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Alienated #1

Alienated

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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.

344 pages, Hardcover

First published February 4, 2014

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About the author

Melissa Landers

11 books3,260 followers
**Receive news, updates, and exclusive excerpts from Melissa by subscribing to her e-newsletter!**

Melissa Landers writes science fiction for teens and the young at heart. The Alienated trilogy (ALIENATED, INVADED, UNITED) and the Starflight duology (STARFLIGHT, STARFALL) are complete! Look for Melissa's middle grade debut BLASTAWAY, now available from Disney-Hyperion.

**IMPORTANT** Please do not request an ARC through Goodreads. All review copies are distributed by the publisher.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,352 reviews
February 8, 2014
Actual rating: 1.5
“Your long, shiny hair, healthy skin, and bright eyes show that you’re well-nourished.”
“Uh, thank you?”
“You’re clearly intelligent.” Then he felt the need to add, “For a human.”
“But Eric was probably most attracted to your waist-to-hip ratio.” For a split second, Aelyx resembled a human boy as he leaned back and peered at her caboose. “Hips of that width are likely to pass live offspring without complications.”
Oh, please don't stop. I'm swooning already.

This book is not sci-fi. It is mindless, brainless, no-thinking-required fluff of the Earth Girls are Easy type. It is the sort of book that gives YA fiction a bad name, because it is so completely frilly in nature. There is no depth to this. There is zero creativity. There is nothing within this book that garners it to be anything other than brain floss.

The main character keeps a blog. She blogs about her experience hosting an alien. She's concerned about how many hits she gets. She's worried about her number of followers.



The only good thing about this book is the fact that it has no insta-love. Everything else was just terrible. This book is so insufferably silly. It's a shit ton of stupid high school relationship drama and not much else.

The teenagers in this book are caricatures. This book is so utterly juvenile, and it shows in the characterization of its teenaged characters---which is to say, they have no character at all beyond that of lacrosse jock, slutty queen bee, fiery backstabbing best friend, and dumb freshmen girls with stars in their eyes. Everyone is a stereotype, down to the lecherous, overly amorous French boy.

This book is a joke. I can't imagine it was written in earnest, because it was completely, utterly laughable in every way. This isn't fucking sci-fi. A Frenchman would be more foreign, more alien than anything that the mockery of what passes for "aliens" within this book.

THE ALIEN WORLD: JUST LIKE OURS!!!!!!: Fuck creativity, really. Why be creative when you can just---by pure coincidence, such luck, really, have the aliens' world and food be pretty much the same as ours! Oh, wait. They're different. They have no belly buttons. The plot is simplistic, it doesn't really compel the reader at all, there's supposed to be some sort of "I WILL SAVE OUR SUPERIOR ALIEN RACE" shit, but it just got lost somewhere in the telling.

This book is fucking simplistic, and it is an insult to the readers' intelligence.

Am I asking so much in wanting the aliens to be a little more...imaginative? Is the teenage mind unable to process the fact that aliens might NOT look like us? That their biological system and etc. as well as their planet can be anything other than what humans define as "habitable?" The planet of L'eihr is just like fucking Earth.

It is monochromatic. All the animals are furless, the temperature is maintained at a calm, nice 70 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 21 degrees Celsius to the rest of the world). Because why should aliens have different standards of comfort than our own, eh? Because surely, human standards for everything translates universally. Fuck that shit.

They eat meat. They have similar creatures that they use for meat. Aelyx (the alien boy)'s favorite meal is PRETTY MUCH THE FUCKING SAME AS A MEAL ON EARTH.
...his favorite meal—tender, juicy meat braised with root vegetables.
Choose a word for a thing on earth. Replace that word with an "alien" sounding one. BOOM. You've got the language of the L'eihr.
“Usually t’ahinni. It’s a basic grain and protein dish made with larun, my favorite flatbread.” Aelyx sighed, remembering the nutty, slightly smoky flavor of warm flatbread, freshly baked and crisp from the oven. He could almost taste it.
T'ahinni, eh?! Well, it's a good thing that you clarified that word to us, because otherwise I would mistake it for tahini.

How fucking convenient. Why bother with the concepts of aliens at all when you can have a foreign exchange student from a persecuted country of which the US isn't a fan---say, the Middle East and have him be similarly shunned by his classmates and peers. Why fucking bother with the concept of aliens if you're to inject no fucking creativity into it whatsoever?

Alien DNA?! JUST LIKE US! REALLY?! WHY FUCKING BOTHER?
“But if you don’t count evolution, L’eihrs and humans are practically identical. Our DNA is almost the same. What’re the odds that two species light-years apart would be so similar?”
“The odds are infinitesimal,” he said with a grin.
Well isn't that just fucking convenient. Infinitesimal, you say? I call that deus ex fucking machina.

The Aliens' Appearance: Why be creative with aliens when you can just make them JUST LIKE HUMANS. Why fucking bother? In a nutshell, the L'eihrs are Vulcans. You know those creatures from Star Trek? The ones who have no sense of humor, who have no emotions, who dress in dull, brown colors, who think themselves superior to humans? Whose intelligence supercedes that of humans?

