I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Release Date: August 30, 2010
Reading level: Young Adult
Nine teenagers and their guardians are hiding on Earth... protected by a charm that means they can only be killed in numeric order, three are already dead. John Smith is Number Four. And his mortal enemies, the Mogadorian, are hunting him down.
The only way to keep off radar is to keep moving, never staying in one place for long. Finally in the firing line, all he can do is adopt the guise of a student and pray his unusual gifts—his legacies home; Planet Lorien—stay hidden long enough for him to settle into this new community.
But others seem to sense his otherness and when small-town life sucks him into its intrigues, it’s only a matter of time before his true nature is revealed. And that means there’s no space for love, friendship or a future if it means protecting not only himself, but the other five.
-- from Goodreads.com
The idea behind this book isn't a new one, per se. Aliens escaping a dying homeworld overtaken by a hostile enemy end up on earth. It's been done. That being said, that's where the similarity between this book & anything I've ever read (or watched for that matter) ends. What we have here, kids, is a launch into a really fun thrill ride full of new magics & new ways to look at aliens on Earth.
The monsters in this book were my favorite part. Yes, that's ghoulish, I know, but they were unique to anything I've ever read. There was a very dark, gritty feel to them & their reputation. I could feel the noose tightening around John & his friends the closer the Mogadorians got to them. It was a tangible, real fear that I relished. Then, once the showdown begins, you see that they definitely deserved the fear! They have some pretty terrifying powers, weapons, & beasties!
I loved the gentle yet fierce romantic undercurrent of the book. John & Sarah were sweet together & I completely believed that they would find each other attractive. It was a great complication too that John had to try to keep such a large portion of himself, his alien-ness, a secret from the one person he wanted to tell everything to. The angst was subtle & just enough to pull the romance along without it becoming even minutely annoying.
Overall, I thought this was one of the best books I've ever read in the sci-fi genre. It had all the things that I enjoy: history & lore, future prophecy, real-feeling characters, grit, suspense, great friendships, & a little bit of love to tie it all up in a nice bow.