Six kids, ages 6-14, live all by themselves in a cabin high in the Rocky Mountains. Here we have Max, the fearless leader; Fang, Max's right-hand man; Iggy, the blind teenage pyro; Nudge, the fashionista motormouth; the Gasman (don't ask); and Angel, the cute but terrified little baby of the group. They are nothing like other kids. They were born in a secret science lab known euphemistically as the School. They are 98% human, 2% bird. They can really fly, because they have huge and majestic wings. And they also have other cool superpowers. For instance, Angel is a mind reader, and the Gasman can mimic voices and sounds with 100% accuracy.
But soon their peaceful mountain idyll will be horribly shattered by the arrival of the dreaded Erasers. These are the human-wolf hybrids used by the School as security guards - essentially, created werewolves. The Erasers, including Ari Batchelder, a little boy Max used to know at the School who has now been brutally modified into one of these nasty brutes, appear and after a raging fight, they kidnap Angel.
Max, Fang and Nudge go on a cross-country flight to rescue their lost Angel. Along the way, Iggy and the Gasman join them after they are forced to flee the cabin due to further Eraser attacks. They later end up captured and brought to the School, where Max meets her old mentor, Jeb Batchelder (Ari's dad), who was believed dead but is now revealed to be a traitor. Jeb informs Max, most cryptically, that she is destined to "save the world."
The flock soon manages to escape and, on information Angel managed to pick up during her brief stay in the School, travel to New York in search of another lab, called the Institute. As they search, Max develops the most splitting headaches imaginable, and also a strange Voice begins to talk to her in her head and give her even more cryptic advice. And all the while, a seriously awkward romance starts to develop between Max and Fang, mortifying the heck out of them both.
Welcome to the start of one of my all-time favorite book series. Now if only they could make the movie already!! (They should fire Catherine Hardwicke from the director's chair, because she's delaying the movie with her too many script rewrites!)