Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness that is, until she s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. Read more...
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Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness that is, until she s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it's too late.
Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Aislyn Hollings is gorgeous and brilliant, but she's also burdened by intense anxieties that leave her barely able to function in social settings. Then a genetic scientist offers Aislyn an untested gene therapy called Charisma. The effects are immediate: despite a few headaches, a newly outgoing Aislyn is soon dating her longtime crush and attending parties, to the shock of everyone who knows her. As Aislyn learns she wasn't Charisma's only recipient, her side effects grow more severe, people start to die, and news gets out that a renowned geneticist was experimenting on vulnerable teens. Ryan (Nerve) offers a cautionary tale about the perils of designer genetics and what happens when scientists' aspirations get ahead of ethics. Her take on the topic is fresh and intriguing, and Aislyn's struggles to overcome her social anxieties and adjust to her newfound popularity drive the first half of the novel. Midway through, the story pivots, shifting into thriller territory as Aislyn and her friend Shane try to navigate the media and stay alive long enough to find a cure. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Mar.)