The school exchange program never looked so good..
Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction
No. of pages: 344
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.
I’m not sure if I was sold on the premise of this novel – There seemed to be so much more world building and politics leading up to the point where an alien student exchange could take place. That fact annoyed me and kept me from really immersing myself into ‘Alienated.’ There were also a lot of similarities to the tv series (which is now cancelled) ‘Starcrossed,’ of which I had similar issues with. But ultimately I enjoyed both of these stories and the unique quandaries they offer.
I did appreciate the mythology and origin of the species introduced in ‘Alienated’ and noted the difference of how an alien race has evolved compared to our own. So much of the science behind their development supported the storyline.
The politics overtook the plot towards the end and subtracted from my enjoyment, it made it less personal. The developing relationship between our protagonist Cara and her love interest, Aelyx, was a nice slow burn, but not something I was totally invested in. But still a coupling I would ‘ship.
Cara, forever the overachiever and people-pleaser, is such a strong character, in that you can see the influences of her familial upbringing, giving her the confidence to stick to her morals and what is right. As much as I found it difficult to like Cara in the beginning, because she felt a little cold, I had warmed to her by the end of the book.
Aelyx is an interesting character, and yes, he’s the hunky aloof alien with an agenda very typical of the YA genre, but I liked him more than many others in this trope. Again, as with Cara, both of their descriptions felt a little stiff, and consequently, their burgeoning love felt unrealistic. However on the surface, Cara is the headstrong nerd with a conscious for the planet, and Aelyx the political stoic martian who comes to understand Cara and Earth, and through that journey finding a true connection and life mate.
There is plenty of secondary character arcs going on behind the scenes, and it has been one of the best plotted cast I‘ve read in a while. Melissa Landers weaves an expertly web of storylines that had me revelling in the world of ‘Alienated.’
Some aspects that pulled down the rating for me included the realism of the story line, as mentioned previously; the domination of politics; and at times some scenes felt written in just for the drama. I felt if more attention was given in setting up the landscape and development of the characters narrative if would have dragged me into the story more effectively.
This does end on a cliffhanger too – and am looking forward to jumping into book two: ‘Invaded’ soon to find out all of the characters fates…
A great solid fun read, I managed to complete in a day.
Overall feeling: okie dokie
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