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Author: Nylund, Eric S.
When twelve-year-olds Madison and Felix kidnap him, Ethan learns that the Earth has been taken over by aliens and that all the adults in the world are under mind control.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 143800
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 54580
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/11)
School Library Journal (07/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2011 Life’s good for 12-year-old Ethan. He has supportive parents; a 13-year-old sister, Emma, who doesn’t annoy him; and he’s a star athlete. Then he meets Felix and Madison, two kids his age, who reveal that his world is a lie that has been carefully constructed by the Ch’zar, aliens that have conquered Earth by controlling people’s postpubescent minds. Felix and Madison are part of an underground group battling the Ch’zar’s supersized, technologically enhanced mutant insects with insect-robot fighters of their own, and Ethan reluctantly joins them when Emma becomes endangered and their parents go missing. Incorporating both familiar and futuristic elements with some classic sci-fi conventions and themes (the importance of individuality; group-think; giant bugs), this fast-paced, entertaining read also includes resonant, universal growing-up issues such as loyalty, loss, and believing in oneself. Ethan is a dynamic, multidimensional protagonist who discovers that his oddities may be his greatest assets. New fans will hope for further adventures from the intrepid young crew. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2011 Straight-A student, captain of the soccer team, and general overachiever, twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood is just a year away from being admitted to a prestigious prep school—if, of course, his tests indicate that he is physically, mentally, and socially ready for high school. His perfect world turns upside down, however, when he meets Madison and Felix, two off-the-grid kids who inform him that his idyllic existence is just an illusion. In reality, an alien race invaded earth fifty years ago, essentially gaining the control of the minds of all human adults, and they are now breeding workers in manufactured suburban neighborhoods—communities just like Ethan’s. A vicious attack by the aliens’ bug-like drones quickly quells Ethan’s doubts, and he joins up with the rebels, fighting the enemy using sentient, robotic insect armor that has Ethan and company flying at warp speed, shooting highly concentrated particle beams, and repeatedly saving the day. Video-game designer Nylund certainly brings a gaming sensibility to the story, placing the reader squarely in the driver’s seat of an enormous metal wasp as Ethan undergoes some serious on-the-job training in both the mechanics of a giant bug and the heroics of a well-fought battle. The action is quick and intense, peppered with enough near-misses and dramatic stunts to rival any Michael Bay production. Although the story is a bit predictable, Nylund capably lays out the world, blending both everyday details and sci-fi drama so that readers will find Ethan’s situation familiar but slightly disorienting. Gamers, fans of Transformers and the like, and readers who just like a good bug-on-bug battle will find just what they’re looking for in this series opener. KQG - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2011 Gr 5–7—Ethan Blackwood is enjoying seventh grade in secure, comfortable Santa Blanca. Like his friends, he is looking forward to the big test that will determine his high school placement. His older sister has already been accepted at Vassar and Ethan hopes for M.I.T. However, there are subtle hints that life in the "neighborhoods" isn't quite what it seems. There are picture-perfect Victorian houses and backyard barbeques, but middle-school soccer games are played using massive nuclear-powered suits. Furthermore, any place outside the community is off-limits, except on carefully supervised field trips. Ethan learns the truth when he meets two young outsiders, Felix and Madison. Fifty years earlier, they tell him, Earth was overrun by the telepathic Ch'zar. Using mind control, the aliens absorbed all human adults into the Collective where they became slave laborers for the invaders. Children were immune to the Ch'zar influence, but only until they reached puberty. So, the "neighborhoods" were established to provide artificial families where kids could be kept safely under control until they were ready for absorption. The two want to recruit Ethan into the Resistance movement against the Ch'zar—but can he really trust them? Ethan, Felix, and Madison are multidimensional characters with authentic emotions and realistic attitudes and motives. This book mixes considerable background exposition with fast-moving action. While the immediate plot issues are resolved, there are plenty of threads left dangling. Middle school boys will enjoy the high-tech battle action and will look forward to the next installment.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.