Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

by Arwen Elys Dayton

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525580959
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/04/2018
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 73,788
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Arwen Elys Dayton is the author of Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful as well as the Seeker series--Seeker, Traveler, and Disruptor and the e-novella The Young Dread--and the science fiction thriller Resurrection. She spends months doing research for her stories. Her explorations have taken her around the world to places like the Great Pyramid of Giza, Hong Kong and its islands, the Baltic Sea, and many ruined castles in Scotland. Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on the West Coast of the United States. You can visit her at arwendayton.com and follow @arwenelysdayton on Twitter and Instagram.

Read an Excerpt

Human!

Stop!

. . . is what I’m thinking. As if I’ve already become something else, a different species, and I’m tired of hearing all of his worn-out, human-person logic.

The man is reminding me that Julia’s heart will be combined with my own heart, so it’s not like I’m “taking” hers. It’s a synthesis. The new heart will fuse both in a way that’s better than either of the originals. A super-heart, I guess you could call it.

He is reminding me of this, and every time I say “But--” he cuts me off by continuing his explanation, only more loudly. Now he’s almost yelling, though he’s just as cheerful as he always is.

Did I mention that he’s my father? And he’s only repeating what my doctor has explained so many times. Although, let’s be honest, my doctor explains the same things very differently. She discusses recovery rates and reasonable percentages and acceptable outcomes. She tells me about other patients, though of course, my case and Julia’s case--the case of Evan and Julia Weary, semi-identical twins--is unique, so we are, as she likes to say, “medical pioneers.” I’ve come to think of us as the season-finale episode of a show about strange medical cases. Tune in for the outrageous conclusion!

I’m in my hospital room, but I’m sitting in a chair in the corner, because it’s dangerous to stay in the hospital bed, which can be wheeled away for CAT scans or blood draws or surgery, or whatever, so easily. You have the illusion of control if you’re sitting in a chair.

Julia is in the adjoining room. She’s on the bed, of course. And though I can hear our mother in there with her, she’s only saying a few quiet words to my sister, and my sister is not saying anything in reply.

“This is fortune smiling on us, Evan,” my father says, using what has become one of his favorite phrases. He looms over me, because I’m sitting down while he’s standing and also because he’s six foot five. “Years from now, you’re going to look back on these weeks and wonder why you ever hesitated. Julia would want her heart and yours to be joined.”

Whenever he senses me becoming skeptical about what we’re going to do, my father finds a new angle to convince me. This is the new angle for today: Julia’s fondest wish is for our twin hearts to become one.

“But I’m the only one who will get to use the heart,” I tell him. “It’s not like we’re turning into one person and sharing it. I get the heart. She gets nothing.”

He raises his voice another notch as he says, “Would you rather put hers in the ground? Alone and cold? To rot?” Even he can hear the hysteria that has snuck into his argument. He lowers the volume to something like normal conversational level and adds, “You know she wouldn’t want that. She does get something. She gets you, alive.”

“I’m the one who gets that!”

“She gets it too, Evan.”

I hope that’s true.

“You sound out of breath,” my father says. “How about we keep our voices calm?”

This is an infuriating suggestion since he’s the one who’s not calm, but his observation is accurate; I’m having trouble catching my breath. I concentrate on forcing air in and out of my chest.

I notice that we’re only talking about Julia’s heart, even though she’ll give me so much more--her liver, part of her large intestine, her kidneys, even her pancreas. It’s too depressing to keep mentioning all the pieces of both of us that aren’t working right, so my parents and I have begun using the heart as a stand-in for everything.

I look up at him wearily. “Dad, why do we keep talking about it, anyway? You already decided.”

“You decided too, Evan.”

I sigh, and though I try to sound as angry as possible, he’s right. I did decide.

When the nurses show up to do tests, my father leaves. He doesn’t like to stick around for the nitty-gritty, which used to annoy me but now is a relief. If my father is present, he considers it an obligation to insert as many positive comments as possible into whatever uncomfortable hospital procedure is happening. It’s not ideal to have to make appreciative noises about the weather and baseball scores when a male nurse is putting a catheter into your penis, for example.

With my father gone, I hardly have to say anything.

Nurse: “Does that hurt?”

Me: “A little.”

Nurse: “Is this better?”

Me: “A little.”

Nurse: “Can you roll over onto your back now?”

I don’t even have to answer that. I just have to do it.

Later, I’m left alone in my hospital room. This is the last day. It will happen in the morning. Julia and I have just barely made it to our fifteenth birthday. And now comes . . . whatever is next.

I am not immune to daydreams. I imagine slipping on my clothes, walking out of the hospital, and asking my mother to bring me somewhere peaceful to die. My favorite fantasy locations are on a beach overlooking Lake Michigan, or on the moon base, while staring up at the small blue face of Earth. Yes, I know there isn’t any moon base, but I’m not sneaking out of the hospital either.

The daydreams are tempting, but here’s the truth of it: death sucks more than life, almost no matter what. There. I’ve admitted it. I want to live. Blech. It feels wrong.

