January 14, 2014

Title: Alienated

Series: Alienated, Book One

Author: Melissa Landers ♥ @Melissa_Landers

Expected Publication: February 4, 2014

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 352

Source: NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Average Rating on Goodreads (as of 01/13/2014): 4.14

  • Christina thought this title was slow-building, but it turned out to be really good. It goes on her second shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♥ First Thoughts and Rating: An actual rating of 3.5 stars, but I’m rounding up (mostly because of one particular scene)! While I loved Cara almost immediately, it took me quite a while to warm up to Aelyx, which is weird because I usually almost always end up loving the hero right off the bat… even when I probably shouldn’t. Overall, it had several moments of humor and suspense that kept me turning the pages which turned it into a quick read.

♥ The Lowdown: Throughout life, humans have always wondered if there is – and some have even concluded that there is– life beyond our little home planet, beyond our moon, beyond our galaxy. Then two years ago, aliens from the planet L’eihr made contact with us, and as a friendly gesture, provided us with a cure for cancer because their genetics and level of intelligence is well beyond our realm of comprehension, seeing as they are many thousands of years older than us as a species. Over a two year period, our government and theirs have discussed at great length the benefits of learning from one another, and it has been determined that we could possibly coexist peacefully. So, a treaty is arranged and a trial period of coexistence is set in place. With that comes the proposal of an exchange student program, one where three L’eihrs students will become temporary citizens of our planet and stay with, as well as shadow, students and their families while on Earth.

But not all humans are so welcoming and some don’t even try to temper their hatred of this inner-planetary socialization. Not only that, but are we so sure that we honestly know why the L’eihrs have made contact with us in the first place?

♥ My Thoughts: It really took quite a while for me to get into this book, and to be honest, I’m not sure why. Told in alternating POV’s from both main characters, you really get a sense of who they are, and while I love dual POV’s, I think being inside Aelyx’s head made it more difficult for me to like him. Aelyx was disinterested, cold, and entirely too snooty about his planet and not the least bit concerned about learning anything during the exchange. Of course, he had his reasons, but it really put me off of his character for a greater majority of the first half of the book. That being said, it made me appreciate his growth in the end. His willingness to make sacrifices and to see him noticing the error in his ways was pretty pivotal in the progress of the novel.Completely his opposite, I immediately felt a kinship with Cara. She was thoughtful, delightfully funny with a little bit of snark, and was trying to make the best out of the situation. I only continued to like her more and more throughout the book, and I admired her determination to succeed in this little venture and to stand strong against even her loved ones if that meant that she was doing the right thing. Cara is one of the main reasons I’m looking forward to the next book, if I’m being honest. It was refreshing to genuinely like a heroine for once.

In regards to the secondary characters, this is where I think the book could have used some more depth. I didn’t really feel drawn to or sympathetic to any of the characters (aside from Cara’s parents who were awesomesauce). Each of the secondary characters’ portions in the novel felt like more of a distraction than anything. I think with a little more depth, especially from the Cara’s “best friend,” the novel would’ve felt more rounded.

As for the plot, pacing, and storytelling, it was great in parts and lacking in others. Some of the issues, mainly with the ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend getting together, seemed to add more drama to the pot than was absolutely necessary, in my opinion. I think the whole issue was HALO was “soap opera” (for the lack of a better description) enough without adding that fuel to the fire. I appreciated other aspects, though,  like Aelyx’s friend and fellow exchange student-alien learning to love his human family which served as the catalyst to cause disruption among the L’eihr group. It made me more sympathetic when everything went to hell. Lastly, I really enjoyed how the last few chapters were executed. That’s the part of the book were I felt myself really becoming invested in where the plot was heading and made me excited and curious about the next book, Invaded.

In my opinion, where the author shined the most was when Cara and Aelyx started noticing the chemistry between them. It was a slow-build that felt believable and I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t insta-love, not even in the slightest of ways. I mean, Aelyx didn’t outright detest Cara in the beginning, but he certainly wasn’t her greatest fan either. It was a barely-there friendship that gradually evolved into something more. By the end, they were pretty amazing together. If you read this book for anything, it should be for the sh’ellam versus a good makeout battle that had my blood pumping. Probably one of the hottest scenes I’ve read in a while, and it was relatively tame. It definitely played upon the seductively sensual versus overtly sexual card really well.

♥ Rec It? Sure I would. Alienated is different from anything that I’ve read, or that I can recall reading, which made it fun and original. Although I had a little trouble falling in love with the beginning, Landers sold me on the end. Though I know for certain there’s a second book planned, this could easily be read as a stand-alone. Yet, I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us in the second installment when Cara makes her stay on L’eihr.

♥  A very special thanks to Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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