Eight years ago, Trex Wilson should have died in the car accident that claimed his father’s life. Instead, he was given a second chance thanks to the heroic efforts of The Company, which replaced some of Trex’s brain with extraordinary new biotechnology. Trex is now entering middle school, and he is trying to be as normal as possible despite the fact that he and his mother have been running from The Company for as long as he can remember. Even as he strives to lead a normal life, though, Trex’s abilities are changing in ways he does not understand, and he will do whatever it takes to find the answers he seeks.

This compelling middle grade novel expertly combines the very real feelings of being ostracized and unfairly judged with some of the potential side effects of biotechnological advancements. Told from three perspectives, the narrative gives readers a wide view of the events taking place within the story, and as each character speaks in the first person, readers can easily settle into all of their feelings and beliefs. Though each segment is given a header reflecting the speaker’s name, their individual voices are unique enough to be easily recognized by the narrative alone. Readers will especially appreciate how the story unfolds because its intentional design guides readers down crooked paths filled with unexpected twists and turns.

While the prospect of having one’s brain enhanced at four years old is far reaching in the present day, the underlying aspects of the human condition that are incorporated within this novel are poignant and thought-provoking. Mellie, Trex’s friend, suffers from crippling stomach aches when she is feeling anxious, and Trex is afraid to get close to others for fear of revealing his own secret. Both of these realities serve to connect Trex and Millie to one another while alienating them from their peers who are unwilling to look beyond initial appearances. Middle school readers will recognize the feeling of not fitting in with others, and they are sure to relate to Trex and Millie even if readers do not find themselves in identical circumstances. Filled with heart, adventure, and a highly intriguing mystery, this book is a captivating and superb addition to the canon of literature for middle grade readers.

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