Author: Douglas Pershing and Angelia Pershing
ISBN: 978-1491091647more from this user
The Ordinaries of the lost colony—Earth—are about to encounter something that will change their world forever. After discovering that they are not only adopted, but from another planet and gifted with abilities far beyond their imagination, brother and sister, Tanner and Ryland, are forced to flee from authorities, both human and alien. In doing so they must learn who they are, discover where they came from, and fulfill a disturbing prophesy. When a secret organization within the FBI specializing in the extermination of alien life on earth, claim that Tanner and Ryland are fugitives and terrorists, their family and friends are thrust into a conflict they never knew existed, fighting for a people who are ungrateful for their help and facing foes that are powerful beyond imagination. While running from the authorities with their mysterious new friend, Kai, Tanner and Ryland must determine who their real enemies are before it's too late. Before the world—our world—is lost.
Tan Man and the Shifties
See that kid over there? Yeah, he’s cool, smart, good looking, muscular, and the girls love him. Fourteen-years-old with a great life in front of him. Unfortunately, that’s not me. The only thing we have in common is our age, although you wouldn’t know it to look at me. Life is so not fair.
I grew up in a small town outside of Wethersfield, Connecticut. In fact, I’ve never even been farther from home than Wethersfield. Oh, yeah . . . my name is Tanner. Tanner Ascunse. I know. Weird name. My parents are kind of weird, though. Believe it or not, I’m fourteen years old. I look like I’m about ten or eleven, though. I don’t even have any hair, if you know what I mean. It’s so embarrassing. I do anything I can to avoid the locker room so the bigger guys won’t make fun of me.
It was so much better when I was younger. I mean, at least then I looked my age. Back then I fit in. I wasn’t bad at soccer or baseball. I wasn’t the best, but I sure wasn’t the worst. I wasn’t always the last one chosen for teams.
Everything started changing a couple of years ago when my friends started noticing I wasn’t keeping up with them . . . you know . . . size wise. The first day in middle school the gym teacher told us to change. When I took off my shirt they all pointed and called me “Baby Boy Ascunse.”
Also, I break everything. Well . . . not everything, mostly video games and iPods and stuff. I don’t know how, but when I start to really get into a game or a song, the stuff just kind of fries or something. It usually starts working again after I give it back, but now I’m known as Tanner, the Techno Spammer. They’re not very creative as far as nicknames go, but you’ve got to give them credit for trying.
I do have a couple of good friends though. They’re kind of outcasts like me, but they are still good friends. There they are now. The really skinny one is Chucky. His name is Charles, but everyone started calling him Lucky Chucky because the teachers always seem to pair him up with the hottest girls in class. He’s real smart, so the girls don’t seem to mind. The other guy is named Frederick. Not Freddy or Fred. Frederick. He doesn’t like sharing his name with a nightmare or a cartoon so . . . you get the point.
Just when we start talking, I notice it happening again. Both of their mouths sag open, their heads tilt slightly, and a stupid-looking smile spreads across both of their faces. This always happens. It isn’t only them. Idiot guys all around stop what they’re doing and try to look cool. My friends don’t look cool; they just look like dorks.
Ryland must be in view somewhere. Ryland’s my sister. My little sister. Did I mention that life isn’t fair? Well . . . Ryland is the proof of that. She’s twelve.
It’s no wonder she’s the most popular girl in school. She looks like she’s about fifteen or sixteen. As far as looks go . . . she’s about as perfect as a girl can get. Perfect blonde hair—like shampoo commercial perfect, perfect body—which I don’t want to describe because she’s my sister—and bright green, yellow, blue eyes. Seriously, her eyes sparkle with all of those colors.
Did I mention I hate her? I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual.
Ryland comes up behind me. As per usual her disciples Melinda and Alice are trailing along.
“Hi, Charles. Hi, Freddy,” Ryland says.
