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Surface Tension

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  242 ratings  ·  103 reviews
After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital.

A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his ta
Hardcover, 420 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Tanglewood
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  242 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it

paperback release for this book is MAY 21, and there's A GIVEAWAY FOR IT RIGHT NOW!! BE A WINNER!


although this book has ZERO supervolcanoes, it is in many respects similar to his superb Ashfall series (WHEN IS BOOK FOUR COMING OUT, MIKE MULLIN???), particularly in the way he writes his characters. they feel familiar in the best way possible - dependable, rather than predictable - a comforting reminder of “oh yeah, this is what
If the spirit of young adults facing unbelievable odds is something that draws you in, Mike Mullin’s SURFACE TENSION is exactly what you need! Geared to a young adult audience, the main character, Jake and his girlfriend, Laurissa are average teens who become incredible survivors against all odds. Even the anti-heroine, Betsy is a great character, especially once her life is revealed.

Jake was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it could cost him his life as both terrorists and the governmen
Sherwood Smith
Long distance high-school-aged Jake is doing his usual long distance riding exercise when he stumbles into a weird scenario on a deserted road, passing a bunch of semi-trucks giving off a nasty smell. After an explosion, he finds himself not rescued, but captured by guys who apparently want to kill him.

He manages to escape from a moving truck. When he wakens days later, he’s in the hospital, his memory is as battered as his body. His goal of joining the US cycling team is blown to smithereens .
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Mike Mullin's Ashfall is a good trilogy—if less electrifying than some post-apocalypse novels—but Surface Tension is so intense it triggers a visceral stress response in the reader as seventeen-year-old Jake Solley navigates the Kafkaesque distortion his life has become. The narrative takes nearly two hundred pages to get going, but once it does, watch out: Jake's plight is maddening as he's victimized by powerful people on both sides of the law who think nothing of ripping apart his life. Surfa ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
A high-action suspense thriller about a 17-year-old boy, Jake, whose passions are competitive bike riding and his black girlfriend, Laurissa. While out riding, he witnesses a domestic terror attack and is nearly killed. Due to his traumatic brain injury, he cannot remember what happens and then several attempts are made on his life, which are not believed. He becomes a suspect, and is persecuted by corrupt law officials. Readers have a tough time telling the good cops from the bad ones. His weal ...more
I love Mullin's Ashfall series and I was intrigued when I heard he was writing a thriller. I was curious to see how Mullins handled a thriller and he didn't disappoint. "Surface Tension" was a wild ride, fast paced and high on action.

"Surface Tension" starts with a bang and never lets up. Jake is a high school student and a serious cyclist. While out training for a bike race, he sees a plane crash, then is injured and wakes up in the hospital. The details he remembers don't align with that peopl
Margaret Boling
10/31/2017 ** Jake is a bike rider training to become a member of the USA cycling team. He sees a group of people crashing a plane from the ground and they want him dead.

The book has a strong supporting cast of Jake's girl friend, Laurissa, and the alternate narrator, Betsy. They are all everyday kids thrust into a life and death situation, and their story helps us see how we can each step up to be a hero if necessary. This book is primarily a thriller, with a fast-paced plot and several twists.
Ms. Yingling
ARC from Kidlitcon

Jake is out on a long, early morning bike ride when he slams into the door of a tanker truck and is knocked unconscious. He wakes up in the hospital not remembering too many details about his life, so when a girl in a hijab enters his room, he believes she might be his girlfriend Laurissa... until she tries to kill him! His mother thinks he is hallucinating, and as more threats to his well being occur, no one believes him. His actual girlfriend Laurissa does, and tries to help
Kelly Hager
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The synopsis refers to this as a "gripping story," but I'm pretty sure that's one of the biggest understatements I've ever seen. This book is insane. It's definitely unbelievable but at the same time, this would be a fantastic TV show. (I would normally say movie, but there's too much. It would have to be, like, four hours long.)

The story is mostly told from Jake's perspective, with occasional chapters from Betsy (the terrorist's daughter). I understand why it was done this way, but I wish we ha
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: just-for-me
I was SO excited to enter a new world created by Mike Mullin. His Ashfall series ranks among my all time favorites and is on a shortlist of books I have reread multiple times. When an ARC came my way, I dropped what I was reading and started on it right away. Unfortunately this book didn't strike a chord for me. I understand that some stories come with a heavy dose of suspension of belief, but when you get to a point in a story where you start saying phrases aloud like, "Are you FREAKING kidding ...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
#FirstLine ~ Twenty-five minutes from now a plane will crash.

This book is FANTASTIC...I cannot wait for my boys to read it. I was completely engaged. It was one of those reads that caused to me take pause and escape into the thrill of the story. It has characters that were believable the daring. I love that you have to think when reading this book. It is not written in a way that demeans what kids know and can handle. You can keep track of details and are still able to get lost within the pages
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, thriller
“Surface Tension” an action-packed thriller opens after seventeen-year-old Jake Solley a bike racer in training witnesses a domestic terrorist attack which downs a Delta flight killing the passengers onboard and leaving him hospitalized with a serious head injury. Struggling to recover and regain his memory when assassins try to kill him again, his girlfriend Laurissa helps him repel down his knotted bed sheets to safety. Knowing his life’s in danger Jake is more determined than ever to return h ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-book-club
2 Stars!

