Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review: Alienated (Landers)

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AUTHOR: Melissa Landers
SERIES: Alienated, book 1
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
PUBLICATION DATE: February 4, 2014
ISBN: 9781423170280
PAGES: 352
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: sci-fi, romance
GIVE IT TO: HS
SUMMARY: Two years ago, aliens made contact with Earth. Despite their gift of the cure for cancer, many humans remain suspicious of the L'eihrs, who share human DNA and look just like us. In order to form an alliance between humans and L'eihrs, planetary leaders establish a student exchange program, where three human teens and three L'eihr teens will switch places for 8 months. Cara Sweeny and her family are selected for the exchange program. Cara's brother Troy will live on L'eihr, and Cara's family will take in Aelyx. Aelyx is Cara's age and will attend high school with her as a senior. At first, Aelyx seems cold and indifferent and seems to be hiding something, but as Cara gets to know Aelyx, she begins to fall for him.

REVIEW: So Alienated is not a perfect book. The writing is cheesy and cliched at times, and I doubt I will remember much about the characters a few months from now. It won't be on my "best of" list this year. The point of view chapters aren't really from only one point of view, and Cara's stubborn, mouthy confidence got irritating.

However...

Who cares?! I had a great time reading it, and it was difficult to put down in places. The two main kissing scenes are nice and steamy, and Aelyx's character will have female readers swooning. The romance goes a little fast for my taste (from friends to possibly more than friends to...betrothed? Really?). The science of the algae growth is a little weird, but the premise of the story--an alien student exchange program--is awesome and would be super-easy to promote in book talks.

The humans' response to the young alien living in their small town would be great to compare with the 1960 Civil Rights Movement. They protest the school, picket in front of Cara's home, shun Cara's family because they won't quit the exchange program. As heavy-handed as it seems in the story, I can see people having trouble trusting an alien--especially one so smart who possesses advanced technology--living among them. I don't agree with their tactics, but I can understand their fear.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Despite its flaws, I really did enjoy this story and will likely read the sequel when it comes out. This will be an easy sell with teen readers who like their science fiction peppered with a heavy dose of romance.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I'll probably get it. Better for 8th grade than 6th because of sexual content (see below).

READALIKES: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick (Schreiber), Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Fantaskey)

RATING BREAKDOWN:
  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Engrossing: 4/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:
  • Language: mild; damn, ass
  • Sexuality: medium; two intense horizontal kissing scenes (in one, their shirts come off)
  • Violence: mild-medium; assault and attempted murder
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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