I can’t even describe the sounds they make in response. It’s kind of a gurgle followed by a nervous laugh. Alice and Melinda chuckle to each other. They always enjoy seeing the boys so flustered.
“Tanner, Mom says we have to go straight home today. She wouldn’t tell me what’s up,” Ryland says.
“Whatever,” I say back.
“She sounded serious so just do it!” she demands.
“Okay, I will,” I reply, totally annoyed.
We were going to go over to Frederick’s house, but when Mom gets serious, we usually do what she says.
“Bye, guys,” Ryland says as she wiggles her fingers, and the three girls head off to the bus stop.
Both of my dorky friends look like they’re in a trance as they strain to capture every view they can of my sister as she walks away.
“Stop looking at my sister’s butt!” I say sternly.
“I can’t help it,” Chucky says dreamily.
“So perfect . . . like an angel . . . like a totally hot angel,” Frederick mutters in a daze, not taking his eyes off her.
She finally makes it around the corner, and the trance is broken. Conversations pick up all around us. Girls hit their boyfriends, and guys futilely try to apologize.
“You’re so gross,” I say. “Seriously, what’s up with everybody? She’s twelve!”
“She called you Freddy,” Chucky says as he hits Frederick’s bicep.
“Hey . . . as long as she calls me, I don’t care,” Frederick says.
I don’t think it’s fair that Tanner gets to talk first, but as usual, he’s clinging to his “big” brother title. As if.
Like he said, my name is Ryland, but you can call me Ry. I’m twelve years old, and despite my ridiculous dork of a brother, I’m pretty freaking awesome.
I mean, it isn’t my fault my brother is a prepubescent weirdo at age fourteen. I didn’t make him a runt. I’m just not one.
Anyway, when school ends, I’m in a hurry to catch the bus. I stood giggling at Melinda’s gawky, awkward, almost inaudible attempts at flirting for way too long after the bell rang.
Unfortunately, we take public transportation at our school, so the bus I ride isn’t the same as Alice or Melinda. Tanner doesn’t ride with me either because one time he fritzed out and totally destroyed this junior’s iPod. He said if he ever saw Tanner on the bus again, he’d kick his butt.
I probably should’ve stepped in to protect him, but I was laughing way too hard. I swear, I almost wet myself. It was great.
So, I catch the bus just in time and notice this same kid sitting in the back, clinging to his backpack. He’s cute, but he’s been giving me the creeps for a few days. He doesn’t glance at me or check me out; he just watches me. Closely.
I tried telling Tanner and our older brother, Bryce, yesterday, but they shrugged it off. “So, you have another admirer? Who cares?” Tanner snapped.
If I get murdered, I hope he blames himself.
I think about going over and demanding to know what his problem is, but my stop’s coming up. I can’t miss it. Not today. Something’s up with Mom.
When I step off the bus, he’s still watching me. He doesn’t even glance away. He meets my eyes, unafraid.
I notice his eyes are strange, like mine. They flit between blue and green and gray. I almost feel myself getting lost in the sadness in his eyes, but the bus door closes as it pulls away.
I shake my head, promising myself that tomorrow I’ll talk to him, find out why he’s following me. For today, I have to get home.
We only live two blocks from the bus stop, so I’ll beat Tanner home by about fifteen minutes. When I get home, I walk through the back door and into the kitchen. Peanut, my little sister, is sitting on the floor coloring.
Her real name isn’t Peanut; it’s Penelope. But really, who names their kid Penelope anymore? We all just call her Peanut. She’s six, but she only goes to kindergarten in the morning, so she’s home before me.
“Ry!” She screams as she jumps up to throw her little arms around my thighs, smearing what appears to be peanut butter all over my expensive jeans.
I must say, Tanner is an annoying brat, but I love Peanut. Not all siblings are awful.
I pick her up, and she wraps her little arms around my neck, clinging to me instantly. “Shhh . . .” she whispers in her little kid way. “They’re having the study today. There’s a ‘mergency with the Shifties.”
