by Melissa Landers
Expected Publishing Date: February 4, 2014
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
Purchase on Amazon:Alienated
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Interplanetary relations have never been more exciting! The first in a funny, romantic YA sci-fi series.
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.
Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.
Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.
But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.
Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.
Alienated was quite the unusual book. The entire book is like reading page after page of mood whiplash. Sometimes, I wasn’t sure if the book knew it was trying to be funny or serious. Cara, the main character, has a pretty off-beat sense of humor and takes things in stride, which makes you think this book is just going to be a humorous look at the ultimate culture shock: Alien meets human and they fall in love, navigating their differences and celebrating their similarities.
And for quite a bit of Alienated, that WAS the story line. Then, however, serious things would happen. And we’re not talking “serious” like break-ups and friendships and family relationships(all of which are truly serious, but a bit more microscopic in nature). We’re talking about things like the fate of the human race.
And while I did REALLY enjoy the plot of Alienated, this sort of back-and-forth mood whiplash made it incredibly hard for me to get invested in the story for quite a while. Once I finally did, I thought it was one of the most original novels I’ve ever read. I loved Cara’s voice. Even though the book is told in third person, Cara’s humor and personality shine through brilliantly. The effect that the world has on Aelyx is subtle but traceable.
The characters in Alienated are all so spot-on. I can’t say I love them all, but I did love reading about them! The chemistry between Cara and Aelyx was a slow-burn, and I loved it. Even though there were some things at the end that I wasn’t as big of a fan of, I do think it’s a story that will entertain and appeal to most readers.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the fact that Cara wrote a blog about hosting the quite-foreign exchange student. It was a great way to get to know Cara AND I thought it was the perfect way for this book to establish world-building– serious at times but also quirky and different. Much of what we learn about the L’Ehirs is through Cara’s blog. Some of it’s important to the story, and some of it not so much, but it all works to establish a world that feels real and plausible.
I love the way the alien world is navigated. How the L’Ehirs are just similar enough to resonate, but different enough to be interesting. Take something like the names in the books–they’re unusual, but they’re not so different you can’t pronounce of remember them. And that level of detail to the world and the story was what really drew me in and kept me reading.
Overall, Alienated was a quirky book that alternated from being humorous and fun and romantic to being about serious topics and the potential real-life consequences of certain decisions. The back-and-forth between these two states did lessen my enjoyment a little, but not much. I really enjoyed the book and would read it again/recommend it/read the sequel! 4/5 cupcakes.