Series: Alienated #1
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: February 4th 2014
by Disney Hyperion
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.
-A copy was provided by Disney Book Group for review-
Alienated brings us a good mix of humor and romance. It’s easy to read, and touches on serious themes including discrimination and tolerance. What I enjoyed the most was how Landers describes the aliens; from the physical to the emotional, they differ very much from humans. The L’eihr culture is described as emotionally cold for the sake of survival. They’re cloned from the best, born and raised without parents, affection, or even touch. Their government system would make many of us fear their ways. Aelyx’s perspective allows us to experience our own culture through his foreign, often overwhelmed, eyes. We get to see his reactions to certain stimuli like our apparently overpowering flavors and colors. Then their difference in thought process for things like affection and modesty – the latter bringing in a good dose of humor. Unsurprisingly, this visit has caused an uproar by those who don’t believe in the aliens’ good intentions. This became quite interesting as I found it to be representative of how society often reacts to what we do not know or understand, to change in general.
Luckily we have a protagonist who is not afraid to voice her opinion which is undoubtedly shared by many others afraid to speak up. This is done with the help of TV interviews, but mostly through her blog – although I didn’t find the blogging aspect terribly useful in the plot aside from giving us bloggers a reason to relate (which worked a little so I guess I’m easy prey!). I also found the romance surprisingly enjoyable, if a bit cheesy at times. The lack of insta-love is one I welcomed, and their chemistry is electric. As for the side characters, I can’t say they’re especially well-developed. Their actions mirrored the plot’s needs, and in turn their personalities were kept hazy.
After a strong beginning that captured my interest with the excellent world building, it was unfortunate to find myself get bored inside the lull that embodies most of the middle. For a while I was seeing no real progress aside from some threatening notes, being dissed by friends, and the growing hatred of the protestors towards Cara’s family; routine everyday happenings. Furthermore, while the dual POV was a brilliant choice for this story, the abrupt switch from one to the other without warning or even larger spacing between paragraphs threw me for a loop a time or two. Though this may just be lack of formatting on my eARC. And lastly, the ending left me feeling incredibly uncertain about book 2. There’s a very strong pull towards an oncoming love triangle, but that aside, I’m thinking book 2 will have to work hard to not catch the middle-book bug.
Overall, I did enjoy myself for much of this book, but I wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be. It did have a touch of originality in terms of the alien vs human culture clashes and dark themes the book takes on, but it still easily compares to many other YA Alien books I have read.
3 Hot Espressos
Thanks to Disney Book Group, you can enter to win a a Nook Simple Touch and a $25 gift card to B&Ne as a celebrating of the release of Alienated!
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