Barney is a semi-spoiled, seriously nosy teenager on vacation with his parents at a beach house. When three young, beautiful, mysterious strangers show up to rent the neighboring beach house, Barney wastes no time in inviting himself over and trying to figure out their story, ignoring the fact that they very obviously don’t want to tell him anything. The neighbors themselves aren’t exactly polite or normal, and even if you didn’t read the back of the book, it’s pretty clear that things are not what they seem (cue ominous music).
The mysterious neighbors play a board game called Interstellar Pig, and Barney quickly inveigles an invitation to play. In the game, each character is from a different planet. The goal is to have possession of a card called the Piggy before the timer goes off. The players who don’t have the Piggy get their planets blown up. Barney’s a little irrational and rude, but the neighbors are off-putting and rude, so they don’t seem to bother each other too much, and you do end up rooting for the bored kid whose parents would rather sunbathe than talk to him.
It’s pretty obvious pretty early where the story is going, but I won’t spoil it just in case. It’s a young adult book, and I have fond memories of checking it out of my hometown library. It’s a very quick read. Every character is a little annoying, but the action moves along and Barney picks up the clues quickly enough (unlike some kids book heroes who are always the last to know). Overall, not quite as good as I remembered it, but not a bad ‘intro to sci-fi’ type book.