by Brian Yansky

Candlewick Press, $15.99, 227 pages

The world changes for high school student Jesse and the rest of the world on the day the earth is conquered – in 10 seconds – by aliens. Due to his latent telepathic abilities, Jesse ends up in the house of Lord Vertenomous, the new leader of the alien colony. There Jesse starts to realize that his power is growing and finds, with the help of his friends, that the aliens may not be unstoppable after all.

Despite its title, this novel doesn’t focus on the aliens or the invasion – instead it is the characters and how they change and develop after being plunged into the role of “product” that moves the story along. The characters are all well-written and, in the character of Jesse, Brian Yansky has crafted a hero character that is witty and courageous. Jesse’s observations are often funny – imagine his surprise that the aliens are, in fact, little green men – and frequently poignant as his journey from slave to leader unfolds. It is Jesse’s hope and belief in his own growing power to make a difference that has the reader rooting for him throughout. This novel is funny, thought-provoking and hard to put down.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern