May 08, 2014

Blog Tour: Review/Interview -- #Scan by Sarah Fine & Walter Jury

by Sarah Fine, Walter Jury
Hardcover336 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by Putnam Children's

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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 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.

What can I say about this here book??? We meet Tate, a teenager who does not get along with his father. In fact they have a pretty crappy relationship. All Tate wants is his father's approval and his father has set these EXTREMELY high expectations for his son. He pushes his son to be the best at everything much to the annoyance of Tate. Eventually you discover that he has a good reason for all the pressure he places on Tate. Tate's mother walked out on him and his father and Tate does not have a strong with relationship with her either.

The initial start of this book was a bit of a struggle and was rather slow for me. There were scientific words thrown into the mix that I found myself stumbling over in a sad attempt to pronounce them. I found that rather frustrating, borderline annoying in fact. However, once you get over these initial humps the story picks up and pretty much stays up. Let me just say that the action starts almost immediately after we get introduced to Tate, his father and their volatile relationship. That is what made me begin to like this book a lot more. Tragedy strikes and Tate, along with his girlfriend must figure out whom to trust and that includes his estranged mother. All of this starts because Tate "borrows" an invention from his father's lab out of spite and brought it to school.

The biggest thing I liked about this book is it did not take place in an apocalyptic world. Every sci-fi/alien/fantasy book does not have to take place in a fantasy world or one ravaged by war. I truly believe the authors did a great job with this. Tate is a clever, determined teenager, hell bent on finding out the secrets his father kept and comes to the realization that his father was preparing him for something bigger than a simple karate competition. The book does end with a bit of a cliff hanger which I do not like. There are many questions that have still yet to be answered which only means we are in for quite possibly a trilogy.

I highly recommend this book if you are a lover of aliens, strong leading characters and a HUGE mystery. Even though I struggled with this book I did grow to like it and I am excited to see what adventures await in the second installment.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer? What was the very first thing you ever wrote?

I never set out to be a writer, but as a creative producer, I am supervising and working with writers all the time.  It felt very natural to take a story that I loved and conceived and work with a brilliant co-author to write together.  
The first story that I remember writing was in 2nd Grade.  Around the holidays, my 2nd grade teacher assigned us to write a story in class about what would happen if you woke up and witnessed Santa Claus in your house.  In my story, I wrote that I would break Rudolph loose and kidnap him to keep in my closet.  The teacher made me, and only me, read my story to the entire class.  She loved it and must have thought it was pretty good.  She was a very tough customer and was usually pretty mean so that was a huge compliment.  (On a tangent, I know she was mean because one time we were doing an assignment and I raised my hand because I felt very ill.  She yelled that I should put my hand down.  Within a minute I proceeded to vomit all over my desk.  LOL.  She probably regretted yelling at me that time.)

Who do you most admire?

Abe Lincoln.  Leaders are tasked with so many extraordinary feats.  Lincoln not only rose to the occasion, but he suffered through a life of devastating adversities in order to achieve great accomplishments that he believed in wholeheartedly.  I admire not just the accomplishments, but the daily grind that he must have endured in order to face each day and the challenges set forth before him.  

What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?

I love Q: A NOVEL by Evan Mandery.  Truly a spectacular book--it blends time travel, with romance, with New York City, with a wonderful love story, and real stakes.  I can pick up certain passages in that novel at any moment and it brings me to either uprroarious laughter and/or a stream of tears.  It is also very grounded and feels like it could be real, yet blends some sci-fi time-travel in seamlessly.  The love story is epic and few books will ever pack such an emotional punch by the end.  I don't know if it is my favorite book of all time--I don't know if I can name just one--but it certainly is in the conversation.   

What scene was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene to write was the closing action sequence that is the climax of the novel and of our protagonist, Tate's, individual arc through this chapter of his life that culminates with the end of this first book in the series.  Not to give away any major plot points, but it is a combination of cinematic action in a blockbuster setting, heavyweight action sequences, clever character acts, and a visible and emotional coming of age for our hero.  I thought it was fun to be creative with such a vast setting and to put forth this type of action set piece in a book setting, as opposed to my day job where I focus on creating these types of cinematic moments for films.  

How different would you say the final version of SCAN, is from the first draft?

Our editor, Stacey Barney, is brilliant, as are our agents, Joanna Volpe and Kathleen Ortiz.  They all helped us make the novel as great as we could possibly write it.  Stacey, in particular, really pushed us to get this book to a place where it really hums and everything is set for the reader to discover and take pleasure in.  With such an extensive back story of aliens landing on Earth prior to the advent of modern technology, we had to work to weave in certain pieces of information so that the story not only kept our audience informed, but kept the tension at the taut levels we believed our characters would be experiencing.  


Cat or Dog? Dog.
Ice cream or Sorbet? Ice Cream.
Heels or flats?  Air Jordans.
Knives or sword? Knives.
Coffee or Tea? Gatorade.
Iced tea or hot tea? Ice cold water.
Snow or rain? Snow.
Movies at home or Movie Theater? Movie Theater.
Soda or Juice? Smoothie.
Twitter or Facebook? Twitter.
Actual book or eReader? Actual book.
Actual book or Audiobook? Actual book.
Spring or Summer? Summer.
Fall or winter? Fall.
Long Sleeves or Short Sleeves? Short Sleeves.
Young Adult or New Adult? Young Adult.
Vampires or Werewolves?  Robots.
Ghost or Zombies?  Zombies.
Action movies or Chick flicks? Action flicks.
Horror movies or Mystery movies? Mystery movies.

Mountain views or Ocean views? Ocean views. 

Walter Jury was born in London, has a background in the film industry, is a big fan of the New York Giants, and is an enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie only with soy, never whey. Scan is his first book for teens. Oh, and under his real name, he’s a producer of one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters. Let’s just say he “diverges” in his career from film to literature quite well.

S. E. Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. She’s a clinical child psychologist and the author of the YA fantasy series Guards of the Shadowlands.


  1. Yep LOVED IT! I reviewed it today also. Though I liked the science stuff and the meal descriptions, they made me giggle!

  2. Sounds like a great book! I love that it seems pretty action packed, and I'm curious about Tate's relationship with his dad. Also, I'm so happy I'm not alone in preferring snow to rain. I hate rain. It's wet and muddy. Snow is at least pretty and clean, and you don't have to worry about worms when you go outside! :p

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex


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