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I Belong

Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen


AuthorMichelle Rowen

GenreYA Dystopian


Publication Date: October 1, 2013

Format: Paperback, 336 Pages

ISBN-100373210906 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373210909 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira’s psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan’s secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira’s only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can’t escape.


Quick & Dirty: Filled with suspense, mystery, killer robots and just a hint of romance.  YA Dystopian and gamer fans will really enjoy this action packed adventure book.


Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Twenty-five years ago a virus hit the earth and it took out 60% of the world’s population. Those that survived moved on because they had no other choice but nothing was quite the same afterwards. People started to abandon cities in hopes of getting away from all the crimes and illnesses, but whether you choose to live in the city or the country, it wasn’t going to be easy.  A utopia city called the Colony has risen where it is said you can live a full and healthy life. It is rumored there is a train that will take you there but only the very rich, or someone with connections is able to score a ticket.

Kira Jordan is a thief.  Two years ago her family was brutally murdered, and instead of going into foster care, she has taken her chance on the streets.  To survive she has learned that with a pretty face and the right smile it is easy to distract someone long enough to steal whatever she wants from them.  It’s not an ideal life, but it is all she has. Until one day when she wakes and finds herself locked in an empty room with the infamous Rogan Ellis.

They have entered into a deadly game where if you win, the reward will be greater than you could ever imagine, but if you lose there will be no walking away.  If Kira wants to survive she is going to have to trust Rogan even though everything she has heard about him makes her want to run the other way.  With the stakes higher than ever and the clock ticking, Rogan and Kira will have to be cunning and resilient to make it out alive.

Kira was an awesome heroine.  She is resourceful and shows great intellect when put under pressure. The last few years of her life have been difficult but she never gave up, and while she had to do things she’s not proud of, she always stayed true to who she is.  Her drive and determination made it easy to admire and respect her.  Overall, I thought that she was a very strong character and I really liked her.

Rogan quickly became one of my favorite book boys.  With his bad boy good looks and secretive past, what’s not to like.  He has spent the last few years in a detention center for young adults for a horrific crime.  He is in no way perfect, but as each layer of his character was peeled away, I found myself totally falling for him.  He is brooding and smart, but when his vulnerabilities showed through, I found I could really sympathize with him.  As for him and Kira, they have pretty hot chemistry and I really loved watching them interact.

Countdown was full of action and suspense.  Once I started the book, I ended up finishing it in one setting because I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down.  The idea was original and very intriguing. The characters were fun and engaging. The plot was pretty predictable, but for some reason that didn’t bother me.  I would have liked to have seen a more descriptive setting and there were times when things were a little too convenient. But honestly for me, this was a great read.  Yes it had its faults, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about them.  I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or what, but this book really captured my attention and stuck with me.  I have read a lot of mixed reviews about Countdown so I know there are people who don’t feel the same, but for me this was fantastic book and I would highly recommend it.  If you like YA Dystopian novels or you are into gaming, I suggest you give this book a try. I think you will really enjoy it.

Notable Scene:

I didn’t know what I was looking for. Even when I found it, I still wasn’t sure.


It was a bell attached to a sign that read: Please ring bell and the receptionist will be right with you.

Okay, it was something.

I held my breath and rang the bell.

Nothing happened for a moment, and what little hope I had started to fade, but then I heard something. A heavy, metallic sound.

“Kira. Look.” Rogan pointed at the ground.

I looked over the edge of the Dumpster to see that a door in the ground had slid open. I hadn’t even noticed the edges of it before.


I launched myself out of the garbage like somebody possessed and grabbed Rogan’s arm. There was a flight of stairs leading down. I pulled him with me, and we quickly descended into the semidarkness below.



FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Countdown. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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