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Tattoo Atlas Hardcover – October 18, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Jeremy "Rem" Braithwaite is haunted by death. His older brother was killed in Afghanistan, and he is coming up on the one-year anniversary of witnessing a close friend being shot in front of him. Franklin, the killer, is now part of Rem's mother's sophisticated neurological experiment aimed at using a cranial implant to change Franklin from an unfeeling sociopath into someone with empathy. Before treatment, Franklin was a high school-aged Hannibal Lecter and his only pleasure was playing Sons of War, a video game similar to Call of Duty. After treatment, he seems to display empathy—sensing Rem's feeling and even sharing moments of intimacy—or is it just an act? Meanwhile, Rem's circle of friends grows smaller and smaller as murders escalate, mirroring the high school version of Sons of War that was uncovered online. The pace quickens as throughout, Rem's mom appears to be less than forthright about the nature of her research. Importantly, this novel breaks new ground by including gay central characters whose sexuality, however tender, is not the main plot focus. VERDICT A sci-fi thriller that combines the best of Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon with Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs and will leave readers on the edge of their seats right up to the unexpected, touching conclusion.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
"A smart, surprising sci-fi thriller that redefines the boundary between good and evil. A modern-day Jekyll and Hyde." (Jay Kristoff, New York Times bestselling author of Illuminae and Nevernight)
“Tattoo Atlas is an intelligent, creepy thriller with deeper meditations on the nature of evil, accountability, and the pervasive effects of our culture of violence. The murder and mystery make this the kind of book you’ll stay up all night reading, but the larger ideas will keep you thinking about the story for a long time after you’ve finished. Don’t read this one alone.” (Shaun David Hutchinson, author of We Are the Ants and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley)
"A visceral exploration of the nature of evil, and a terrifying look at the complexity of humanity and love." (Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program series)
“A heart-wrenching, soul-probing thriller that asks deep questions about love and psychology... while keeping you up at night, terrified of that creak in the hallway.” (Delilah S. Dawson, author of Hit, Strike, and Servants of the Storm)
Scientifically induced compassion confuses a monster—and his potential target.Rem Braithwaite was part of an exclusive quintet, the Boreal Five. Rem (gay artist), Callie (outspoken liberal), Lydia (straight-laced wallflower), Tor (golden-boy athlete), and Pete (likable goofball) were a gilded exemplar of unified high school demographic diversity (even if Indian Callie is the only nonwhite member). When reclusive, video-gaming outsider Franklin Kettle fatally shoots Pete in class, their innocuous Minnesota lives are upended. Now, a year later, Rem's scientist mother is about to implant a controversial, violence-taming capsule in Franklin's brain. When Rem's mother sends him to talk with a pre- and post-surgery Franklin as part of her research, the tight-knit Midwestern inoffensiveness unravels. Flashbacks reveal the Five's parts in ostracizing Franklin, while in the present day, Rem sneaks lascivious visits with closeted Tor (who's also Lydia's boyfriend), potentially mended Franklin appeals sexually to Rem, and Rem's mother could be lying about the questionable foundation for her research. Violence unfurls again when a bootleg version of Franklin's favorite game surfaces with the Boreal Five as the targets. A troubled boy-boy romance (times two!), brewing tragedy, nods to Gothic greats (Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), and pointed commentary are here, orchestrated deftly in a successful sophomore outing for Floreen. Chords of Frankenstein and Carrie harmonize in this emboldened critique of guns, bullying, and violence. (Kirkus Reviews 8/15/16)
Jeremy “Rem” Braithwaite is haunted by death. His older brother was killed in Afghanistan, and he is coming up on the one-year anniversary of witnessing a close friend being shot in front of him. Franklin, the killer, is now part of Rem’s mother’s sophisticated neurological experiment aimed at using a cranial implant to change Franklin from an unfeeling sociopath into someone with empathy. Before treatment, Franklin was a high school–aged Hannibal Lecter and his only pleasure was playing Sons of War, a video game similar to Call of Duty. After treatment, he seems to display empathy—sensing Rem’s feeling and even sharing moments of intimacy—or is it just an act? Meanwhile, Rem’s circle of friends grows smaller and smaller as murders escalate, mirroring the high school version of Sons of War that was uncovered online. The pace quickens as throughout, Rem’s mom appears to be less than forthright about the nature of her research. Importantly, this novel breaks new ground by including gay central characters whose sexuality, however tender, is not the main plot focus. VERDICT A sci-fi thriller that combines the best of Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon with Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs and will leave readers on the edge of their seats right up to the unexpected, touching conclusion. (School Library Journal September 2016)