I get off my hospital bed and go into the connecting room, Julia’s. My heart races as soon as I’m on my feet, but if I move slowly, I can keep it from getting out of hand. Julia’s room is kept nice and quiet and mostly dark, though it’s still daytime, so cloudy light comes in through the slatted blinds over the window. Her ventilator hisses and clicks. Her bed is surrounded by IV stands that are providing her food, her water, her drugs. Dripping, dripping, dripping away.

“Hey,” I say, out of breath when I reach the edge of her bed.

Hey, she says. Not out loud, of course. But I know she says it.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Arwen Elys Dayton.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
reececo331 5 days ago
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful (Hardcover) by Arwen Elys Dayton This is a compilation of stories in the book, loosely tied to each other because of the idea and premise that human adaptation will change the world as we understand. Part One Matched Pair A set of semi-identical twins are dying. They are losing a battle against their own bodies, but its opposing parts that are failing. So the doctors propose a solution, combine them to save one. But which would you save, which is more viable. The real question is how does a young child comprehend that his sibling needs to die so he could live. This is a great theoretical proportionate to the idea of medical intervention and our responsibility to life. Part Two St. Ludmilla The idea that we can repair ourselves, change our appearance to the point of an entirely different race of man would come out of it. How much of this is humanity? how much are we creations of our own making? This shows how survival is not always the easiest part of living after a tragedy, its coming to grips with what you have faced and how you have faced it. Part Three The Reverend Mr. Tad and Tadd's love story The corruption of belief, the rejection of new ideals makes some pretty heavy and enterprising installments of social changes. Reverend Tad has jumped on the bandwagon that those who have chosen to go beyond their normal life span, or genetic preponderance are evil. He has made a fortune spouting his soapbox beliefs. The problem is, he is a fraud. This story is a great look at human acceptance, and the ability of the public to accept and adapt to social changes caused by technology and advancement. Part Four Eight Waded The idiomatic adaptation of the mind is brought to question. How do you accept physiological and psychological change in a drastic nature? How do you survive when life had brought to question all that matters? Part Five California Power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely. The idea that humanity is lost because of political affiliation, or the psychological change of humanity. Russia has returned, it uses the technology at their disposal to change humanity. They take those deemed unfit for Russian society, those out side the law, or from another jurisdiction and transform them into the partial robotic slaves. Using them to forced labor, and subjection of social ridicule. The idea is what is humanity, and what is political power. Part Six Curiosities There is a division in society, those they deem human and those that don't. Never allowing the inhuman to touch the human, caging them behind force fields, and social walls. Yet when crisis comes they are left with needing the help of those they deem unworthy. Showing the meaning of humanity and having compassion for others.
Pseudandry 5 days ago
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton Publication date December 4, 2018 Read courtesy of NetGalley.com FAN-TAS-TIC!!!! There was a tadd* of a thread throughout this book of consecutive stories. Amazingly well done and thoroughly enjoyable. I will definitely be getting this for my library! Each story could be a stand alone, but they are also smoothly interwoven... and thought provoking. The first vaccine, first heart transplant, and first clone (remember Dolly the Sheep?) perpetuated the human ability to dream of a stronger, faster and more beautiful human. Dayton has helped us imagine some of the future possibilities, and some we'd like, while others we'd find quite disturbing. And that's the point.... to consider what our tinkering could mean to our future. Butterfly effect, ripple effect, call it what you want, but Dayton masterfully creates realistic what-ifs (realistic what-ifs: is that an oxymoron?) I enjoyed every story in here. None of it felt redundant, repetitive, or reused. The uniqueness of each possible inevitably (another oxymoron) kept me turning those pages. Bravo, Ms. Dayton. I accept the challenge to work through these oxymorons in the hopes that it keeps humans from simply becoming morons. *intentional spelling
Alfoster 6 days ago
Although I'm not always a fan of science fiction, what I do love are books that explore the repercussions of technology and what questions will be raised as a result of genetic engineering. This book does just that as the six interconnected stories examine the controversies between science and religion and how they intersect and often divide us. Set in the near future, the novel shows worlds where genetic engineering has advanced to the point where skin and organs can be fused/manufactured/placed in humans to extend their lives. But where does a human end and a robot begin? And would God want us to take science this far? Lots of questions make this a very readable book that would make for great discussions! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
Cherylahb 7 days ago
This book is the kind you read and never forget. I still find myself thinking about the issues raised through beautiful storytelling. The premises in each vignette are scarily plausible and hauntingly memorable. This book reminded me of Cloud Atlas, yet the tech and genetic mod aspects made it feel like, a cautionary tale for our generation. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK FOR all teens and fans of YA fiction.
gundy03130 7 days ago
