prejudice against them. Clearly prejudice against people who are “different” isn’t going away anytime soon, which is sort of the point McGoran is making.

And because this is YA, you know there is going to be a romance. Initially I thought it was going to be between Jimi and Del, but since Del disappears for much of the story, the mysterious, attractive and “off limits” Rex gets the job. I honestly wasn’t bothered too much, because the romance is under the radar and definitely not the focus of the story.

However, I did have an issue with parts of the world building. The story is clearly set in the future (although I don’t recall the author mentioning the year), because there are such things as self-driving cars and mail drones, but those elements didn't really fit into a world where the energy grids seem so unpredictable. The whole story has the feeling of a post apocalyptic society, where those unfortunates that have to live in the zurbs don’t have any power (except solar), and yet there are train lines still running. 

There were also some logistical problems for me. A safe place for chimeras called Haven is outside the city, but it’s a little unclear just how far away it is. Considering it’s a big secret, I found it odd that it turned out to be only an hour train ride away. There was also a town called Pitman extremely close to Haven, and I never understood how Haven could remain a secret with so many people right in the neighborhood. I feel like McGoran went out of his way to describe his characters getting from one place to another, but it just didn’t always add up for me.

But despite my quibbles, I had great fun with this story, and there is a lot to chew on. The ending had a cool twist that I didn’t see coming, and the author even suggests that there could be a sequel on the horizon. If you're in the mood for an exciting story that will make you think, you'll definitely want to pick up a copy of this book.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

 This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy
Profile Image for Shelby Parker.
219 reviews
June 10, 2020
This book definitely does not feel like a YA book -- I took a Science Fiction course last semester and I would not bat an eye if this book was on our reading list. It is pretty difficult to find a book that draws you in from the very beginning, but I knew from page 1 that I was about to spend every waking minute reading this book. Plus, the other two books in this trilogy are already on my to-buy list.

The characters were incredible and complex. They acted like real humans and more specifically, like real 16 year-olds with their mixture of bravery, intelligence, and occasional stupidity. The characters, especially Jimi, were very honest in their weaknesses and their less than perfect notions, which I really respect; sometimes Jimi would lean towards the Humans for Humanity side, but she would always acknowledge that these initial thoughts and reactions needed work. Jimi grew as a character too and while Del may have changed as a character in the wrong direction, he still developed somehow (especially if you think about splicing and the act of "sweating it out" as a physical manifestation of character development).

I knew that this novel was going to touch on some deeper issues because of the way that the summary presented itself, but I did not know how relevant and connected the larger, deeper themes would be with many current issues: issues in gender and sexuality, race relations, pro-life versus pro-choice, and so many others. I really enjoyed that the chimera versus human debate was not a representation of one single current issue, but instead a conglomerate of issues that cannot be separated fully. It effectively shows how closely related these issues are even when they seem to be worlds away. Discrimination, no matter the origin or victim of said discrimination, is based on alienating a "different" subculture; "They might dress up their motivations in Howard Wells's fancy words, but really, they just needed someone to hate. Someone different. That's what this was about" (pg. 163).

I was concerned about the growing romance between Rex and Jimi because I did not see why it was necessary for a book such as this one, but at the end, I was certainly rooting for their relationship. It is not perfect and it is not fully formed, but both Jimi and Rex acknowledge that -- I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out in the next two books. The ONLY complaint that I have about this book (seriously, it is THAT good) is that the speech Jimi gave to the reporters at the very end was kinda lame; luckily, Jimi acknowledged that if she knew it was going to be broadcasted so widely, she would have made a better speech.

I do not think this review summarizes how much I love this book. If you are looking for a book to get you into the sci-fi realm, I think this would be a perfect choice. Oh and I am team E4E, in case it was not clear.
Profile Image for Rachael Hall.
25 reviews
June 13, 2020
I can easily say that I loved this book. Going in, I knew that I was intrigued by the science fiction aspect of adding and combining human and animal DNA. However, I wasn’t prepared for how quickly this book was going to grab my attention. Jimi is a rather likable female protagonist, who is focused on school, family, friends, and her future. As the novel progresses, the audience gets to see her do what not many other female protagonists I’ve encountered do - she takes matters into her own hands. I found myself very excited every time she stood up for herself, whether it was when she was arguing with Del or when she encountered various H4Hers. It was also very pleasing to watch Jimi develop her opinion of people who were spliced, from at first disapproving of them almost entirely to caring about the multitude of them at Haven.

Going off of that, the group described in the novel as Humans for Humanity is terrifyingly realistic. They are a group primarily driven by hate, and I love the fact that this idea is explored. Jimi’s different encounters with them each end badly, as she notes that all they want to do it hate individuals different from them. I also began this novel terrified that the romance plot was going to overtake the other aspects of the book, but I was thoroughly pleased when McGoran chose to delve deeply into whether or not people who were spliced should even be given human rights. Exploring the concept of “humanity” and what makes us people is a unique aspect about this book, which makes it worth reading.

While it certainly captivated my attention by quickly getting to the action, my one complaint is that the ending of her friendship with Del was rather predictable. Perhaps it was suppose to be this way, but I found I was disappointed when I turned the page and found out I was correct. On the other hand, however, I was certainly caught off guard by the revelation of who Rex was, which made up for any faults I found. Overall, I truly enjoyed the writing, pacing, and story present within Spliced. I have plenty of other books on my shelf to read, but if those run out, I will certainly be picking up this one again to read through Jimi’s world and its dilemmas.
Profile Image for XZ.
416 reviews18 followers
December 1, 2018
What defines a human?
What gives a person people rights?

