The Barrett family is significantly stressed out. The husband, Daniel, has been out of work during the period of economic downturn. The wife, Lacy, works for a small real estate business, and she relies on commission to be the breadwinner for the family during Daniel's unemployment. Meanwhile, their older son Jesse is a moody teenager, hanging out with punk kids and expressing interest in girls for the first time. One night, Lacy wakes to see all of the food in the kitchen arranged in a peculiar pattern. When she asks their younger son Sammy what happened, he said the Sandman, a character in the stories Jesse tells him, did it before coming up to his room. They call the police, but the police feel they should invest in a security system. The security system proceeds to malfunction in the coming nights, and Daniel grows obsessed with what is causing these problems. Meanwhile, Lacy one night sees an alien in Sammy's room, and she begins to research what aliens could be, what they may want, and how to fend them off. The neighbors one day see Sammy covered in strange bruises, and they call child services and report the Barretts. Now, not only are aliens trying to take their child, but so is the government. They board up their house as incidents escalate, in hopes of discouraging the aliens, but as the night progresses and the invasion of their home begins, they must do all that they can to try to get the aliens to go away and never come back.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's not just a science fiction story; it touches on the economic downturn in America and its impact on the common man, which really humanizes what may have otherwise become rote characters.
Best scene in story:
The final invasion sequence, complete with Lacy being stalked slowly by an alien as "America the Beautiful" plays in distorted fashion on the TV in the background, is immensely creepy.
Opinion about the main character:
Despite the incredible strain that financial problems puts on this marriage, they manage to find a way to stick together through all the adversity, which makes us root for them.