March 5, 2015

Charisma Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for CHARISMA being hosted by Penguin Teen. Today I have my review of the book to share - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Author: Jeanne Ryan
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Dial


A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller

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.
Charisma is a thought-provoking YA thriller that revolves around gene therapy, which is always a hot topic in our society - and will probably become even more relevant in the near future. The story focuses on our main character, Aislyn, who is extremely shy and suffers panic attacks due to social anxiety and the stress it causes her. She's incredibly smart, pretty, a loving and devoted daughter who helps to care for her younger brother, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. She should have everything in the world going for her - but her extreme social anxiety prevents her from saying things she wants to, doing things she's dreamed of - even small things like going to a party with her classmates. When Aislyn is offered a chance to change that part of herself - to make her shyness and anxiety disappear - by taking an underground gene therapy drug called "Charisma," she takes it. The effects of Charisma are almost immediate, and Aislyn feels herself becoming more sociable, sure of herself, and self confident. For once, she's popular and tons of fun to be around. It's everything she wished for and more. Aislyn starts noticing the same type of differences happening in some of the other teens she knows from the lab's family days and wonders if they secretly took the drug too. Soon there's an epidemic, with the effects turning into a disease, becoming contagious - and then it starts killing people. When nobody can find the doctor who created the drug, Aislyn knows that she has to do something to make this disease stop before it kills even more people. Even if it means giving up everything she's always wanted for herself.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this book - the description was vague and didn't really tell me what direction the book was going to take. I was immediately sucked into the world the author created and didn't come back out until I finished the last sentence. Our heroine, Aislyn, is incredibly easy to identify with - maybe more so for me because I actually suffer from extreme social anxiety and panic attacks. I think it was so easy for me to connect with Aislyn is due to her problems, as well as the familiar inner dialogue - it was like we shared the same thoughts. The story is told in first person point of view from Aislyn's viewpoint, which I always find to be the best way to experience a book. Getting to know every little detail about the narrator - from their fears, hopes, and dreams to their inner thoughts and emotions - really lets us connect with the character on a deeper level than any other writing style. I think that the author made a fantastic decision to tell the story from Aislyn's point of view - it felt all the more realistic and thrilling, because it felt like it was happening to us or to our best friend who is telling us the story. The other characters in the book were all well rounded, especially the secondary characters like Evie, Sammy, Aislyn's mom, Chloe, and the others. They all had distinct personalities and quirks that made them stand out as individuals and not just standard stereotypes. 

The plot was deep with several layers within. The main story line about the Charisma, the outbreak, and how they were going to stop it was fascinating and definitely had me on the edge of my seat. It was a typical thriller where a character is being stalked or someone's trying to kill them, but it was chilling because of the drug and the events that followed from it being taken. It was effective as a suspenseful plot because of the real possibility of it happening in our society - and soon. It's not hard to read the book and picture this sort of thing actually happening in our world today, which is definitely a scary thought. That brings about the varying levels of the book. There's the story that you read for entertainment, but then it branches out into all these other possibilities and thought provoking questions, like I just mentioned. There's also the differing stances on gene therapy - those who are against it and those who argue for it. Both have their reasons - and both have valid arguments. It's another level of the novel that makes you seriously sit back and think about these things. It's probably not something you normally think about on a daily basis, so when it's brought up in the story, you're automatically going to wonder what it would be like if it happened in today's world - the good it could do, the benefits, the costs, and also the bad things that could occur. The author's writing was nothing short of phenomenal. The characters and the entire story felt so authentic that I could shut my eyes and practically feel like I was beside Aislyn while everything was happening. The story is told in a conversational tone, but there are also parts that felt like scientific data - the small articles at the end of each chapter, for example. This was a magnificent blend of both fantasy and reality - where the events that happen in the story could actually happen in our world. That connection - the possibilities the story revealed - gave the novel a great depth that it wouldn't have had if it wasn't so realistic. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy suspense, science fiction, and thrillers - along with readers who enjoy thought-provoking novels that make you really sit back and think about the subject matter.

Jeanne Ryan’s hit debut novel, NERVE, garnered movie buzz after its release in September 2012. In February, it was confirmed that Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the stars of MTV’s hit series Catfish, would direct an upcoming adaptation of Nerve which was optioned by Lionsgate. American Horror Story‘s executive producer Jessica Sharzer wrote the adaptation, and revealed that Emma Roberts and Dave Franco will star in the film. (Photo taken from author's website)

Author Links: 

Giveaway: (1) Hardcover copy of CHARISMA - Open to US only!


1 comment:

  1. Wow! This sounds like an interesting read!

    I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check out more here: