Author: Melissa Landers
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Opening lines: ‘…Winning. Cara Sweeny had made it her business, and business was good …’
Two years prior to the start of ALIENATED aliens had finally made contact with earth, and they didn’t blow us up. The L’eihr are human in appearance but very much more advanced in their evolution than us due to strict selective breeding. As a sign of their goodwill the L’eihr gave Earth the cure for cancer and one of the first to benefit from this is Cara’s mother. Cara is a high achiever; she has worked hard to get to the top of the student heap and is going to be valedictory of her class when they graduate at the end of the school year. However, before she gets to that point she is offered the chance of a lifetime; to have one of three L’eihr exchange students stay with her family. In exchange for playing host Cara will have all her expenses paid to attend whatever college she wants to study at. She also realises she will have inside information about the L’eihr which Cara plans to share with the world in a blog called ‘Alienated’. As Cara wants to follow a career in journalism it is not an opportunity to be missed. Cara will also get to visit L’eihr at a later date so can blog those experiences as well. A successful visit means that earth will be given access to advanced alien technology and the L’eihr will get…well it’s not so clear what they will get out of an alliance. So Aelyx arrives with two other L’eihr students. Aelyx stays in the USA while the other two go to France and China.
ALIENATED has the most beautiful cover which pictorially demonstrates the difference between the two races. L’eihr is beige and bland, nature is colourless unless it is a shade of brown, food is bland and the people are colourless emotionally. Aelyx is blown away by the colour, the noise and the tastes of Earth. Even Cara’s bright red hair invades his senses. While the arrival of the exchange students is supposed to alleviate the fears of many earthlings, it does not work, and the more fanatical elements set up a resistance group called HALO and start to enflame the passions of people; it very quickly starts to become very vocal and very violent. Let’s pause a moment here and think – there is an advanced alien presence who have unknown powers and abilities and then a few gun-toting idiots who are incapable of thinking through the possible consequences to earth decide to fight them. I know I’d be afraid of what those idiots might cause to happen! While there is a lot of humour in the story, behind the humour runs the deep theme of xenophobia and real thought about what could happen if an advanced culture really did wing its way to earth.
I liked Cara as a character – although she is hard-nosed when it comes to reaching her goals it is through sheer hard work and not nastiness that she gets there. Once it becomes apparent that the there is increasing hatred towards the L’eihr she, by association, becomes a social outcast and the recipient of threats of violence. Aelyx and Cara soon find that they have to act quickly to avoid death. Now earth looks as though it might be in real trouble. Despite the drama, ALIENATED has some very funny moments mostly involving Aelyx adapting to life on earth. His willingness to learn about his host planet, and change his opinions as he learns, contrasts beautifully with the close-minded bigotry of the fringe movement HALO. Feelings do grow between Cara and Aelyx allowing for some more funny moments as Aelyx googles kissing to find out how it is done – another activity not known on his planet. A well-paced story, with a little of everything, ALIENATED is the first in a planned trilogy, and I for one am waiting impatiently for the next one to see what happens next.
Rating: B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.
For more about the author – Click Here
With thanks to Disney-Hyperion and the author via Netgalley.