I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Scan by Sarah Fine, Walter Jury
Series: Scan #1
Published by Penguin on 2014-05-01
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Multigenerational, Survival Stories, Young Adult
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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 his school, killing his father 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 interspecies 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.
Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine opens with main character Tate at a martial arts competition. He’s confident that he’s going to do well and win and the pressure is totally on. Unfortunately, Tate loses and so, he has to go home to his dad’s disappointment. His girlfriend Christina who he is totally head over heels for drives him home, but she doesn’t come in because Tate still does not want her to meet his dad. So, anyways, of course Tate’s dad is pissed off and disappointed because he has these outrageous expectations of his son – who you guys is this total chemistry whiz and can speak all these languages. So, hmm, then Tate sneaks into his dad’s basement lair and steals this scanner which leads to his dad being murdered and Tate being on the run with Christina and his estranged mother and there’s like this interspecies conflict because humans are NOT alone, there’s an alien race that’s like 2/3 of the population called the H2. Tate, though, is among the humans and a member of an important family, the Archer family.
I am proud of myself because I was not wearing my grown up what the heck are you doing Tate hat while reading Scan. Instead, I just sort of let go of my adult reasoning and went with the flow. So, Tate steals the scanner and reacts in very teenage ways to his Dad and then to his mother. I actually understood why he was reacting a certain way – he is never actually told anything, so of course he would impulsively do stuff. He doesn’t have the entire story or all the pieces, so he is doing the best he can with the knowledge he has. Beyond his impulsivity, Tate is a cool kid. The back cover mentions MacGuyver, and y’all that definitely delievers. Like, Tate makes all kinds of explosives in a we need this to escape the bad guys way and not in one of those terrible, terrible ways. I loved how his mind works. I also love how he legitimately struggles with the news about humans not being alone and how hmmm, most of his friends are actually an alien species. I am glad that he doesn’t just take that news laying down, but he also isn’t going to lash out in irrational over the top anger, thus putting everyone in danger. Really, his reactions are very much sensical and on point. No complaints here in regards to Tate’s character.
What really gelled for me was how Walter Jury and Sarah Fine wrote the action sequences. I realize some people perhaps weren’t into the action and maybe it didn’t move at the right pace for them which is fine, but for me, I thought the action and the running and the explosions and the gunfights and car chases were perfectly timed. Like, we would get this heartfelt moment between Tate and his mom or between Tate and Christina but then before it gets boring or too much, something intense would happen and the story would go in a thriller sort of direction. I really liked reading about the chemistry behind Tate’s little explosive inventions. Seriously, that part is so cool and really moved the pacing and the story along for me.
However. I do have one caveat in regards to Scan. I really enjoyed my time reading it for the most part. BUT. I felt like the whole book was a set-up for a series, which is fine because it is indeed the first book in a series. However, I would have liked a tiny bit more resolution or for the plot to feel more self contained. I mean, I know first in a series books set up what’s going to come in the next books, but I don’t know, I personally felt like the ending was this total cliffhanger and like, I am just not that into cliffhangers. So, there’s that.
Overall, Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine is a cool book. No, really I mean that in the best way possible. It does not feel overwhelming on the science fiction front. We never actually go into outer space. There’s no space travel at all. All of the action takes place on earth and it’s not like they are fighting with light sabers. This is a book that I would feel comfortable recommending to my boyfriend – meaning there’s enough action to keep him interested. I’d also recommend it to my swoonloving friends because there’s kissing and romance and it does not feel at all out of place.