Tate Archer stumbles into a secret intergalactic conflict.
Frederick Archer insists that his son learn multiple languages, math, science and self-defense—all in the name of some mysterious family responsibility. Tate rebels by sneaking into his father’s lab and borrowing an invention, a scanner. The next thing Tate knows, he and his girlfriend are on the run from police and secret-agent types. His father—before paying the price for Tate’s mistake—spills the family secret: Aliens indistinguishable from humans invaded 400 years ago, systematically infiltrated powerful positions and are outbreeding humanity. Only one-third of the population is biologically human. Indeed, most aliens think they’re human; their central organization ruthlessly guards their secret. The Archers are part of a coalition of human families in the know trying to preserve humanity. Tate puzzles out his father’s scanner while dodging aliens and discovering other coalition members’ unpleasant truths. Untrustworthy adults force Tate to solve his own problems—his skill with improvised, household-materials chemistry allows him to do so explosively, alongside his competent, quick-thinking girlfriend. The chemistry applications are delightful, but bio-geeks might be skeptical about the mechanics of the invasion. The prose sometimes overnarrates, pairing showing with redundant telling, but action keeps the plot moving. The resolution casts doubt on everything Tate and readers think they know, setting up for a sequel.
Car chases, explosions and action galore—awesome. (Science fiction. 12 & up)