Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card “Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive”
Ender is six years old when his is sent to Battle School, an elite school where Colonel Graff and Major Anderson oversee the training of these young children into the commanders and leaders who will save Earth from an impending fleet of aliens, called Buggers.

I Liked:
I read this book ages ago, when I was a teen, and it absolutely resounded with me. Once again, I feel the same connection.
The focus is tightly on Ender, with maybe two sections from Valentine's point of view and one from Bean. This works perfectly for this novel, allowing us to really get inside Ender's head and feel what Ender feels. As I read this book, I, in a way, became Ender, as he was placed in an unfamiliar, hostile environment, as he was forced to out-perform and as he saw flaws in the way people attacked and battled. I could relate to his feelings of loneliness, of isolation, of his delving into the Fantasy Game, of being unable to put something aside (again, the Fantasy Game), and his drive to succeed. Ender is a hero to those of us who have all experienced something harsh, in school, at work, with family. That is why I believe he is so relatable.
Card mentions in his introduction that he was initially an archaeology student, then a theater student and then eventually a journalism student. I mention this because he writes in a fairly hard scifi genre really well. He has a really good grasp of zero-g and didn't hand-wave faster-than-light travel (though he does have faster-than-light communications, but, again, this isn't hard-hard science fiction) and aliens (making them near humanoid, etc.). Being an engineer who has studied her fair share of chemistry, physics, and astronomy in and out of the classroom, I was impressed with his knowledge and how he wielded it.
Similarly, I was impressed at how well Card wrote the battle scenes that he did show. Obviously, a problem can occur in fiction, where you have a supposedly brilliant strategist or tactician but the author isn't. Card takes the “Tell don't show” route for all but a few of the most important, most necessary battles, which only helps Ender's character.
The story is brisk, well-written, and easy to read. Card doesn't linger over unimportant details, strikes a nice balance between too little and too much description and doesn't write in an “elitist” manner.
While the story is outwardly about the buggers and the Third Invasion, the story is also inwardly about the effects of war and battles on the mind of a child. Ender is never older than 12 during the war, and he is forced through things that most of us would be appalled should our children experience. He has to think outside the box, he loses faith and hope, he despairs. Constantly, he is pushed, his superiors believing him to be the “Savior” of mankind. Constantly, he must redefine the rules and be better, to never lose. It is a rough journey, it is a perilous quest, and I think it is something that all of us can associate with in one way or another.
Lastly, I was so amused how Card predicted the usage of the Internet (called “Net” in his book). I am sure that there are earlier examples of Internet phenomena, but I still find it amazing that Card basically predicted blogs, online forums (are there any other than online these days?), trolls, several identities, and the whole wondering who you are when you have an online persona that is different from you (something that Valentine especially has to come to grips with). In my “online” life, I've experienced it, and I must say that Card has written it very well, particularly when he had nothing to go on other than his imagination!

I Didn't Like:
Sometimes the children tended to act older than their age.
The conclusion, I felt, was rather hastily written. It was almost a broad summary instead of a nice, succinct ending. I mean, it left room for a sequel, which was good, but none-the-less, I felt the story could definitely have ended sooner.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Lots and lots of talk of “farts”, “p***”, and other sorts of body humor. Other than that (which got overwhelming at times), there isn't a whole lot of d***, h***, or b*****d.
Petra is one of the few girls, and her first appearance is in the nude (non-sexual). The way that Valentine and Ender feel for each other could be construed as borderline incestuous.
Gobs. Ender beats up a kid outside school enough so that he dies (he doesn't learn this until much later). Peter threatens to kill Valentine and Ender (where are the parents?). Ender experiences much torment at school and ends up in numerous fights.

I am not the one for gushing over books, at least I like to believe I don't. Of course, I have my favorites, but I try to be objective as I can.
This is a very good book. It really brought back the “child” in me, if you will. It made me look into myself and see my struggles, my hardships, my brick walls. To me, this is a classic scifi novel, a classic “coming of age” novel. I highly recommend.