I laugh. “Mom’s having Bible study today? But it’s Tuesday.”
Mom isn’t religious. We never go to church or anything, but she’s got this Bible study that meets at our house every other Wednesday, like it’s the most important thing in the world.
Which would be why we had to come home. On Bible study nights, we’re in charge of Peanut. And dinner.
“I told you!” Peanut whispers loudly, “There’s a ‘mergency! The Shifties!”
Peanut’s little face scrunches all up, and I realize she’s actually scared. “Calm down. What are Shifties?”
Peanut’s brown eyes grow into huge round discs. “They’re bad guys, Ry. They’re looking for you.”
I would laugh, but Peanut looks terrified. Something is going on. I move to put her down, but she clings to me. “You can’t go in there, Ry! Mom doesn’t want to tell you and Tan Man.”
Mom’s keeping a secret from me and Tanner? Now I need to know. I sit and wait for Tanner to get home, keeping Peanut calm by coloring with her.
When he walks in, I jump up. “Tanner, I need you to watch Peanut for a minute. I need to . . . go outside!”
Tanner looks confused, but when Peanut tackles him yelling, “Tan Man,” I grab my bag and dart out the back door.
I sneak around to the front of the house then into the bushes under the front windows. Just my luck, Mom has left them cracked for a breeze. Inside, my mom’s Bible study is whispering in angry tones.
“I don’t want them to know! They’re safe now!” Mom pleads with David, the leader of the group.
David sighs heavily. “They need to know who they are, what they are. They are not safe.”
“They’re my children, my children!”
“They are not. They’re the future.”
My heart stops, and I stumble away from the window. Not her children? That can’t be true.
“I know that. I know. They’re special. Shifters. Will they really be safer if they know?”
David frowns. “I don’t know. We need to go; they’re home.”
I sneak around back and rejoin Tanner and Peanut. “What was that all about?” Tanner snaps.
I just shake my head. “I don’t know,” I say softly.
Shifters is a teen science fiction adventure/dystopian series. The characters are between 12 and 15 years old.
In the Pershings’ YA sci-fi debut, a group of teenagers develop superpowers and learn that their existence threatens an intergalactic empire.
Fourteen-year-old Tanner and his 12-year-old sister, Ryland, are the middle children in an average family from Wethersfield, Connecticut. Ryland is beautiful and popular, but Tanner is small for his age. Their normal lives are upended when they confront a teenager named Kai, who’s been stalking Ryland. Kai pulls a knife, but Ryland somehow disarms him with super-speed; he then tells her, “[Y]ou just Shifted.” The siblings’ parents soon confess that the whole family is from another planet, and now that Tanner and Ryland have reached puberty, their Shifter abilities, which come from adrenal-gland bursts, have kicked in. To their astonishment, the kids also learn that they were brought to Earth to escape a Shifter society that wanted to kill its own children, due to a prophecy that stated that a “young Shifter would change the balance” and allow Ordinaries (non-powered slaves) to rule. Unfortunately, evil Shifter intermediaries known as Keepers are already hunting Tanner, Ryland, Kai and other superpowered youths. Can the siblings protect their family and friends against the threat? The authors boldly show their love of comic-book superheroes in this charged and often hilarious narrative. The story segments alternate between Tanner’s and Ryland’s perspectives, which lets the teens entertainingly rib each other, as when Ryland says her brother “did a half decent job setting up our predicament,” but “I am definitely the right person to tell the interesting part of the story.” Fans of Superman (and Supergirl) will enjoy the protagonists’ alien origins, and X-Men readers should appreciate the youths-against-the-world theme. The story flows organically, putting intriguing helpers and haters in the kids’ path, although their time on the lam stretches a bit long. Nonetheless, the regularly occurring twists and explosive finale will keep readers riveted. Finally, the book brilliantly teases a possible future tale about another Shifter-ruled alien world.
An electrifying start to a YA series that feels like it can go anywhere in the galaxy.
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