Scan by Walter Jury and S.E. Fine. 9780399160653. 2014. Gr. 9-12.
Summer will soon be upon us, and that means the latest crop of Hollywood blockbuster action movies will soon be in theaters. Scan reads like one of these; you will find exhilarating car chases, plot twists, explosions, villains, aliens, and more in it. The plot moves from one heart-pounding scene to the other, with hardly a chance to catch your breath in-between. In reading the author bios, it becomes apparent where the Hollywood influence comes from: Walter Jury is a pseudonym for Pouya Shahbazian, producer of the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Teaming with another semi-pseudonymous author, S.E. Fine (Sarah Fine), author of the Guards of the Shadowlands series, they have created a taut sci-fi thriller.
Tate Archer lives with his father, who is excessively demanding of of him. He expects Tate to never settle for second-best, whether that be in martial arts, academics, or even relationships. Tate doesn’t understand why his dad is so hard on him and is constantly reminded of a vague “family responsibility” that his dad alludes to. His father previously worked for a shadowy private weapons manufacturer, and has secrets that he has kept from Tate. Many of the secrets are in his father’s lab, which a resourceful Tate gains access to and unknowingly starts a chain of events that causes his life to change dramatically. In an act of rebellion, he takes one of his father’s inventions from the lab without realizing what it can do. This has unforeseen consequences and enmeshes Tate, his girlfriend, and his estranged mother in an adventure that keeps the pages turning fast! The future of mankind may be at stake, and an alien/human war may result, and Tate is in the middle of it all. The book crescendos to a cliffhanger finish that signals a sequel will be forthcoming, and leaves many questions in the reader’s mind.
So, if you would like to avoid the inevitable sticky floors and exorbitantly-priced popcorn found at your local movie theater, pick up Scan, and read one of the summer’s high-octane adventures.