Scan by Walter Jury and S.E. Fine (Putnam, May 1st, 2017)-Tate Archer is fed up. He’s fed up with what his dad puts him through day in and day out: learning multiple languages, higher math, on and on, with never any reason why he’s expected to be the perfect teen, the perfect man. He does know that his father has worked on weapons for the government, and his dad’s got a secret room full of (very dangerous) toys. One day, he and his girlfriend, Christina, discover a device that Tate hasn’t seen before. Tate, on a whim, takes it to school the next day, and that’s when everything pretty much goes to hell. He finds out that an alien race, called the H2, have actually lived among us for four centuries, and they want to get their hands on the device, but why? Soon, Tate’s father, Fred, and another man, Race Lavin, arrive at the school with the police in tow, and it’s immediately obvious that Fred and Race are not on the same team. Tate and Christina do manage to get away, but not before Fred is shot and killed. On their own, Tate and Christina have no choice but to head to Tate’s estranged mother, who will hopefully have some answers. She does have answers, in fact, and Tate learns that the struggle between humans and the H2 is worldwide, and much bigger than he could have imagined.
This book is just pure fun. From the time Tate realizes that aliens are among us, the chase is on. It seems that a bunch of people want the scanner, and they’ll do anything to get it. Tate’s mom is a delightful surprise and so is Christina, who is strong and resourceful, and who kicks plenty of ass when the occasion calls for it. Tate and his affinity for chemistry come in handy to spectacular effect as well. There are tense chases, plenty of explosions, and tons of excitement. It’s perfect for teens that love cinematic fiction, and even though it has a male protagonist, I think this will appeal to girls as well, especially those that like plenty of action. Tate’s love for Christina and his willingness to protect her was one of the things I loved, although Christina can more than fend for herself. Scan reminded me of a combination of MacGuyver and They Live (that dates me a little, but there it is), and it’s highly entertaining. Tate never quite knows who he can trust, even his mother at first, and it adds plenty of tension to the narrative. Scan’s cliffhanger ending left me a bit on edge, but that’s ok, because I’ll look forward to the next installment in this wildly fun SF series.