Last weekend, I asked my boyfriend to pick a book for me to read off the always towering to-read pile. Being a scientist of sorts, he selected a book about aliens. I have always read science fiction, from Robert Heinlein to Michael Crichton to the million dystopian novel that have been published in the YA market in the past few years. But I did not get the kind of sci-fi novel I was looking for in Alienated by Melissa Landers.
Let’s recap: Cara is a straight-A student, active on the debate team, very ambitious, future journalist. Because of this, she is rewarded by being given an opportunity to be the first American to host a L’eihr exchange student. She is not thrilled, but it comes with a scholarship. Plus, her mother was saved by L’eihr technology that cured her mother’s cancer so she already feels like she owes this alien society.
Once the L’eihr get to earth, tension explodes. A group calling themselves HALO protests having the aliens on earth. Mostly, the book follows Cara but every once in awhile, we get to follow Aelyx, Cara’s alien exchange student, so we see how he feels on this foreign planet.
The best part of this book is Cara’s blog, which she starts to talk about Aelyx and the L’eihrs. They are being interviewed constantly by traditional news media, as you might expect, but this blog gives Cara a platform–and a leg up for her future career. As a writing device, we also get a way to learn about lots of L’eihr technology and tradition, and a way to see Cara as a person with a skill, not just an angsty teenager, struggling because her friends have abandoned her. There is a lot about tolerance and intolerance in this book. It was a little more heavy-handed than I would have liked but it does evoke the Tea Party and other current “fringe” groups.
The hardest part of this book for me was the romantic tension between Cara and Aelyx. It was ooey, gooey and everywhere. Of course the alien is hot! What kind of a book would this be if the alien was ugly? All the girls want to be with Aelyx, especially if it’s forbidden–although the idea that his spit is acidic turns them off (it isn’t, Cara makes that up to keep him all to herself). And Aelyx embraces his human emotions by having feelings for Cara. Oh, it made me crazy to read all those pages of tension between Aelyx and Cara! Angsty teen romance that includes the supernatural or paranormal is not my usual cup of tea and that was very apparent in this book–which only leads me to believe that it is a great romance title!
Recommend to: fans of Twilight
Galley copy of Alienated by Melissa Landers provided by NetGalley