Author: Melissa Landers
Genre: YA, romance, sci-fi
Series? Yes, Alienated #1
Publication Date: February 4, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
While Alienated turned out to be a sci-fi with a lot of contemporary roots, and not what I was expecting at all, I still really enjoyed reading it. The beginning had a lot of exposition and explanation, which tended to drag at times, but by the second half, Landers catches her pace and improves 100% in writing. The romance was totally swoon-worthy, and the characters were very well developed. Even the L’eihr were easy to connect to, despite their oddities. Overall, it had less sci-fi than I was expecting, but a great book all the same.
Lately, I’ve been on a huge sci-fi kick (cannot get enough of space and starships and aliens – any more recommendations PLEASE send them over because I’m running out!). So when Alienated was finally released on the 4th, I just had to read it! Not to mention the gorgeous cover – my shelves look so dressed up now. But I’m going to be honest here: Alienated didn’t turn out as I expected it. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I liked it until the second half. But I stuck through it, and I’m so glad I did, because this book ended up grabbing me and I hated it when it ended.
The first thing you should know (which I didn’t) before reading Alienated: it feels a lot like a contemporary in the first half except for the fact that Aelyx was an exchange student from L’eihr. The tech is mostly the same (except there’s a cure for cancer thanks to the L’eihr), and other than a few world-building references (like a woman president), it’s pretty much set in the same world as today. Once you get to the second half, though, the sci-fi elements really start showing up, and it turns into a mystery/adventure that is one heck of a thrill ride.
Like I said: the first half was rough to get through for me. There was a lot of exposition, but not a lot of world building, and a million hints at some shady business that isn’t revealed till later on. I’m not a huge fan of mystery and not knowing, but I can handle it. Alienated just reached a bit too far for me as far as the balance between excited and annoyed. HOWEVER! Once the exposition finally turned into moving plot and action, I couldn’t put the book down. There were so many twists and turns, and I really loved how everything turned out.
Now of course I have to address the romance. Because it was this beautiful mixture of sweetness and steamy. Now when I say steamy – there was nothing more than a kiss or two. But Aelyx has that exotic thing going on and… well… you’ll just have to read the book. Who knew that taking a pulse could be romantic? And then there’s the sweetness because Cara was totally committed to trying to help Aelyx assimilate to Earth; painting his room to imitate his own home, cooking a million different things till she found the recipe that mimicked his favorite L’eihr dish, and actually trying to get to know him and treat him as a human being instead of the weird alien in her house.
On top of the swoon-worthy romance, both characters can stand on their own as amazingly well developed people. Like I said: Cara tried so hard – there wasn’t even a moment of brattiness. She just accepted the life change and took Aelyx under her wing without a second thought. Aelyx was the perfect mixture of alien and human – I could understand him well enough to empathize, and at the same time he was inherently distinct as “not human.”
Despite my grumblings at the beginning of the book, at that last page I screamed at my copy – WHY ARE YOU OVER. There are so many unanswered questions and open ends that I NEED to have figured out. The sequel should be out, like, yesterday. I highly recommend this book as a intro into science fiction, or just a lighter version of sci-fi if you’re not feeling up to super techy terms. Or if you just want some epic romance. Either way, this book has it all.
Side note: Disney-Hyperion is quickly becoming a favorite publisher of mine. I’ve loved every single book I read from them so far!
When Cara’s mom is having troubles with her book club due to xenophobia towards her family after they took in Aelyx: (hilarious 50 Shades reference)
Mom tucked a black curl behind one ear and made a sour face. “And they keep pushing to read that unedited fan-fiction book with all the spanking. They know how I feel about it.” – pg. 130
When a mob of sorts comes to Cara’s house to protest Aelyx’s presence, and Cara’s dad steps in to take care of it:
Her dad’s voice boomed from inside the house. “I’ve got a Glock, a shovel, and five acres of woods, Johnson!” – pg. 134
When discussing religion on L’eihr, and Cara’s being a Catholic:
“I don’t mind. I don’t go to mass that often, but I believe in God. A lot of people quit believing when your Voyagers showed up, because aliens aren’t mentioned in the Bible. But that kind of thinking doesn’t make sense to me. If you believe God’s powerful enough to create the Earth in seven days, then why can’t He create other worlds, too?” – pg. 137
Aelyx trying to comfort Cara:
He . . . prepared the richest, most indulgent, and disgusting dish imaginable – a bowl of fudge ripple ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, semi-sweet chocolate morsels, chocolate sprinkles, and, for good measure, a chocolate brownie from the pantry. He even garnished it with a handful of M&M’s. . . . Tugging on her shoulder, he encouraged her to sit up while waving the bowl beneath her nose. “Look what I made for you. A bowl of diabetes.” – pg. 180
My Final Rating: