About the Book

Title: Scan (Scan #1)
Published: 2013
Series: Scan
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Oh, Shi—
BFF Charms: Big Sister
Talky Talk: Boys Will Be Boring?
Bonus Factor: Action Movie Antics
Relationship Status: On Your Side-ish

Cover Story: Oh, Shi—

At first, all looks well on this cover. The Earth looks peaceful, the rays of the red sun shining down on it from above. Wait—this isn’t Krypton! We don’t have a red sun! And what’s that peeking out from the corner?


The Deal:

Tate Archer has spent his entire 16 years of life trying to earn his father’s approval. He follows a strict schedule of sleeping, working out, eating, studying, going to school, working out, eating, studying, sleeping…. He tries to be a normal teenager on occasion, and hang out with his friends and his girlfriend, but his father constantly presses him to be better, to train more and to learn more. All for his future and the family’s “responsibility”—whatever that might be.

When Tate breaks into his father’s top-secret lab—just one of the little ways he gets back at him—and steals a strange piece of technology to show off at school, Tate unwittingly causes a chain reaction that leads him to discoveries about his familial responsibility that are light-years away from anything he could have ever imagined.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

BFF Charm Big Sister with Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All's face

Tate is very much a 16-year-old boy. Although I never went through the trials of being a teenage male (thank goodness), I can sympathize with him. The teenage years are hard, for everyone. Strict parents, tough schoolwork, uncontrollable and crazy emotions running rampant. In addition, Tate has to deal with [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS], which would drive any sane person a little bit off the edge. He’s a good kid, all things considered. Plus: I loved how honest his relationship with his girlfriend, Christina, was portrayed. He would do anything for her, and is an utter gentleman…for the most part.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

I’ve mentioned this above, but Tate is a teenage boy. He has, well, the urges any teenage boy might have. Case in point:

I open my eyes, and my gaze slides from painted toenails to smooth, shapely legs to oh man, I so wish we were not in a moving vehicle right now.

Typical teenage boy. But then he also thinks things like this:

My heart lifts just thinking of her. I need to see her face. Watch her smile. Hear her tell me I’m all right. And she will, too. She always does.

This is the kind of guy teenage girls dream about. (At least I know I did.) Someone who can admit the way he feels, at least to himself, and basically worships the ground they walk on. Swoon-city.

Talky Talk: Boys Will Be Boring?

In Tate, Sarah Fine and Walter Jury have created a very believable main character. But what Scan makes up for in great characterization, it lacks in interesting storytelling. I should have been totally captivated by Tate’s story. It’s got intrigue and action in spades. I usually love that sort of thing. And yet, the book failed to fully grab my attention. Even the reveal at the end, which I didn’t entirely see coming, left me with a kind of meh feeling.

Bonus Factor: Action Movie Antics

I love action movies. Like a lot. (Case in point: When the official The Expendables 3 Twitter account started following me, I FREAKED.) Scan is filled with action—from car chases to shootouts to narrow escapes from unruly mobs. It’s got all the earmarks of an excellent action flick. (Which, sadly, didn’t translate that well to the page. See Talky Talk, above.)

Relationship Status: On Your Side-ish

You’ve got me in a conundrum, Book. On the one hand, Tate is great. On the other, your action didn’t grab me. I’d like to see what happens with you the future, so I’d be OK if you kept in touch. Just don’t expect me to call you back right away.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. Scan is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.