Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

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I received this book for free from Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Alienated by Melissa LandersAlienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4th 2014
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
Buy on Amazon

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 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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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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35 Responses to “Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I felt the same way about Alienated as you did, Giselle. While it had a strong beginning and some highly interesting themes, such as discrimination, which I appreciated, the plot started to dull down as the book progressed and I started skimming pages. I also was never full into the romance for some reason.
    I didn’t like how it ended either and if there’s going to be a love triangle in book 2, I probably will not be reading it.
    Great review, Giselle!

  2. Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy

    I’m reading this next and I’ve been looking forward to it for so long. Most of the reviews I’ve read are similar to yours, Giselle, which bums me out a bit. But I guess I’ll form my own opinion when I read it:-)

  3. Tina

    Hmmmmm see this books sounds super interesting (I’m a sucker for all alien books) but then your review is full of opinions that I myself often find in books. I might just give it a chance one day when I’m craving some alien. The new show Starcrossed comes on The CW this month and I know I’m going to eat it right up and it might leave me wanting more alien stuff, haha. When the show Roswell was on air I was completely obsessed with it!!!! And I loved the Lux series, so okay I just convinced myself to check out this book anyway, haha. Great review!

  4. Amanda

    It’s always depressing when a book has a boring middle. Just kind of ruins the rest of it for me. Still, it seems interesting and if I’m in the mood for some sci-fi/alien reads, I’ll definitely check it out.

  5. Candace

    It’s too bad it dragged in the middle. I’ve heard mostly good things about this, with a few smaller things that people liked less. I’m pretty curious though so I think I’ll have to pick this up to see what I think.

  6. Pili

    I really loved this one! Since I read a physical ARC I think I had less issues with the dual POV, cause I was never wondering.

  7. Leanna

    Ooooh! I was expecting better things from this one. It sounds very fun and interesting, so it’s disappointing to hear that while it started well, it sagged in the middle. I’m putting this one on the ‘maybe’ list.

  8. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    I haven’t read that many alien books so I don’t feel like there’s much I would have to compare Alienated to. I like that the MC is a blogger, and I like the idea of darker themes. Hopefully, I’ll get through the middle. Thanks for the review!

  9. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I’ve seen only fairly decent reviews for this book so I probably won’t ever read this book, but I’m glad that you enjoyed the main character and the whole concept of this book. I definitely know what you mean about the plot though. I’ve heard similar things about how the plot kind of loses momentum in the beginning. I didn’t know this book is going to have a sequel, but I hope that if you read it, it doesn’t end up getting the second book syndrome, those are always the worst! Fantastic review, though, Giselle! <33

  10. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    I’m completely torn on whether to read this or not. I loved the cover at first sight and thought the premise sounded great, though I’m not a huge fan of aliens. Weird, I know. I want to read it, I just feel I have to be in the right mood first. Decisions, decisions…. lol

  11. Sophia Rose

    I’m pretty eager to read this one. I’m glad to get your thoughts on it. Good to know that you liked it with some reservations.

    Thanks and thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  12. Larissa

    I’ve seen this book floating around quite a bit. However a lot of reviews for it do seem to be in the 3 star area. You highlight both the positives and the negatives in this book quite well. Having multiple/alternate POV’s in a book can go very well, but like you displayed it can also not go so well. Awesome review! (:

  13. Kate

    I felt similarly to you on this (although I didn’t like the world building and found the premise to be silly, so I gave it 2 stars). I was kind of shocked, actually, by how much I did not enjoy it much at all after it got so many positive reviews from people I usually agree with.

    And I agree with you about the second book. I am suspicious about where it is heading.

  14. Terri Bruce

    Good review – thank you for featuring this book and sharing your thoughts. I’m looking forward to reading this one and will be interested to see how my thoughts compare to yours.

  15. Michelle

    I kind of love that the girl blogs in this book, so I guess I’m easy prey too!! I like the sounds of this book. Too bad it gets slow in the middle 🙁 But yay for no insta-love!!!

  16. Megan

    I like the premise of this one. I haven’t read hardly any alien books, so I might like it because I don’t have anything to compare it to. Does that make sense?

  17. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Lovely review Giselle, heard heaps of good reviews but for some reason something wasn’t compelling me to pick it up. Something about the clicheness of alien/human romance (oncoming sappiness). I’m glad your review sort of mentioned the points that weren’t very exciting, like the formatting issues (think cos it’s an ARC) and the bland side characters.

  18. Celine

    From what I’ve heard so far, Alienated sounds like a really fun read! I love it when books balance serious topics and humor. I think it’ll also be really interesting to read about the way everyone reacts to the aliens. I’m curious how exactly Landers handles that!

    The formatting issues are really sucky, though. I hate it when it isn’t clear who’s talking when. I really hope that was just because you read an eARC. I’m also glad you mentioned the slow middle. I haven’t seen many reviews touch upon that and it’s definitely important to me as I’m not the most patient person, haha. Lovely review, Giselle!

  19. Lefty

    I read an earlier version of this book when I was reading manuscripts for Entangled, and I really loved it. I don’t know what changes have been made, but I still see what you’re saying. There certainly could have been more conflict. It’s almost like it wasn’t layered enough. Landers chose a couple of issues and kept the story focused on them, rather than building a more intricate plot.

    The L’eihr worldbuilding was pretty great, though.

    Thanks for your honest review! 🙂

  20. Siiri

    Yeah, I know that Nick got bored as well. I love the sound of the romance, the slow-burns and haters-to-friends-to-lovers is always a plus in my eyes. If done right, that is. LOL @ the blogger part. I think that Katy in Obsidian by JLA is one of those as well–blogger who you identify with though it may as well not be there, because it doesn’t give or take anything for/from the plot. I really want to give this one a try though:)

  21. Wendy Darling

    Giselle, I was relieved that your rating was under 4 stars–I was beginning to think we would be the only ones who didn’t rate it 4 or 5! We just posted a review discussion of this book yesterday, and hoo boy, even with your mixed/good rating, you still liked it better than we did. I was pretty much bored and irritated throughout the whole thing, hah. Definitely was not as impressed as I thought I would be either, given the raves I’d seen so far.

  22. sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    I have been unsure on whether or not to read this one. I like how you described the aliens and world building but I just don’t know how much the whole story will attract me. I am curious though and may still give it a read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Giselle!

  23. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Okay, so I am laughing because my comments on the romance are like the reverse of yours. I didn’t think that their chemistry was all that electric. And, even though it’s not instalove, I felt like she skipped the part where they went from grudging admiration to feels; he’s just suddenly giving her a gross nickname, which no. BUT I loved the first kiss scene. That was hilarious.

    The world building was actually my favorite part, which is a weird thing for me. So, yeah, I liked that but the best friend and some other things were kinda ehhh. Sort of unsure if I want to continue the series.