Taking place in the fictional town of Vern Hollow in 1956, The Doom Machine follows main characters Jack Creedle and Isodora Shumway on an intergalactic adventure. The pair meet by chance as Isadora and her mother are driving through the town on their way to Boston. Vern Hollow is all but deserted after a flying saucer was spotted there just a few days before.
The saucer, belonging to the alien skreeps, are in town looking for the titular 'doom machine' - a device their queen wants, but no one is exactly sure what it does. That is except for Jack's Uncle Bud, of course, the man who built the machine in the first place. The skreeps, and in particular skreep Captain Xaafuun, find the machine and kidnap Isadora, her mother, Jack, Uncle Bud, and the local sheriff and his son. The kids soon find themselves involved in an intergalactic conflict between the skreeps and all the aliens they've conquered... and the humans must destroy Bud's machine before it allows the alien spiders to invade their next target; Earth.
Although running a little long, I think this book could really entice relectant youth, specifically boys, towards reading. Much of the space language is made up, but not in an overly complicated way that makes the overall story too hard to follow. I remember the My Teacher is an Alien! books growing up, and this is definitely a nod in that direction. It's definitely for the younger teens in the library, but it's a cute story that deserves a read by teenagers of all ages as well.