Orson Scott Card
226 pages; published 1977
"I am your enemy, the first one you've ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now on I am your teacher."
After two invasion strikes from an insectoid alien race, the "Buggers", Earth's reluctantly allied nations and militaries are fearful of the next, and likely final, strike to come. Their best chance of success, they feel, is in the training of a whole generation of amazingly gifted children.
And so it is that, at the age of six, Andrew "Ender" Wiggins is removed from his home (his parents signing him over to the government) and taken to Earth's orbitting Battle School, never to step foot on Earth again until the age of sixteen. Unlike the rest of his extraordinarily peers, however, Ender has caught the eyes of those in charge. He's not just another would-be soldier; in Ender is the potential for so much more. The potential to plan, the potential to lead ... the potential to win.
Ender's days at the Battle School are filled with trial after trial, each worse than the one before as the ones in control hack away at his childhood, sculpting him into the war commander they need him to be. The war commander they need to save Earth. 4/5