Life is good for 12-year old Ethan Blackwood. He's the best soccer player in town. He's looking forward to getting into the best high school. He can't wait to train for the astronaut program. His future is so bright, he's gotta wear shades. But then he meets two mysterious kids who reveal the truth: it's all a sham, a fraud, a facade. Fifty years ago an alien species conquered the Earth, and now picket-fence neighborhoods like Ethan's are no more than incubators for future human slaves. All of the adults in his life are in on the conspiracy; they're mind-controlled by the aliens. That mind control kicks-in with puberty, so it's up to kids - and a group of adults living underground - to save humanity. To help, Ethan needs to become a Resister.
Best-selling science fiction author and video game developer Eric Nylund does a great job of building a credible "world" scenario in The Resisters, the first book in a four-book series of the same name. The writing is sharp and peppy, the characters get a chance to develop, and there's action on almost every page. This is a high-concept book - kids fight to save the world using cool technology. A tween who gets a couple of chapters deep into this book will probably read the entire series. The plot moves so quickly, that there's literally no "stopping point" for the reader.
The Resisters fight the aliens by climbing inside (eww!) giant tech-infused insects, using the aliens' own technology against them. These fighting insects are equipped with lasers, canons, and a dizzying assortment of weaponry. Of course, it's up to the Resisters to control their insect-machines, all before that first pimple or chin-whisker arrives on their faces.
If you read the online reviews, you'll see that the major complaint (really the only complaint) about the series is that it's derivative of many science fiction movies. An adult reader will probably see the influence of The Matrix, The Last Starfighter, Starship Troopers, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But my response is: so what ?!? As Mark Twain wrote, "..all our phrasings are spiritualized shadows cast multitudinously from our readings..." My guess is that Nylund's memory is filled with masterpieces of science fiction. (And of course, the movies mentioned in this paragraph are not appropriate for our tween readers, and they were made before Nylund's intended audience was born.)
The entire four-book series is available. I've only read the first, but plan to read the rest when/if I get to the bottom of my box of books. My guess is that your copies of The Resisters will fly off the shelf faster than Ethan and his Wasp!