Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: Alienated

By Melissa Landers
Published: February 4, 2014

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.

My review:

Forget the little green men. For those who are hesitant to pick up this novel because of the dreaded "aliens" or "science fiction" genre, let me reassure you. Alienated is funny and at times reads almost like a contemporary teen novel. In addition to the humor there is also romance and suspense. 

Cara is a very smart and spunky protagonist. Before the exchange program she isn't super popular but she does have a popular boyfriend and a best friend she cares about. She is her class valedictorian and a talented member of the debate team. Unfortunately once Aelyx arrives her popularity starts to plummet and even those she thought would stand beside her let her down.

Cara tries her best to make Aelyx feel at home even though his behavior is so reserved and different from what she is used to. Her boyfriend and best friend are against the whole exchange and soon Cara is ostracized because of Aelyx. The town takes sides with more and more people against Aelyx and the L'eihrs. 

I liked how Cara was willing to fight for what she believed was right and not stoop to the level of her antagonists. Even though she went through some rough times and painful betrayals she stayed true to herself when it might have been so easy to give in and get her friends back. Her parents are also portrayed as positive and open minded though they do exhibit a lot of embarrassing PDA. It is obvious that Cara comes from a very caring family.

Aelyx at first seems like a jerk to Cara but she keeps reaching out to him and eventually they form a genuine friendship that leads to love even though they come from different worlds. Aelyx makes some bad decisions but he is motivated by how much he cares for the future of his own people even if he is misguided. 

The way that Aelyx is treated by the community and school reminded me of the protests of desegregation in the 60s or the way immigrants have been treated with mistrust. The book explores how people have a tendency to react with fear to those they perceive as different. At the beginning of the book, HALO (the anti-L'eihr movement) is just an over the top fringe group but they keep growing in popularity and spreading their message of hate. It was sad to see all the hate and faulty thinking especially in the teens.

The science fiction aspect of this book isn't overpowering. Aelyx has a few devices that he uses and telepathic communication but mostly we just learn about cultural and planetary differences like his aversion to flavorful food and how L'eihr isn't a colorful place. I think the next book will have more of a science fiction feel as it is partially set on L'eihr but I think it will still be "science fiction lite".

Overall I thought this was an excellent book. I loved the characters and couldn't wait to see what happened next in Invaded. I think readers who enjoy teen contemporary fiction would also like this book because it isn't heavy on science fiction elements and it has action, some comedy, and romance.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard too much about Alienated. I have seen the cover in my local Barnes and Nobles, but never picked it up to see what it was about. I might have to take a closer look next time. Awesome review!



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