In a future dystopic America, chimeras are a thing. A human can get animal DNA spliced into theirs, and begin to have animalistic traits. While these seem to be purely cosmetic, it still enrages some, who feel that not having pure human DNA makes you inhuman, and thus not worthy of human rights.

Jimi is a regular girl whose next door neighbour and best friend Del suffers an abusive father. Del seems to have snapped; his grades are at an all-time low, his personality seems to be warping, and he appears to be making friends in shady places. When police raid a house of chimeras in front of Jimi and Del, Del jumps right into the mess and disappears. Frantic, Jimi begins the hunt for her best friend.

I like Jimi. She's pretty straightforward, knows what she wants to do, and does it. She isn't a wimpy damsel in distress, but she doesn't transform into a superhero. She grows up as she learns new things, and she makes her decisions with both her brain and her heart. You don't see many YA heroines who are like that.

Del on the other hand is an asshole. I know he's got an abusive father and has seen many things happen, but he feels a lot like a bandwagoner. I don't even understand why he went and got himself spliced. He's very self-centred too.

The America in the story is pretty shaking. While we don't have these chimeric changes IRL, the way people reacted in the book reflects on how people do react now to other issues. I'm Christian, but I don't see any part of God's love in the hate in the book and in the world.

I'm clearing this as an OK for GRLs, but this book may be triggering to people with strong opinions about religion as it really shines light on the ugly side of humanity and what terrible things people do in the name of God.

But hey, if you get offended, it means the author's done his job in showing you what other people see, right?
Profile Image for Jadon C..
7 reviews2 followers
Read
January 12, 2018
Sixteen-year-old Jimi knows people change, but nothing could prepare her for what s about to happen to her best friend, Del. Del is obsessed with becoming a chimera : a person who pays back-alley geneticists, known as "genies," to illegally splice animal genes into their own. The resulting physical changes have scared lawmakers into drafting legislation declaring chimeras officially nonpersons so when Del goes missing, Jimi is desperate to find him before he alters himself forever.
As she tries to save him, Jimi must face down unscrupulous people and risk her own life all while knowing that if getting spliced is the choice Del has made, it means he's leaving her behind forever.

I rate this book a 4/5 because I'm not a active reader of the dystopian society genres, but I did find it to be an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Carolyn Elaine.
380 reviews3 followers
April 6, 2019
Jimi Corcoran is worried for her best friend, Del. Lately, he and his father have been fighting. A lot. Violently. Then, one day, Del disappears, making Jimi afraid he's going to get spliced.

To get spliced means that doctors and others combine a person's DNA with an animal of the person's choosing. To be spliced is to be part human and part animal.

Determined to find Del, Jimi enters into the world of shady police officers, hybrid teens, and complete wackos. Is Del worth risking everything?

I did not like this book as much as I thought I would. (I hated it.) When I read the description, I thought it sounded cool-sort of. Reading the book, I was becoming more and more bored, confused, and disturbed. I do not recommend this book, but that's my opinion. Have fun with it, otherwise.
Profile Image for Tara.
212 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2018
If you're looking for a young adult read with a very different premise but addressing some currently controversial issues, this is the book for you. In the future full of environment devastation, teens are opting to splice their DNA with animals. Certain factions of organizations feel this makes them less than human trying to pass hateful discriminatory laws, and barely can contain their hate in public. Jimi, the main heroine of our story, is an ordinary girl trying to get by with her best friend Del. But Del is troubled and is making questionable decisions... While there were times, especially during traveling moments, where you have to suspend your disbelief, the idea behind the laws and consequences are truly thought provoking.
Profile Image for E.K. Seaver.
Author 2 books57 followers
April 29, 2022
This was pretty good! I don't think I'll read the other books in the series, but the first book was cool. The little aspects of worldbuilding were well done, and the plot kept my attention. There were some pacing issues, but no book is perfect. A handful of cuss words but nothing big enough to take away from the value of the book.
Profile Image for Helen Moses.
262 reviews3 followers
December 12, 2017
What happens when people are spliced with animal DNA and become Chimera in a nation that says only people with all human DNA are humans? Jimi must find her neighbor when he undergoes a failed splice...

This might pair well with Nancy Farmer's House of the Scorpion as a way to infuse literature with science, especially biology.
Profile Image for Kailli.
10 reviews2 followers
December 21, 2017
Loved this book! Fell in love with the story, characters, and didn’t want it to end.
Profile Image for Kate.
965 reviews13 followers
January 3, 2018
YA-4.5 because it was so clever and unique but had to take a deduction for the ending. Because when it just ends-and there are still mysteries----that is not okay with me. The idea of gene splicing, and the idea of when are people not people anymore-very interesting. It could also certainly be applied to minorities fighting for rights,etc. Well written, fast paced, but really did not wrap things up well.
Profile Image for Dax Divine.
25 reviews2 followers
July 16, 2021
I kept reading hoping it would get better. This just was not for me. It sounded interesting, but I didn't like the characters. DNFed a little over halfway through.
27 reviews
November 19, 2018
I really liked the book and think it really conveys how hard life is for some people. I suggest you read it if you love animals and/or love fantasy books.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
92 reviews
December 6, 2017
Loads of fun

This is a great, fun and fast read. The idea is super original. Would you add animal DNA to your own if you could? The thought of it is interesting although scary. I guess this is considered a YA book but it certainly didn’t read like one. The characters are all very well developed with some unexpected surprises along the way. I’m pretty sure there will be a sequel...well at least I hope so!
Profile Image for nitya.
54 reviews
February 14, 2022
2.5 rounded up. honestly this is a pretty fun dystopian novel, and i did enjoy it and all the twists and whatever but like the white liberal guilt is real in this guys
Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.