The Sophisticates

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
436 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2014
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Author Biography

The first thing Christine does when she's getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She's addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeinated bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lisa Jones for Readers' Favorite

Deviation by Christine Manzari is about a group of teenagers who are genetically programmed from the foetus stage to become the experiments of a program. The story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl named Clementine Dracone, or Cleo as she likes to be called. She struggles to cope with the fact that she has never known her birth parents and, when her anger becomes too much, she begins to display a rather scary characteristic. It is because of this that she is moved to St Ignatius where she makes new friends and a lot of enemies. As the story unfolds, her hidden anger makes her able to do things that she can't explain and the world in which she lives is far from what she thought it was.

Christine Manzari shows much promise with her novel Deviation. It hosts a wonderful plot which changes from page to page and I especially liked the connection between Cleo and Ozzy. I would describe it as on par with The Hunger Games and although it may greatly appeal to the younger generation, I, for one, can confirm that the older generation will also enjoy the story. Each individual character was well developed and the structure of the plot was cleverly done. The concept of the characters being modified from birth is fascinating and each special ability has been well thought out and researched. There are some fantastic twists that I was not expecting and which were a welcome surprise. I am excited for book two in this series. I therefore recommend this book to all as Deviation is such an exhilarating read.

Ray Simmons

Deviation, the first book in the Sophisticates series, is the story of Clementine Dracone and her struggle to come to terms with the fact that not only is she genetically superior, but is also one of 12 members of the program known as the deviant dozen who display powers and abilities more powerful and dangerous than their classmates. The heroine is a very likable teenage girl. Clementine is part of a government program started in the wake of "Wormwood," a terrorist attack some time in America's near future that will make 911 seem like the work of angry amateurs. The idea behind this program is simple but potent. The best way to defend American interest and fight terrorism is to create a corps of genetically superior people with skills and abilities that will be more than a match for anything the enemy has.

There are a lot of Young Adult science fiction novels out there dealing with the subject of teenagers or children with unusual powers. Deviation by Christine Manzari is one of the best I've read and I can easily picture Deviation as a popular TV series or movie. It has all the right dramatic elements for success. Christine Manzari does a great job of laying out the history and reasons for the program’s existence as well as showing the horror and confusion of young Clementine, who just wants to be a normal girl. The writing is good. The characters are realistically portrayed and very easy to sympathize with.

Lit Amri

In the world in Christine Manzari’s Deviation, terrorism has a huge impact on American society. The development of Sophisticates is purposely done as a protection against terrorists’ threats. Clementine ‘Cleo’ Dracone is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. Being a Sophisticate means you are genetically altered to be smarter, faster, and stronger. The catch? One has to give up his or her freedom. Cleo is genetically modified while in utero, and raised without parents or donors, as the Program refers to them. Therefore, for the Sophisticates, their friends are their families.

I like the way Manzari creates the world system of the Sophisticates. Cleo is classified as a Vanguard, an intellectual that will eventually work for the Program in one of their headquarters. Communications and computer programming are Cleo’s main strengths, which also lands her in trouble with the higher-ups as she tried to hack top-secret files about her parents at the start of the story. The intimidating Dean Younglove tells Cleo that she would be transferred to St. Ignatius immediately. It is a surprising move, considering that the academy is for Mandates or Sophisticates who are specialized as fighters.

No doubt Cleo’s unique ability to make things explode when she’s upset is the key to her Mandate identity. The plot just keeps getting more interesting as she arrives at St. Ignatius, and also with the introduction of Quinnie, Ozzy, Arabella, Sterling and other characters. Simply put, Deviation is a splendid read and a great debut for its series.

Jasmine Hildabrant

This book held my interest from the moment I picked it up. I really couldn't put it down. I normally don't read books with this type of science fiction background, but I can't wait to read the second book in this series. Christine Manzari has found a way to capture her audience and leave them wanting more. Great author.