Surface Tension

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Member Reviews

Fast-paced, young adult mystery-thriller.  Jake, a high schooler, is an avid bike rider is out training for his upcoming bike race when he stumbles upon a number of big, tanker trucks on the roadside.  He is knocked unconscious and wakes up in one of the trucks listening to the occupants discuss how to kill him.  Not waiting for their decision, he throws himself out of the moving truck onto the roadside which follows with him waking up in the hospital,  unable to remember anything...not his mother or girlfriend even ring a bell.  Betsy, the other main character,  works for her father and the Sons of Paine (a group making it appear that Muslims are committing acts of domestic violence), and she wants to prove to them that she is an indispensable part of the team by completing her recent assignment of pretending to be his girlfriend and instead killing Jake, and masking the murder from anyone who is looking.  Sadly she can not follow through.  Jake's real girlfriend shows up confusing him further.  As the story progresses, Jake is being targeted by these terrorists and on the run for his life.  Lots of adventure and action follow with Jake determined to figure out what is really going on with a somewhat complicated story line involving conspiracies and criminal investigations.  Great YA action novel with an interesting plot and great characters.
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You really have to suspend belief for a lot of things in this book, I felt his series Ashfall was much better. I had a hard time with this one, it was okay but not great like Ashfall.

The story is good just not as realistic as I was expecting.
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An action movie in book form, and as in most action movies, it's filled with stock characters and unbelievable situations.  Important issues were introduced but not explored or were wrapped up too easily.    And while it was good that the Muslim character wasn't the bad guy, his inclusion felt like tokenism: put in a good Muslim to counter Islamophobia.  Still, for a reluctant reader who wants non-stop action, an adequate choice.  Review based on an ARC through NetGalley.
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So. Much. Tension! Jake is a bike riding athlete training along the streets and back ways of Indianapolis. When he see's an act of terrorism, he is taken captive, then escapes. Escapes with head trauma that leaves him without memories of the incident or how he ends up in the hospital. What develops is a story so captivating you can't put it down. Hoping a sequel is in the works!
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My absolute favourite thing about this book was that it was written from both Jake's and Betsy povs. Jake is the kind of person we would want to be friends with, someone relatable and easy to like. Betsy is none of those things.
Every time I finished a chapter I hoped that I wasn't going to read a Betsy chapter, not because she was badly written but because reading from her pov was one of the most uncomfortable experiences ever due to her personal beliefs and lifestyle. Her chapters were my absolute favourites and a very big reason as to why this book was so good.
This is an important book for our times, with themes like justice, income inequality, racism, discrimination, and police corruption being just some of the things the characters have to deal with.
I also really liked that the author seemed to have done a lot of research on the characters respective fields of expertise because there was not one moment in which they sat back and simply hoped for everything to go well even when they did not know what they were doing.
Thank you to Net Galley and Tanglewood for this ARC.
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This grabs you from the Chapter 1 and holds you until the last page. Jake has suffered a brain injury and no one believes what he is saying except his girlfriend, Larissa. While Jake can’t remember much at first, memories start coming back and he has to run for his life more than once. Who is going to believe a kid with a head injury when he says someone is trying to kill him?

This is well written and I really enjoyed it. Mike Mullin does a great job of capturing your attention and keeping it. The mystery woven into a thrilling plot makes Surface Tension a captivating read. My daughter had already started reading it as well and is caught up in the action.
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Surface Tension is a high-action suspense thriller about a 17-year-old boy, Jake, who stumbles into a domestic terror attack by accident -- but because of a traumatic brain injury and corrupt law officials, isn't believed when he tells his story. Thanks to his remarkably loyal girlfriend Laurissa, he persists in trying to uncover the truth while staying a few steps ahead of both the terrorists and the FBI agent who want to see him dead.

It's a quite fast paced and thrilling story and I couldn't stop reading! Real page-turner that I can highly recommend.
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I requested this book because I absolutely loved Mullin's Ashfall series, and based on those books knew that he could write gritty YA fiction that wasn't insipid. 

This was a good enough thriller, with plenty of action throughout. The characterisations were great. Jake and Laurissa are excellent protagonists, and Mullin has portrayed a realistic and respectful relationship between the two. Betsy is also a great character, and all three are strong and resourceful, but also a bit stupid at times (giving the teens a a bit more realism). 

Although fast-paced, there is quite a bit where you just have to suspend your disbelief and go with it. Some parts were rather monotonous (there are at least two chapters where Mullin describes the various phone calls they make, which made rather dull reading in the middle of all of the action). Ending was a bit of a let down and anti-climatic in comparison to the rest of the book.
Additionally, I'm knocking off a star for Mullin's rather lax use of the word 'spaz' - fuck's sake, it's 2018. There are plenty of other synonyms he could have used that do not have such negative and vile conotations attached to it. 

Generally, this is an action-packed thriller with strong characters. Slightly absurd in places but as long as you don't delve too much into it, it's a fun read.
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Jake is an ordinary boy who loves riding his bike. One morning, he's just riding his bike to explore. Little did he know, that morning will not only gets him to the hospital, but also gets him into the middle of terrorist attack plan. Betsy has always lived to please her father. One morning, she's just doing her job, to prove her worth to her father. When she unexpectedly has to deal with Jake, she finds herself questioning if what her father's wants her to do had always been right.

