Book Club: Revived by Cat Patrick

Cat Patrick’s second novel ‘Revived’ tells the story of Daisy who has cheated death more than once. The first time Daisy died she was five years old and known as Daisy McDaniel, in a bus crash that killed 21 people Daisy is amongst those who were administered a drug called ‘revive’ to bring people back from the dead – for some it worked for others it didn’t, for Daisy it did.

Daisy has been revived a total of five times, and each time she is given a new surname and moved to a new town. We first meet her as Daisy Appleby from Frozen Hills, Michigan, and we’re catapulted straight into the action as from the word go Daisy is in the midst of being swallowed by the jaws of death, after being stung by a bee.

Her guardians Mason and Cassie arrive under the guise of paramedics and Daisy is revived; the faux family moved to Nebraska, Omaha. That’s where the story really begins.

On her first day at school in Omaha, the newly named Daisy West meets Audrey; a friendly girl who helps Daisy find her feet and, like they’ve known each other for years, the two become instant friends. Daisy’s attention is also piqued by a mysterious guy in her english class, who is nothing short of beautiful. But as Daisy is part of the government scheme for Revive, she is always reminded by her father figure and government agent Mason to hold back, so not to expose the programme. But as Daisy becomes increasingly attached to Omaha and her new life, she often wonders if holding back is the best thing.

After becoming increasingly close with Audrey, Daisy discovers that the boy who caught her eye in English is actually Audrey’s older brother Matt. It’s immediately obvious that there’s something between the two and luckily, Audrey takes pleasure in light-heartedly teasing them about it. And after visiting one of the bus kids for their annual check up and getting stuck, drunk and passed out at a party with nobody she knows, it is Matt who comes to her rescue.

While her relationship with Matt is blossoming, Daisy discovers that Audrey is harbouring a crushing secret and, as much as she may want to, she can do nothing to help her. This revelation, and some other things she finds out living so closely with two agents, sets her questioning the morality of the programme and the life – or lives – it has given her.

I’ll admit, this was a bit of a slower read for me than ‘Forgotten’ was because the subject matter was quite heavy at times and I had  to step back and process what I’d read. Also I found it was a little slow to get to the action at points, there was a lot of speculating but the climax of the action didn’t happen until very near the end. Also, I found myself not liking Matt’s character as much as the story progressed, I know grief and desperation do funny things to people, but when he and Daisy have their first fight I found him to be spiteful and I found myself thinking that if I were Daisy I would’ve been less inclined to let him get off so easily, but then her eyes are being opened up to the programme and I guess she can understand him being angry, because he feels so helpless – like she does. Then also when she tries to reach out to him and he pushes her away, almost as though he’s blaming her or resenting her for something that’s out of her control, I didn’t think that was fair. Then again, I can really see Matt’s point of view; after what he’s been through Daisy’s situation isn’t all that fair either, but he should really be mad at the programme, not at Daisy herself. His character goes through a pretty traumatic experience and I guess that’s how he handles it, it’s just unfortunate that Daisy gets the brunt of it because he can’t tell anyone else, because she needs him too.

The plot twist at the end of the book where the action comes to a head completely sucked me in though as it was something I was really not expecting. It was a great way to draw the reader in as it completely threw me off and made me want to race to the end of the book. Matt also came through, in my eyes, in this scene, as well as in the scene where she meets him and the two share some sweet moments in his car. I really liked his character again then, and it showed that it was just his confused state before and he does love Daisy.

Again, the ending is wrapped up nicely in the epilogue and gives the reader almost like a look into the future of how life is for Daisy now, and even though she has gone through some pretty traumatic experiences, she is embracing what she has and is moving forward, content.

There are some quite hard-hitting and emotional aspects to this novel that I found myself getting choked up more than once, and even though I said I disliked Matt for the way he treated Daisy, the way he expressed his grief did seem realistic, grief does funny things to people and some people do lash out, and withdraw, and deal with it alone. I liked that it was written in a realistic way, because it made you connect with the story more. I also liked Mason and Daisy’s relationship, the way that even though he treats her like an agent and is always honest, and sometimes a little blunt with her, he is like a father figure, particularly at toward the end when he opens up to her about why he looks after her, I thought that was really sweet and I could see them actually building an affectionate father/daughter relationship after that rather than agent to agent. Finally, like I said, I loved the closing chapters where you see the plot unravel and reveal all the little secrets that were tied up inside it, and I really loved the epilogue where Daisy speaks about her new life, Matt, and the programme, Audrey and moving on, and thought that was a really great way to tie things up and end it.

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