Author: Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #1
Genre: YA Sci Fi/Romance
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.
It’s been a while since I read a book in a single day. Like, sat down and got totally sucked in to the world, the characters, the story so much so that I couldn’t put it down. This book had me in a paragraph or two, and I just had to know what happened next.
This is just a simple forbidden love story in many ways – two literally star-crossed lovers who have to fight cultural differences, expectations and prejudices to be together. But Landers uses the world around this love story to make it something even more compelling.
The human response to the L’eihr exchange students is frighteningly familiar – the fear at the unknown translated into anger and hatred. The way the behaviour escalates from picketing the school fence to outright attacks on Cara and Aelyx’s supporters is just so convincing. The way everyone initially follows Cara’s blog with interest before succumbing to troll comments is an echo of so many recent situations. The setting might be fantastical with aliens and futuristic technology, but the response is the same vitriol often aimed at people of different backgrounds and situations today.
As the reader, we can see both sides of the story – the narrative alternates between Cara and Aelyx’s perspectives – so we know what each is keeping from the other. It’s tense reading to watch them eventually find their way towards each other (tempered a little by the fact that we know that’s going to be the eventual outcome) with the stakes high. There’s a moment where you just want to shout at the characters to tell each other what they know, but at the same time there isn’t any moment where the characters are hiding stuff simply for the sake of the plot. Every character motivation makes sense.
I’m really pleased I’ve got book two to move on to, as I really really want to know what happens next in Aelyx and Cara’s story. Now I just need to finish everything else on my reading list to get round to it!