If Alfred Hitchcock had ever done a young adult story, it might well look like The Homelanders a four novel series by Andrew Klavan now published in a single volume. The story has elements of “North by Northwest” and “The Fugitive,” but its central character is a typical high school student named Charlie West.
Charlie goes to bed one night, dreaming of becoming an Air Force pilot and having just met a girl whom he would like to ask for a date. He wakes up in a nightmare, strapped to a chair in a dungeon, covered with blood, and menaced by a gang of terrorists. He has no recollection of how he got there or why. Even more ominous, a mysterious voice on the other side of the door has just ordered his death.
Charlie is able to escape his captors, but that is just the start of his troubles. It seems that quite some time has passed since he went to bed in his family’s home. Not only is he being pursued by the terrorists, but he also stands accused of murdering his best friend and so law enforcement is also after him.
The book series tells the story of how Charlie, with few friends and almost every hand against him, runs to avoid capture and struggles to find out the truth of his situation. The truth will, it goes almost without saying, more dangerous than he or the reading can imagine.
We recognize that it is often difficult to find past-paced fiction that is appropriate for a younger audience. Klavan’s books are very well-written and do not lack in the excitement department. All this while keeping the content and the subject matter suited to a teen and pre-teen audience.
The Homelanders is an exciting thrill ride with plenty of action and an appealing character at the center of the mystery. It is highly recommended for proficient readers who love action and adventure.
If buying the edition that contains all four books in one seems daunting, you can see the entire series, book-by-book here.