Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: The Samantha Granger Experiment- Fused by Kari Lee Townsend


After Sam is fused with her cell phone, she's ready to conquer the world! Or at least the 8th grade...

When Samantha Granger touches a meteor while talking on her cell phone, her life is changed forever: her body now has all the capabilities of her phone (GPS, phone, text, camera). She secretly calls herself a "Digital Diva" as she rushes to answer emergency calls. But will her identity be discovered when sparks fly (literally!) between her and Trevor, her dreamy crush? Samantha has to get a handle on her abilities and quick, because when Sam gets kidnapped and the entire town is in danger, she is the only one who can save them.


The Short Version:
Interesting in premise and cute in playout, Fused does a great job blending the technical world with the life of a young teenage girl. Easily walking the line between middle ground and lower YA, Townsend pitches Sam in a way that is both relatable and enjoyable. Add in the overall well paced plot and this is definitely a light, fun read.

The Extended Version:
Samantha is a typical girl at the start, eager to work things out on her own and determined in a way that is telling of both the age and her personality. She is very full of life and though she finds herself in some very interesting situations, there are many nostalgia inducing moments with this one. From her awkwardness around her crush to her freaking out about suddenly being fused with her phone, there is a realistic and relatable element to Samantha even in the midst of this new world.

Trevor is a great crush for Samantha, cute and charming without being flat out shallow. The reasons she likes him go beyond is looks and that comes across clearly, and the growing playoff between the two adds a nice note to the book. Add in Mel, her best friend, and there is a triad of characters that are enjoyable and fun.

There are some unexpected twists in this book, centering around a few subplots that tie up well at the end while still leaving things open for the next installment. The actual premise is unique and well done, with much of the various aspects of Sam being fused explained. Townsend also does a great job juggling Sam’s drive to be normal while also learning about her new abilities, and putting them to use. There isn’t an instant acceptance, or an outright refusal, on Samantha’s part and this is handled very well for her personality.

Overall, the writing gives a good voice to Samantha and is readable at a middle grade level without coming off as talking down or dumb. Though some of the phrasing and descriptions were jarring and out of place for me, and the technical speak got a little much here and there, the actual use of everything and the way Townsend pitches the shifts in Sam between girl and cell phone are fresh and well done. Even with the who done it kind of plot, the level of fun in this book is its most notable quality.

Source: Received for review from author/publisher in exchange for honest review
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date: November 1, 2010


  1. Thanks for the fabulous review, Kari...from Kari :-))

  2. For a non MG or YA reader, I read regency, Fused was a refreshing break. Great job Kari

  3. I read this one too and thought it was a gread read for MG and lower YA. Very entertaining


  4. Sound cute - I'm a big fan of twists and fun!