Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 / ★★★★
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read this advanced copy. Writing this honest review to say thank you!
River’s Review (4.5 Stars)
I really really enjoyed this! It’s a super light sci-fi, almost more of a contemporary than a full blown sci-fi novel. I loved the balance between the romance, the sci-fi elements, and the action. I also really liked ALL of the characters. Sure there were a few side characters that were stereotypical, but that didn’t really bother me so much.
So, we have Cara, your over-achieving high school student who ends up getting selected to host an alien in an intergalactic study abroad! I loved this so much because I did study abroad and lived with a host family so I could totally connect with Aelyx about that. Not being able to eat the food, not understanding how to act in a family you don’t really know, or in a culture you don’t fully understand. I think I would have liked to have seen a LITTLE more culture shock… but overall it didn’t feel too unrealistic. I also liked that Cara was there with him every step of the way.
Aelyx and Cara were both great. Cara’s a fireball and she’s not only smart but totally reasonable. She doesn’t let people walk all over her, and she stood up for what she believed in. There was a point where it all got too much for her and she broke down, but even then she didn’t wallow around in self pity, and she was able to bounce back pretty quickly.
Aelyx… swoon! I love guys like him. He started off super stand-off-ish and kind of a jerk, but he slowly came around and by the end he’d really changed and grown a lot. I loved seeing how he developed into from an emotionless void into this really caring guy who would do anything for Cara. And while I didn’t like all of his lies, I did like that he was a redeemable character.
The writing in this was SO good. It’s filled with humor and snappy one-liners (there was ONE place that I felt they were a bit too much) that had me smiling and laughing even when things were a bit grim. I also liked that this wasn’t from first person POV, and while the POVs were alternating, it wasn’t like alternating chapters or anything (which I really don’t like), so we were able to see things from both Cara and Aelyx’s POVs.
The romance really worked for me. No insta-love here! Sure he’s super hot (he IS a clone created from a selective breading program…) but Cara doesn’t let that determine her feelings for him. Things built very slowly and while there was one really dramatic point that kinda made me roll my eyes (and bumped it down half a star) Cara didn’t put up with Aelyx’s shit and I LOVED that!
Good writing, solid characters, fun world. I really loved this, and as one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 I’m really glad that I did!
Sam’s Review (4 Stars)
I wish I could say Alienated was a guilty pleasure or something, but it wasn’t. This book is just so freakin’ fun and the writing works SO WELL in its funness (not a word, I know!). It’s just a difficult book to describe because it does have it’s moments of corny and cheesy, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care because the world, the characters, and their interactions were SO FUN (yes that seems to be the word of the review, shoot me).
I loved the interaction in this books. The characters were wonderfully awkward and had to grow into their skins, particularly Cara and Aelyx, who were so snarky at each other. I actually liked how the romance actually took effort — they got to know each other, it wasn’t love at first sight, none of the stereotypes you come to expect from YA. Aelyx is a tool for most of this book, but he’s got very obvious faults that make his toolishness a bit easier to understand. I quite loved his character more than I normally would. I didn’t like Cara right away, but she really grew on me as the story went on and I like how she transforms in the end. She’s pretty damn funny too.
This book is not amazing, but it’s hard for me to pinpoint what I actually don’t like about it. The ride was exciting, fast, engaging, and fun. Alienated doesn’t feel like a sci-fi story at all, but the elements are there and when they are there they are noticeable and don’t really detract. I did at times forget that Aelyx was an alien though! This book reads so much more like a good contemporary novel than a sci-fi story.
So yeah, this book is hilarious and fun. Alienated may win my award of most fun I’ve had in awhile reading YA (which is a feat considering all the sad YA books I seem to keep reading as of late!). Read it, laugh with it, and have fun.