This book follows a teenager named Jake who was abducted after witnessing a domestic terrorist attack that caused a plane to crash with 157 people on board. In attempt to escape his captives, he jumps out of the moving vehicle and ends up in the hospital with a severe head injury. Jake wakes up about a month after the plane crash with the inability to remember anyone or anything that happened before his accident. The terrorist group wants to try and get rid of Jake so he won’t be able t
Lisa Wolf
Surface Tension is a high-action suspense thriller about a 17-year-old boy, Jake, who stumbles into a domestic terror attack by accident -- but because of a traumatic brain injury and corrupt law officials, isn't believed when he tells his story. Thanks to his remarkably loyal girlfriend Laurissa, he persists in trying to uncover the truth while staying a few steps ahead of both the terrorists and the FBI agent who want to see him dead.

Meanwhile, the lead terrorist's daughter Betsy is embroiled
Sherry Guice
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very exciting and could-happen thriller for teens! The book begins with a girl posing as a Muslim in the Indianapolis airport where she signals a group to blow up a plane...meanwhile Jake, the male protagonist, is training for a cycling race along the airport's access road...he wakes up in the hospital with a terrible head wound and without his memory. Soon Jake discovers that people are trying to kills him, but no one believes him...Good enough for high school students and clean enough for midd ...more
Patty Smith
Thank you to Netgalley, Tanglewood and Mike Mullin for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

There is nothing that Jake loves more than riding his bike. He is addicted to the speed, banking around tight turns and the feel of the wind in his face. He not only loves to ride, but to race and not only to race, but to win. He needs to win enough races so that the USA team will make him an offer to join them. Jake trains very hard and today he is annoyed that a whole bunch of tanker trucks are line
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, action
Surface Tension alternates between the first-person narratives of Betsy and Jake. A style of writing that really puts you in the head of these two characters and makes them very memorable. Jake is an avid cyclist who on one of his training rides inadvertently witnesses a large group of tanker trucks releasing a chemical that is so horrific it leaves him bent over hurling, causing him to wreck his bike, and renders him unconscious. When Jake regains consciousness, he's inside one of the trucks wh ...more
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jake: an avid cyclist becomes the only eyewitness to a domestic terrorist attack; now the terrorists want him either dead or framed for the crime.

Betsy: the terrorist's daughter; she's willing to do whatever it takes to prove her worth, even if it means murder.

Told in two voices, this is a high-stakes, action-packed thriller set in Indianapolis with an ending that will leave readers eager for another book. Hand it to older middle school and high school students who crave page-turning suspense, c
Read InAGarden
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I have conflicting feelings about Surface Tension. I really liked the overall nature of the espionage-type thriller. But I thought it was overly long (about 420 pages) and really dragged at points. I think the length of the book is going to make it a tough sell with teens.
Kristin Brynteson
Suspenseful and action packed. Enjoyed the two character's points of view. Another great book by author Mike Mullin.
Couldn’t put it down! Mike Mullins has written quite the page turner... love the ending that hints to a sequel. The level of suspense and action had me on the edge of my seat chapter after chapter.
Dorine White
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Jake loves to race bikes. One day while training he witnesses a terrorist attack, and ends up in the hospital with no memory of the event. He thinks he was just in an accident until a young lady, claiming to be his girlfriend, shows up and tries to snuff him.

What the heck? Is his brain injury causing him to have delusions? That's what Jake's mom thinks. As his memories slowly return, the attempts on his life step up and soon he is running for his life, but without a full memory of why. His real
The Reading Raccoon
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this review copy of Surface Tension by Mike Mullin.

Surface Tension is a action thriller about domestic terrorism for the YA set. It is told in alternating POV’s between Jake, an innocent bystander to an act of conspiracy that brings down a plane full of innocent victims and Betsy, a teenage member of the white supremacy group.

This book is non-stop action and will keep readers turning the pages as they see if Jake can convince the people he loves (his mo
Julie Davis
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew a new book from Mike Mullin would be worth the wait and it was! In this thriller, Jake, a competitive bike racer, literally runs into a terrorist group who have just caused a plane crash. They capture him, but he manages to get away. When he comes to, he is in the hospital with a brain injury and is having trouble remembering the past. After the first attempt on his life, he agrees that maybe he imagined the whole thing. However, when someone attempts to kill him again, he is sure he is i ...more
If you have read Mike Mullin’s ASHFALL series, you already know a few things – 1) he doesn’t talk down to his readers; 2) he has a knack for realism; 3) he creates strong, flawed characters; and 4) he endangers those characters with glee.

Mullin’s latest novel, SURFACE TENSION, delivers on those strengths while transporting us from ASHFALL’s apocalyptic landscape to the fallout of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

In addition to being intelligent, taut, and engrossing, SURFACE TENSION explores comp
Laurisa Reyes
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The publisher provided a copy in exchange for my honest review. SURFACE TENSION is one of the most gripping teen thrillers I have ever read. The action and suspense never let up, not even in the last paragraph.

Jake is an ordinary teen obsessed with bike racing. When he ends up in the hospital after witnessing a plane crash, he has no memory about what happened. A girl tries to murder him, and the FBI believes he's involved with the crash. As Jake tries to solve the mystery of the downed plane an
You really have to suspend belief for a lot of things in this book, I felt his series Ashfall was much better. I had a hard time with this one, it was okay but not great like Ashfall.

The story is good just not as realistic as I was expecting.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book flips between two rival characters' perspectives of a domestic terrorist attack that happened at an airport. Jake, an avid teenager bicyclist, was out on a ride one day near the airport when the attack occurs but because of a traumatic brain injury and corrupt law officials, isn’t believed when he tells his story, and is instead framed for the attack. On the other hand, Betsy, the daughter of the terrorist leader, tries to cope with her father's anger and her own morals. This book may ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Good storytelling, fun to read the Indy setting, but the audio was distracting with loud inhalations and swallows.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites ...more

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