Alienated by Melissa Landers is the first book in a new series that tackles the question of what might happen if a peaceful alien race stumbled across our little planet. Alienated is on the light and fun side, though it definitely shows a grittier side from time to time. While Alienated falls into the typical trap of sexy alien boy and special human girl falling in love and trying to save the world, it also tackles some much more serious themes of discrimination and the extent to which people will go when they are filled with hate and fear of the unknown.
Note: I received and ARC of Alienated through Netgalley for an honest review. Somethings might be different in the final version.
Alienated by Melissa Landers (Alienated #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4th, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi, YA
Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog
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 quite impressed me with a realistic story of how the meeting between our species and an intelligent but peaceful race of aliens might go. I found myself playing through scenarios while reading to decide if I thought the human governments would actually do what they do in Alienated and I have to say yes. It was fun to read a story that required much less suspension of disbelief than normal for my preferred genres ;-).
- The writing in Alienated was quite readable and amusing with plenty of quippy dialogue. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud, but there was definitely a pleased chuckle or two.
- When I first started Alienated, I expected it to be fairly fluffy (the cover doesn’t really help this expectation….), but Alienated proved to be more intense than I gave it credit for at first!
- You know how we always talk about absentee parents in YA? Well, Alienated has supportive and adorable parents who are a bit PDA, hehe.
- I find myself frequently rolling my eyes at the portrayal of teens in YA, since they are often way more mature or way too dramatic than really is typical. Alienated didn’t have this problem, since while there was some teenage love angst and drama, it was not any less than I experienced when I was that age. Everything is the end of the world during those years ya know? ;-)
- Alienated tackles very significant discrimination against the alien foreign exchange students and some of the dialogue around this discrimination left a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the treatment of the alien students and the treatment of black students in the civil rights days as well as the treatment of LGBT students today. This means that when Cara didn’t call out her “friends” for hating Aelyx the alien just for being an alien, I got a bit uncomfortable. That’s not really the message that I want to be reading about ya know?
- The scare quotes around friends is because there is some major friend failing in Alienated. I got quite pissed off at the ease with which Cara’s friends abandoned her just for not being a bigot and the ease with which Cara seemed to forgive them despite them continuing to be openly discriminatory.
- The romance got a bit cheesy with all the alien courting rituals, haha.
- There is a momentary reference to how the alien race L’eihr and humans share DNA, but it’s written off as a myth. If the L’eihr are so evolved and intelligent, I really would expect them to be interested in how it’s possible that two species from different planets share genetic code, given that biologists are quite convinced that all life on Earth evolved from one source due to all life sharing the same A’s, T’s, C’s, and G’s. The L’eihr and humans pretty much have to be related based on our current understanding of biology.
- The ending was a bit convenient, tying back to the light and fluffy feel of Alienated, after getting my hopes up :(.
- The cover completely white-washes Aelyx, since he’s described as looking multi-racial with brown skin and brown hair. Also his hair is supposed to be long enough to pull into a ponytail and it doesn’t look like it is on the cover.
Alienated is both a fairly well thought out alien story and a fluffy and fun romantic sci-fi. Hardcore sci-fi fans will probably not enjoy Alienated as much, however if you tend not to be interested in sci-fi and aliens, think about giving Alienated a try, since I think there are elements that many different kinds of readers can enjoy. I’m interested to see where the Alienated series goes, since at this point it could latch on to those grittier aspects or it could stay amusing and light.