Unique stories tied together that will have you thinking and not wanting to put the book down... Stronger, Fast, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton is an intriguing read. It will leave you wondering how far we can and will take genetic engineering/human modification. Just because we can, does it mean we should? The book consists of six parts containing different stories that are related to the main idea (genetic engineering/modification). The beginning started a little slow for my taste but as the stories continued, I found I could not put the book down. Each story was unique. If you enjoy Sci-Fi stories that are focused on genetics or thought-provoking books, you will enjoy this one. You will find yourself asking questions throughout the book such as: Do our genetic defects makes us who we are? Without modern medicine, how many of us would be here? Should we be prolonging life? Modification/genetic engineering is already happening, but at what point will it stop? Who says what is ethical in medicine and where the line is drawn? How will humans ruin this? I hope there is a follow up book. This would make a wonderful TV mini-series/movie (if done right- meaning The Wachowski’s) Trigger warnings/parental advisory: swearing, some sexual situations (making out, touching, pairing up to mate), religion (a reverend is tied in with the stories), death, some violent situations (accidents, slaves, killing). Overall, I give the book 4 ½ stars and recommend it. * I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this. #StrongerFasterAndMoreBeautiful #NetGalley #SciFi #Ethics #YoungAdult
gundy03130 7 days ago
Unique stories tied together that will have you thinking and not wanting to put the book down... Stronger, Fast, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton is an intriguing read. It will leave you wondering how far we can and will take genetic engineering/human modification. Just because we can, does it mean we should? The book consists of six parts containing different stories that are related to the main idea (genetic engineering/modification). The beginning started a little slow for my taste but as the stories continued, I found I could not put the book down. Each story was unique. If you enjoy Sci-Fi stories that are focused on genetics or thought-provoking books, you will enjoy this one. You will find yourself asking questions throughout the book such as: Do our genetic defects makes us who we are? Without modern medicine, how many of us would be here? Should we be prolonging life? Modification/genetic engineering is already happening, but at what point will it stop? Who says what is ethical in medicine and where the line is drawn? How will humans ruin this? I hope there is a follow up book. This would make a wonderful TV mini-series/movie (if done right- meaning The Wachowski’s) Trigger warnings/parental advisory: swearing, some sexual situations (making out, touching, pairing up to mate), religion (a reverend is tied in with the stories), death, some violent situations (accidents, slaves, killing). Overall, I give the book 4 ½ stars and recommend it. * I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this. #StrongerFasterAndMoreBeautiful #NetGalley #SciFi #Ethics #YoungAdult
Rebecca_J_Allen 7 days ago
I requested this book from NetGalley based on a recommendation from an author I love: “An alternately charming and horrifying exploration of what it means to be human and how far we’ll go in pursuit of personal and societal ‘perfection.’ I devoured this book.” –Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken It lived up to that! The book is a series of short stories, each with a different set of characters living out possible futures that employ today’s emerging technologies more broadly. The stories range from the near-future with small changes to the human body driving heart-felt debates on morality and policy, to hundreds of years from now when “human” bodies are markedly different from what they are now. Each story stands on its own, yet as a whole, they hold together to give the book a satisfying end. Each story highlights one aspect of emerging technology: genetic manipulation, organ transplant, extreme modification of the human body. As a writer of science fiction, I found the possibilities fascinating. As a reader and mom, I found them terrifying. This is a great book to get teens thinking through their point of view on how we should use the technology currently being developed. Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful will be released on December 4th. You can check it out on Goodreads or order from Indiebound, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. I requested an advanced reader copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Need more book suggestions? If Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful sounds good, you might like other middle grade and young adult s books discussed on The Winged Pen. You can find them at: https://thewingedpen.com/category/books/
Lisa_Loves_Literature 7 days ago
This was a really neat look at genetic modification and manipulation, things that are becoming closer and closer to being reality. Especially with the recent news of a scientist in China who supposedly modified the genes of twins before they were born so that they would be immune to AIDS. All of the different stories had their definite importance to the overall story. However a few I liked better than the others. When I first started the book, I was reminded a bit of the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman. As that is one of my favorite series, that is a good thing. The first story was a good one, kind of gave the beginnings of how this all could start, or has started, and it was twins, one ended up with parts of the other one in order to live. The second story was one I really liked how it went. It was a great story of how teens would deal with a situation like that. The way it would feel to get revenge, and then the way the person you got revenge on, getting it. I really liked that story and how it ended. The third story was about the Reverend who was what you'd call the religious figure fighting the genetic manipulation. But his story, wow, just what a big shocker. And then to have him fit into all the stories afterwards perfectly. However the fourth story, while interesting, and unique, still had a little too much that kept me from quite connecting with the main character. The next story started out a little boring, but then when we got the Russian back story it clicked and got to where it fit and I enjoyed it more. The final story really wrapped the whole thing up in a perfect way. It had parts that tied in to today's social issues. As I read, the science teacher in me kept needing some reason for why the people with genetic modifications were having the issues. And the way that the author fit that in, it was just, well, to use the same word I've already used, it was perfect! I liked all the different ways the author took each little idea with genetic modifications and how she saw things could maybe go. Some may have seemed a little out there, but who knows what could actually happen? That is what science fiction is for. Not once did the story get preachy about genetic modification being bad, in fact all the stories really brought up the reasons for why it can be a good thing, and I liked that a lot. I've already put this on my list to buy for my school library, hoping that my students will really enjoy it as well, and that it will make them think, just like it did for me.