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Walter Jury and Sarah Fine. Putnam, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-16065-3

Fine (the Guards of the Shadowlands series) joins movie producer and first-time author Jury to deliver a high-octane thriller, first in a duology, about a young man trained from birth to uphold a family responsibility he knows nothing about. When 16-year-old Tate Archer swipes a mysterious invention from his father’s lab, he inadvertently sets off a multi-faction hunt with devastating results. It seems that aliens live among us and actually make up a significant portion of the populace; this device can identify who’s human and who’s “H2.” With humans and aliens desperate to obtain the device, Tate and his companions, including his girlfriend Christina and his long-absent mother, are thrust into an intense, paranoid situation where no one can be trusted. Tate, a polyglot martial artist skilled in making improvised weapons, is the ideal teen action hero, and Christina is no slouch herself. The story starts strong, but weakens once the heroes find temporary safety in a remote compound filled with human survivalists. However, the cinematic approach and constant action make this a satisfying page-turner, albeit one with a cliffhanger. Ages 12–up. Agent: New Leaf Literary & Media. (May)