Published: May 1st, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Children's
Copy: Publisher through Edelweiss
Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.
All Tate knows--like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid--may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.
Tate is a slightly futuristic McGyver-like character* who has been taught by his father to think on his feet and be the best at everything. Of course, he has no idea why his father has been so hard on him all his life, so when he does what most teens do at some point, and 'borrows' something of his Dad's to show off at school one day and it all hits the fan, he is left confused, angry and on the run. Enter his mother! She suddenly turns up out of the blue and 'explains' what was going on and we discover that there has been an alien invasion that only a select few know about, his father being one of them.
The twist here is that most of these aliens don't even know they are aliens - huh! That was one of the factors that puzzled me a little. If the aliens don't know what they are, and are so like humans that no-one can tell the difference unless they use equipment that only Tate's father has, just exactly what is all the fuss about? There was a lot of action - things blowing up and hiding in unusual and dangerous places - and Tate was definitely a very resourceful young man, however, I do feel that I must point out at this time that he seriously fell short in one area - he could only speak eleven (yes that is correct, only 11) languages!
OK enough sarcasm. As you can see, this book had me not quite suspending disbelief in a few areas, but overall the story was fun, with shades of 'I am number four' and 'The Host' peeking through every now and then. I can definitely see myself recommending this one to the boys at work, but I'm pretty certain that I will not be following the series to its conclusion myself.
* I am of course assuming here that you all know who McGyver is! If you don't - have fun finding out.