Review: Scan by Sarah Fine and Walter Jury

Title: Scan
(Scan #1)
Author: Sarah Fine and Walter Jury
Publication: May 1, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Format: ARC, 336 pages
Source: Publisher for Pinoy Book Tours

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.

Before my proper review, let me tell you a little story about my time with this book. About a couple of months ago, I saw a red thing that looks like a book lying beside my office desk. Out of curiosity, I picked it up to inspect. I clearly have no idea it was for me (it wasn't on my desk, for starters!), I can't remember when I signed up to review the book, I definitely did, but I really can't recall so I left it there after clinging unto it for a while. I don't know about you, but books are like magnet to me, a certain gravitational pull always draws me into them, like this instance. Seeing it's an advance reading copy, I had an inkling that maybe, it was for me. I'm not saying that my officemates are not readers, but I'm the notorious bookworm in the gang. But still, I left it where I found it. I realized, if it was from any of the tours I signed up for, it must be wrapped in courier packaging with my name on it. I was just informed by tour organizers days afterwards that yes, that red and blue book Scan was for me.

And I was like.... BOOK!!! YESSSS!!!


If you have been reading my reviews, you won't be surprised when I tell you that I rarely read blurbs. Why? Because most of the time, blurbs are the best kind of spoilers, they tease you and tell you the story until page 50 and Scan's blurb did just that.


Scan started off with a masculine tone that made me realized that I've never read any novel written with a male voice. But then Percy Jackson smack me in the head and the boy from F. Sionil Jose's Tree hit me in the gut. Okay sorry, what I meant with the male voice is a book as masculine as this. Even just on the first page this book just emits too much testosterone.


Having said that, I realized that this is not the kind of book I usually read, I leave books like this to my lovely boy buddies who sometimes hate me for my girly choices. But since, I believe that life is short and I must seize every opportunity at once, I continued reading this and I can say that I really did enjoy it and it opened my mind into including books like this in my to-read pile.

Scan is the story of the incredible Tate Archer who aside from being a skilled mixed martial arts artist, is also a descendant of Dmitri Mendeleev, no, I was just kidding, he is the offspring of two chemists, a dire situation compelling him to memorize the periodic table of elements since God knows when. His training as a scientist, a fighter and a linguist is somehow doubtful -- I mean, come on, who in the world needs to be trained like that?  His father, Fred also feeds him with numbered meals complete with the daily nutrition he needs. I inferred from what was happening at first that maybe, Tate was the alien and that's why he needs to eat a precisely measured meal every time because his body needs nutrients to live on Earth. But I was dumbfounded when I learned that that wasn't the case, as stated in the blurb.
I open my door in the morning and find my breakfast on a tray. Meal Number Six. Two cups iron-fortified cereal, banana, eight ounces milk, eight ounces orange juice, blue vitamin pill.
We will later learn that Tate's Dad dies and he is left alone with his estranged mother and (the scion of Venus, herself) his girlfriend, Christina (who can attract everyone with x-y chromosomes in this book except for Tate's father). Yes, also found in the blurb which I only discovered after reading almost a hundred pages. And why am I too naive not to realize that the scanner they've been talking about would be the object at the center of this story, it's freaking called Scan, Biena. Why. You. So. Oblivious???


I'm telling you, the whole book is good if not for a certain minute detail. I can't understand why Tate brought the scanner out in the open, when he knows that there can be consequences. WHY? Tell me a good answer, you, and I will change my rating into 5 stars! - And oh, yes, this again is not a spoiler because... yes, you got it, it was on the blurb. (So, maybe yes, just read this book after the 100th page and you'd still get it)


Still, I'd totally sell this book to anyone anytime. Yes, I'd definitely recommend it. Because, aside from the issues I addressed above, Scan is what I can call a good read. It is action-packed and when I say action-packed, it's action every other page. However, there is more to Scan than the constant adrenaline rush. Reading this feels like a theme park ride where in the characters throw emotions at you and there is no way to dodge. There are definitely strong moments and powerful conversations that will make you think, yes, that is possible, and yes, that is you know, very human.

Just a warning though, this is a series. If you've read any series before you'll know what I mean.




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