I Am Number Four
The planet Lorien has been utterly and completely destroyed by the Mogadorians. 9 children who are part of the Garde, the beings with supernatural powers to help protect their planet, escape to Earth with their protectors. The Mogadorians track them, and start killing them, one by one, in order of their number. The first three are dead...and 15 year-old John Smith is number four.
I will say that I saw the movie before I read the book. I wasn't impressed by the movie. I was totally impressed with the book. I am so glad I read the book, because the movie did it no justice at all. At all. None. The movie is so far removed from the essence of the book I wonder why they even share the same title.
The characters are charismatic, life-like, and completely like-able. The relationship between John and his protector, Henri, is beautiful to watch. The relationship between John and his new friends is so believable, you can feel how John is torn when decisions that are hard to make must be made. The relationship between John and his dog, Bernie Kosar, is heart-breaking. I can't find fault in any character development here.
The plot is tightly controlled. It's a thrilling ride from an almost serene first days of school in a new town, building up to a little bullying and jealousy and male rivalry over a girl, and then zooms through the suspense of finding the enemy before they find you, and then climaxing to a full-on alien battle.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. One of the best books I've read all year.