Sarah's Stars

Kevin Brooks. Being
Chicken House $20.99 ISBN 978-0-439-89973-4  323 pg. 
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 13

The picture started up with a jerk, and the electric eye moved on, crawling down through the thin gauzy membrane and out into the roof of some kind of chamber. For a second or two the camera light dimmed, and then my God! - I was inside the body of a wondrous cavern. I was inside it, and it was inside me. The light of the eye turned slowly and I watched, breathless, as the inner structure was revealed. A sizeless space, shaped like a broad-shouldered bottle, with irregular walls of blackened leather. A cavern, rising and swirling with fantastic alien machineries: filaments, struts, crystals, ties, pillars, pipes, valves, ribbons, sheaths, valleys, tunnels, veins, countless glimmering particles...

Somehow, Robert's routine stomach examination turned into a desperate fight for his life against a surgeon, a man with a gun and an anesthetist. Lying naked and awake on the hospital table but paralyzed, the doctors slice open his stomach and uncover a magical machine inside him; Alien, monster, robot, un-human? Robert is no longer a patient, he is a thing and he is on the run. Armed with a pistol, a guilty conscience and a videotape, Robert flees to safety, but is there any such thing as safety anymore? The plot thickens when the newspaper publishes a story of how the teen murdered a doctor in the operating room and there is a reward for his return. With only a criminal for an ally and a gaping hole in his stomach, every decision Robert makes could lead him closer to discovering the truth about what lies inside him, or to his death.

Popular European YA author, Kevin Brooks, has managed to create yet another raw, gritty novel that doesn't flinch away from the reality of some of the human race's most ugliest, dirtiest truths. Eddi, the beautiful girl who happens to send her boyfriend to jail so she can take over his business -making fake IDs. Kamal, the anesthetist who knows nothing, yet pays the price for being in that wretched operating room. Robert is the protagonist who must grapple with the choice to live or to die. It all depends on whether or not he can steal that car or hold a gun to that person's head. The characters are all flawed, they are all grisly and yet, they are all real. And somehow we find ourselves rooting for them, hoping against hope that the two fugitives escape the clutches of the government and find a peaceful haven. Unfortunately the morbid, bloody ending that doesn't wrap up any loose ends at all, leaves the reader wondering, what was the point of it all?

Being gets four stars despite being left wondering.

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