Written in two points of view, this story is easy to relate to. Each twist and turn just made it hard for me to put it down. The precise and to-the-point wording gets me more into the story. The mix of a little science into the mystery is getting the story more interesting. I recommend this book to fans of young adult mystery novels.

I voluntarily read and review a free copy of this book provided via NetGalley.
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This is an edge-of-your-seat kind of book. Truely suspenseful. I love that the title becomes part of the plot twist and wow! That cliff-hanger ending has me wanting the next book soon.
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This is another of those that I start without knowing much about. Even now it seems not many have read, or at least reviewed, this title. It's such a fun read and I love with author's ability with words!
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This definitely had a fun plot and a lot of exciting and fun bits I didn't expect. The ending threw me and I didn't like It.
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Ok, I'm just going to get this out of the way right up front. Surface Tension is no Ashfall. Then again... I have never really come across a YA novel that I found quite as gripping as Ashfall. Thats a pretty high standard to hold a book to.
That being said, Surface Tension is worth your time. It is still a fast paced, well researched adventure, like readers of Mullins have come to expect. You will not be disappointed as long as you do not set your expectations Ashfall levels.
These characters are strong, and curious and on a terrifying adventure that involves terrorism. Every young person will find something to relate to in the main character. He is obsessed with riding his bike, in a way that only a teenager can be passionate. Mike Mullins knows how to capture the human spirit and draw a reader in like few other authors.
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Surface Tension fails as a suspense thriller. Mullin takes the craziness of a suspense thriller beyond the point of insane with characters who struggle to be heard in the midst of all noise and unbelievable scenarios, taking the suspension of disbelief beyond the breaking point and shattering it.
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Surface Tension by Mike Mullin
When Jake accidentally witnesses the terrorist takedown of a plane killing everyone on board, he finds himself waking up in a hospital with no memories.  As time goes on, his memories come back and the terrorists are determined to ensure he will not be talking anytime soon. One of my FAVORITE reads this summer! #SurfaceTension #NetGalley
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Surface Tension (Hardcover) 
by Mike Mullin  
This is a scary concept going on home grown terrorist, prejudice confrontation,  domestic violence, and religious persecution. 
 Jake is a young bike racer in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He pedals into a road block of significant nature, that puts his life, his mother's life and his girl's life into jeopardy. It takes risk to change his life and fix the problem. He becomes a reluctant hero in the process. 
The author looks into the perceptions of racism and the assumptions the majority of people perpetuate with the relationship between Jake and his girl.  Jake is a poor white single parent child, his lady is the entire opposite. 
This book relates in a unique way to the current US political atmosphere, with racial and religious tension at breaking point.  The idea that home grown terrorists want to change America calling for military action  against political and racial lines.  There are many instances in the book that show how flawed this thinking is. The author reminds the reader that this racial and political stances is unsustainable.
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Surface Tension by Mike Mullin is the first novel I have read by him, and boy, what a read.  I received an ARC thru Net Galley for an honest review. 
  After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training in his bike for his next race.. Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash,or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital.
   A,terrorists leader's teen-aged daughter, Besty, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible eye witness.  When Jake's mom blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, and what might have happened with the plane, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa.  As she  helps him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents that are convinced that Jake himself, had a role in the crash things are going to heat up.
   From the first page, Mike Mullin captures my attention, and until the very last page.  Surface Tension is masterfully crafted, kept me up at night with me wanting to find out what was going to happen to Jake, and feeling bad for Jake. However, Jake is not the only one who's life is about to change.  Just when you think you have everything figured out, Mike Mullin throw a few plot twists to shake things up.
  Loved, loved Surface Tension, and thank you Mike Mullin for a fantastic read.
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Although the plot on the surface seems pretty out there and bizarre, once I read it, it seemed more and more plausible. The characters were interesting, although I never quite understood all the motivations and machinations of the terrorist(s).
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This book gives new meaning to the phrases "hidden in plain sight" or "can't see the forest for the trees".  Mullin did an amazing job with the twists and turns the plot takes and I for one would have relished a sequel.
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The cover and description of this YA book intrigued me, and the story didn't disappoint me. Though I admit this wasn't exactly the type of book that I'd normally choose, I found it fairly easy to get sucked into this action and characters. The story about a boy witnessing a terrorist attack, and then suffering memory loss, was fast paced. And Jake an avid biker made a great protagonist. I also loved his relationship with his girlfriend Laurissa, who was from a wealthy family, which caused conflict with Jake. Betsy, one of the antagonists, also got my sympathy for being caught up in her dad's right wing politics. This book explored a lot of viewpoint angles and would make a great selection for book clubs. Also a number of surprises in chapters to kept me interested and were great enough to relate to friends that read. One scene that comes to mind was the bike chase when Jake stole a child's bike and chased Betsy on her bike. Then later the bike he stole was stolen. A few parts of the story were a stretch to believe but I was carried along by the narrative and the high stakes ending was awesome. On a final note, I also loved the mention of another book Little Brother, near the end and if you haven't read it, put Little Brother on your reading list.
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