A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents needs to know that Scan is an action-packed, science-fiction thriller about an alien invasion. It contains shoot-outs and car chases, some of which result in fatalities. The protagonist, Tate, uses household items to make explosives and nonlethal weapons, but the details of their construction are withheld. Tate and his girlfriend Christina spend a lot of time kissing and hugging, but they pull back when things get too steamy. Profanity and vulgar language -- ranging from variations of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole" to "bastard," "bitch," "p---y," "damn," and "hell" -- are used very frequently.
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What's the story?
Tate doesn't understand why his father pushes him so hard to excel in school and in martial arts or why his dad is so secretive about his work and research. After Tate steals a mysterious device from his father's lab and brings it to the high school, he precipitates a series of unintended and ultimately tragic events. Before he knows what's happening, he, his mother, and his girlfriend Christina are on the run from extraterrestrial agents who will stop at nothing to retrieve the gadget.
Is it any good?
SCAN is a high-concept sci-fi thriller with some interestingly unique features. There have been plenty of alien-invasion books featuring extraterrestrials who look, act, and talk just like us earthlings, but by adding a MacGyver-ish do-it-yourself science spin to the tale, coauthors Walter Jury and S.E. Fine give their narrative some extra oomph. The action scenes are well choreographed, and there are a number of satisfying plot reversals. Tate's interactions with his estranged parents are well done, but his continuous insistence on how absolutely awesome his girlfriend is gets a little old after a while. This volume makes no excuses for ending on a cliffhanger, but it will leave most readers primed for the next installment.
One wonders why the language needs to be so rough; Scan contains more casual profanity than many adult science-fiction thrillers, and whatever it gains in edginess it loses in gracelessness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why science-fiction scenarios are popular in books for teens. Which real-life issues are reflected in stories about alien invasions?
Why do some parents push their children to excel in school and in sports? How much pressure is too much?
Have you ever done something that caused more trouble than you could have imagined beforehand? What did you have to do to make the situation better?
- Authors: Sarah E. Fine, Walter Jury
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
- Publication date: May 1, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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