Alienated (Alienated, # 1)
By: Melissa Landers
Expected Publication: February 4th 2014 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!!)
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Goodreads description--Interplanetary relations have never been more exciting! The first in a funny, romantic YA sci-fi series.
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 started out with a really cool concept—alien foreign exchange student. I love the pretty cover. But the description is misleading, as sometimes happens. Cara’s alien exchange student isn’t the only one. There are three exchange students. One in the US, one in China, and one in France. It also leads you to believe that Cara is excited about the prospect of this situation. Truth be told, Cara didn’t apply for this position, she didn’t want it, and she didn’t even know it was available. But she gets chosen as one of the lucky three host families, and she decides to do what she can to make the best of it.
Unlike the misleading aspects from the description that I mentioned above, the rest of the description pretty much covers the entirety of the story. It’s almost unnecessary for you to even read this book once you’ve read the description. While Cara might not have been excited about this situation, she does realize that it can help her future with the scholarship provided, with her desire to be a journalist—thus her starting a blog (not that she had one beforehand)—and her future career in general. But Aelyx is exactly what the description says—cold and lightyears ahead in intellect. But not just Aelyx, apparently all L’eihrs are the same in this aspect. The town, and pretty much most of the planet, fears the unknown and things turn, unsurprisingly violent. Oh yeah, and Cara and Aelyx just happen to fall in love in the process. But wait, don’t forget the lies and danger to Earth that the description mentioned too. I mean seriously, that wraps up the book. No mystery left to it.
My main frustrations with Alienated revolve around how completely unoriginal it is. The foreign exchange concept was unique, but that can only take you so far. The fact that aliens happen to have remarkably similar DNA to humans—enough that the idea of breeding/mating with them doesn’t gross any readers out—that the alien race is so far advanced beyond that of us meager humans, humans are mostly evil creatures who always lash out violently because of fear and who can’t be expected to treat the planet well because seriously all we do is contaminate things….well all of this sounds like 90% of every other alien storyline EVER!!!! There’s nothing original here. And most of these concepts are so overdone that they’re nothing short of eye-roll-worthy. Add to that the cheesy plays on the word L’eihr that the author continually pulls in (e.g. L’annabes, L’awareness) is not my cup of tea.
While I didn’t feel like the writing (the voice I guess) itself was lacking, I wasn’t thrilled with the storyline, plot, characters, etc. The further I got into the story, the less interested I became. I can’t give this one 2 Stars because I feel like the writing is above that and I can’t say I really “disliked it”. But I can’t give it 3 Stars because I’m not sure I really “liked it” either. Truthfully, it was just middle of the road, okay. I probably won’t remember much about it in the future, and to be completely honest, at this point I don’t plan to continue the series. Final rating: 2.5 Stars. Have you read Alienated? What did you think? Let me know!