Summary: Miki’s story begins with her own death. When her rescue of a classmate’s little sister turns fatal, Miki is pulled into a battle against aliens. As long as she follows the rules, Miki is free to go on with her life during her downtime, but death in what is considered “The Game” equals death in real life. Thrown onto a team with a mysterious leader, Jackson, who has secrets of his own, Miki is full of questions about the war and confronted with the precariousness of her situation. Unable to talk to her friends and family about what’s going on, a relationship develops between Miki and Jackson who have more in common than just being on the same team.
Number of Pages: 361
Age Range: 15-17
Review: Rush‘s sequel Push is sitting on my shelf and it is all I can do not to pick it up. I just want to know what happens next, because the cliff-hanger Eve Silver leaves her reader with is excruciating.
As a science fiction book this isn’t going to be an enjoyable read for everyone, but I loved it. It reminded me of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Silver’s exploration of treating war like a video game with points for kills and deducted points for injuries sustained expands on Card’s ideas. Rush is a story that is complicated, and completely unbelievable, yet somehow Silver just makes it work.
I think it’s because of her main character, Miki. No stranger to hardship, Miki watched her mother die from cancer and knows her father is becoming an alcoholic. She deals with anxiety issues and grief, but seems to be getting back on her feet when she rescues a classmate’s sister from being hit by a car only to die herself.
In Miki’s world, aliens are secretly about to take over the planet and a mysterious entity called the Committee is the only one trying to stop it from happening. The Committee enlists the help of teens who have died prematurely, offering them continued life for as long as they participate in “The Game,” the battle against the aliens that pulls them into an alternate reality of sorts to fight. If you die in “The Game” though, the death you experienced in real life becomes permanent.
Set against the backdrop of Silver providing the background of the aliens and the war itself, I found Miki’s struggle to deal with the unpredictable and the unbelievable captured relatable and raw emotions, as well as insights about being an outsider. I loved how her past gave her confidence to be forthright and ask all of the questions that she wanted answered, especially when her questions were ones I was asking myself. Silver uses Miki’s curiousity to explain everything her reader needs to know, which makes Rush a tremendously satisfying read. It’s the first book in a series, and as I wrote before I can’t wait to pick up the next one.
My favourite part? Miki’s bookshelf. She’s a dystopian fan too.
“I wish I could. I wish I thought it mattered. My friends all get so excited about things like movies and dances and shopping; they feel things so intensely. I go through the motions and bluff extremely well, but I’m not like them. I haven’t been for almost two years. And that kills me. I just want to be . . . normal again.” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, page 7
“My first thought is for my dad. If I’m dead, he’s alone. If I’m dead, it’ll kill him. And Carly and Kelley and Dee and Sarah and all my other friends . . . I know what it feels like to mourn, to have a film of gray settle over every moment of every day, a fog that coats everything, leaching out color and joy. I don’t want that for them. My heart gives a hard thump in my chest. And that stops me cold.” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, page 22
“‘This isn’t a game,’ he repeats. ‘It’s real. What you do here determines your survival.’ He pauses. ‘And the survival of every other person on the planet.’
And that tells me he’s either serious or seriously crazy. Please let him be crazy.” – Conversation between Jackson and Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, pages 28-29
“His explanation is so far beyond believable that I want to discount it out of hand. But I don’t. For the first time, his cryptic assertions actually make perfect sense to me. But you have to master it. Beat it down. It’s a conundrum I know well: the need to stay when every instinct is screaming for you to go. I faced it every time I went to the hospital with Mom. I wanted to run as fast and as far as I could. From the tubes. From the machines. From t the smiling nurses who hooked up bags of poison that drip, drip, dripped into my mother’s veins in an effort to kill the thing growing out of control inside her. But for her, for Mom, I stayed.” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, page 48
“The pain, my fear – they piss me off. This is not the way I plan to make my exit from this life, kneeling on the floor, shaking and gasping. If I’m checking out, it’ll be on my terms – just like my mom. Near the end, every doctor agreed that there was no hope and every test confirmed it, so signed herself out of the hospital, declined heroic measures. For the longest time, I’ve been angry with her about that, too. But maybe, in this second, I understand her motivation just a little. She couldn’t change the destination. All she could do was pick the route.” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, pages 59-60
“It really doesn’t matter, but I need to know. I need explanations. Control. Information means I rely less on others and more on myself. Because in the end, that’s all anyone has.” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, page 144
“I catch Carly’s eye and lower my voice. ‘Oh, and Carly? Don’t do the bitch thing. Either we’re okay or we’re not.'” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, page 257
“I take a deep breath. I’m angry with her. She’s angry with me. And it’s all just stupid. What are we fighting over? Aliens could decimate our world today, or tomorrow, or the next day. I could die in the game like Richelle.
I could die outside the game, like Mom.
The only thing that’s really certain is this moment. The only thing I can control a hundred percent are the choices I make right now.” – Miki from Rush by Eve Silver, page 297
“I swallow and go back to my original question. ‘Why teenagers?’
‘Children are too young, too small, too weak. Adults have brains that exhibit fully formed neural connections. What you call getting pulled is far more difficult for them. Teenagers have valuable adult characteristics, but their brains are not yet fully wired in a set pattern. Adolescence is a time of profound growth and change for the human brain. The prefrontal cortex does not reach maturity until the middle of the third decade of human life.’
‘You’re saying that a teenager’s brain is better than an adult’s. Don’t hear that often.’
‘For the task at hand, yes. The adult response to a specific stimulus is generally more intellectual, more of a learned response. The teenager’s is more instinctual, and that is your strength.'” – Conversation between Miki and the Committee from Rush by Eve Silver, page 314