"Floreen (Willful Machines, 2015) explores an unsettling moral question about the role of free will in determining good and evil in this gripping homage to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. A year after bullied outsider Franklin killed a classmate, Rem still can’t escape the memories. Meanwhile, Rem’s scientist mother has developed a procedure to “fix” violent, sociopathic impulses via cerebral implant, and Franklin is her first test subject. Rem is stunned by how relatable and empathetic he is after the procedure, and the two connect over art, music, and shared attraction, adding another bomb to the minefield of Rem’s relationships—Rem, an out gay teen, is fooling around with his closeted friend Tor, who’s dating their friend Lydia. As Rem and Franklin grow closer, Rem learns disturbing news about his mother’s research, and another student is murdered, causing him to question everything. Incisive, startling, and intense, this sf-thriller-tragedy hybrid has no easy answers about weighing the good and bad in all of us." (Booklist Online Exclusive September 2016)
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By now you have probably heard the plot of a group of kids living in the same cul-de-sac off Lake Superior called Boreal Drive and they call themselves the Boreal Five. Our hero Rem Braithwaite, is still suffering from the loss of one of the Five one uyear ago—victim of a small, contained Columbine like gun event and now a fellow student, Franklin Kettle, who also grew up on Boreal Drive but wasn't cool enough for their group, has been arrested for the murder of Pete. By a strange coincidence the doctor in charge of curing the killer Franklin is actually Rem's mom, who is the sort of icy, wired, ambitious, visionary scientist like Kate Winslet plays in the Divergent movies. No, she's worse than that, she's like Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate, but more than that I cannot say, because some of Tim Floreen's plot developments are a little larger than life.
Teen books have changed since i was a boy and now you have a book where all the guys are gay and they don't even have to be likeable, as none of them are here, and yet Floreen is such a talented writer you don't even care and you can almost believe it. The plot revolves around a capsule to be implanted into the back of a psychopath's skull, filled with humming nanobites that will massage his brain and turn down on the evil and turn up the empathy wherever they detect it. Is there any danger to this procedure? Of course there is, buckets full! I knew Michael Crichton and when he started writing about nanobites I thought he had gone off the deep end, and in the 25years since they don't seem to have really developed their own science, do they? But we learn that they are susceptible to American poetry.
Similarly, I think I'm too old to understand what a tattoo atlas is, and though Rem retreats moodily to draw pictures on the pages of his, from time to time, I don't think that I had to understand if these were going to be sketches for tattooes he dreams o getting once he reaches eighteen, or what they have to do with tattoos, or atlases for that matter. Every one in the Boreal Five has a secret, and all of them contributed, apparently, to turning an unpopular nerd into a killer. And even the killer has a sensitive side, and, when he takes off his unflattering sweats and hoodie combination, a sexy six pack body like Zayn Malik, and even if he's killed one of your own pack your "business" can still perk up and tae a little interest in that perfection.
In parts the book is about kindness and etiquette, the socially agreed contracts we make with each other to hep us balance our ids and egoes. Callie, Rem's best friend in the last, addresses not a single nice remark in he book's present day, because she disagrees deeply with Rem's decision to pursue a manual-genital relationship (a "quick knuckle shuffle," Callie calls it witheringly) with another boy in the group who is passing for straight, and why Rem ever confided in her I'll never know. When, however, the killer strikes again, this time it's a shocker that seems to be following the game plan of a homemade videogame called "Son of War High." You;d be surprised how easy it is to create your own video game that uses computer graphics to simulate you getting rid of everyone who's whipped a towel off of you in the locker room or claimed that hour manhood was no bigger than a little finger.
Floreen takes the suspense, and also his own beautiful way of explaining the existential freedom of living, to a new level guaranteed to bring the chills and to warm the heart at the same time. I didn't even get to mentionm the subplot in which Rem's older brothers dies in the service in the sort of armed conflict with apparently innocently sweet foreign children that Carris is always facing in HOMELAND on Showtime. But what another author would drag out into a full booklength plot, Floreen manages to condense it into a motive for why Rem is so touchy about gunfire, that and seeing Pete getting plowed down during the Big Bang (the Boreal Five's nickname for the central event in their lives, though they have nicknames for everything). I've just ordered Willful Machines which, if it's half as good as Tattoo Atlas, should be a corker.
Most recent customer reviews
I think if I read this book two or three times I’d get deeper insight every time, having only read it once, this is my impression.Read more