I loved Rush, but at the same time I didn't. There are parts of it that made me want to give it 4 stars and parts that made we want to give it 2, so it's getting a 3.
First the bad: Too many of the usual boring YA tropes were used. Insta-love and what appeared to be a love triangle, which thankfully went nowhere and was resolved rather quickly. Hot guy with rather stalker-like tendencies who puts up a wall and sometimes acts like a jerk. Thankfully not too much like a jerk. I was still able to like him, and by the end of the book I understood him. The best friend seemed rather bitchy in my opinion. I didn't like her at all, and seeing as she and Miki didn't seem to have a thing in common, I couldn't figure out why they were best friends. Thank goodness we didn't actually spend much time with her. I liked the concept behind the Drau, but they could have been described in more detail. More world building on that front would have been nice as well. And last, Miki should have figured out what Jackson told her near the end of the book long before he told her, especially since she picked up on so many other things so easily.
Now for the good: The main character, Miki was smart and even though she was damaged by her mother's death she wasn't one of those characters that wallows in self-pity. Not once did she do that, and I liked her greatly for it. This sounded similar to Ender's Game, but really it isn't at all, and that was a good thing to me. I'm glad this one did its own thing. The "game" aspect of the book was fun. As I said before, I thought the Drau were a good concept for an alien race. This book actually explains why teenagers are chosen instead of adults, so big plus there! There is a good amount of action in this book and we get pulled into it pretty much right away. Oh and the best lines in the whole book..."What did you do thirty years ago? Send the troops in to play Pong?" I couldn't help giggling at that.
Just a quick note here about the ending; I wanted to scream at that ending! I'm glad the second book is out already!