Boom. You've got the L'eihr.
All of them, men and women alike, wore their shoulder-length light brown hair tied neatly behind the neck. It blended perfectly with their russet skin, and when combined with the tan uniforms, they were a monochromatic solid wall of brown. Like walking paper bags.
Take humanoids. Give them "russet" skin colors, and then for some fucking reason, make them beige.
...at least his complexion had transformed from green to beige.
and then have his skin be bronze.
The fitted ivory shirt he’d chosen highlighted his bronze skin while clinging to the contours of his chest
Same guy. Different skin tones every time. It seems like this book can't make up its mind what color the aliens in this book are. Oddly-colored alien eyes, "silver". Why the fuck do they always have fucking silver eyes?
It was his eyes that’d left her stunned—not brown like the rest of him, but the most exquisite shade of silvery gray. Holy crap, did they selectively breed for looks, too? That just wasn’t natural.
How about purple? How about orange? How about multi-colored swirlings of every imaginable colors? Why always fucking silver, man?). Give them an alien world that's exactly the fucking same as Earth in every way, only have it be, you know, just a little different. Have it be monochromatic and shit. AND NATURALLY THE ALIENS HAVE TO BE SUPER HOT. To be fair, Spock played by Zachary Quinto in Star Trek is pretty hot, but do they really all have to be tremendously handsome and beautiful?

Where's the creativity?

Oh, want to insult the aliens? They're from the planet L'eihr, right?! Let's just put L' in front of normal swear words because it would be so insulting to them. L'assholes. Yes, L'assholes.

NEWS FLASH: ALIENS MAKE CONTACT WITH EARTH. SUBHEADLINE: MOM IS MAKING POT ROAST FOR DINNER: The aliens' arrival was announced so matter-of-fact in the book that it made no impact whatsoever. We don't know what year it is, but it's vague enough to be a present-day setting. 2 years ago aliens landed on Earth, and...that it. They shared some cancer-curing technology with Earth and, um.

That's it.

That's IT?! Could you PLEASE be any less dramatic?. The proclamation of aliens landing on Earth was made with all the impact of a girl telling us what she had for dinner last night. It was anticlimactic, it was simple, it was thoughtless. All of a sudden, we have riots on earth and fanatical societies called HALO who want to eradicat the aliens' presence on Earth and send them back where they came from. There is no background, and it doesn't endear me any more to the main character, a thoughtless, mindless teenager with nary a thought to anyone but herself and her blog and how many followers she has.

Vulcans? Not Quite: The premise of an unemotional Vulcan-like race...fails. Supposedly the aliens suppress their emotions. Aelyx? Not so much. Well, his emotions are just OVERWHELMED ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE like a fucking 17 year old boy when confronted with his first love. Try again. If you're going to have unemotional aliens, follow through, for fuck's sakes.

Don't have him fall in love so fucking quickly. Don't have him wear his heart on his sleeve whenever his girl's around.

Aliens Slut-Shame Too! Really, for such a progressive society, there's a shit ton of gender stereotype going on in Aelyx's head. He frowns upon a married couple for showing affection, looking like they're "copulating," he passes judgment on women's appearance, how provocatively they dress.
She’d cut her long hair last week and now wore it cropped at an angle that followed her jawline. A revealing skirt had replaced knee-length gym shorts, and she’d rimmed her eyes in jet-black goo, no doubt in an attempt to attract a mate.
Female Friendship? Fuck that: The majority of the females in the book are portrayed as blank, empty-headed girls whose main purpose in life is to attract a handsome boyfriend.
Of course Brandi would want to move in on Eric—he’d become popular practically overnight after joining the lacrosse team, and the little social climber hadn’t made it to the top of the ladder yet.
Cara dug a fingernail into her palm and smiled sweetly. “Go for it. I’m sure he’s looking for an easy rebound.”
They are all stupid, they are all gullible. They are all mindless fools who fall for just about any bullshit Cara the Brilliant throws at them.
“Oh, no!” Cara pushed Aelyx farther back and shielded him with her body. “Don’t you know the chemicals in hair dye are toxic to L’eihrs?”
“What? I never heard that.” The fan girl bit her bottom lip and wrinkled her forehead.
Shaking her head, the girl backed away and rejoined her friends. “I’m so sorry!”
Thank God for gullible freshmen.
The teenagers in this book are complete caricatures of every single high school stereotype there is out there. There is nothing to the characters in this book.

Cara: Cara is supposed to be brilliant. Perfect.
Winning. Cara Sweeney had made it her business, and business was good. Honor Society president? Check. Young Leader Award? Check. State debate champion two years running? Double check. And when the title of valedictorian had eluded her, she’d found a way to snag that, too.
Only she's not. Not for a single second in the book does Cara demonstrate any amount of maturity and thinking that I would have expected from a so-called valedictorian, a brilliant, driven girl. She doesn't focus in class. She barely studies. For someone who values going to Dartmouth so much, her education scarcely deserves a mention in the book, and her activities within Debate Club are just laughable because she's got her mind firmly stuffed up Aelyx's bronzed chest.

The Romance: For a book that tries to be progressive when dealing with differences in others, this book follows a completely straight line of gender steoretyping. The main character is a girl who is headstrong, fiery, prone to outbursts. The male, Aelyx, is rational, cold. It just follows a line of gendered thinking that is altogether traditional and offers no depth whatsoever.

The High School DRAMA: There's a lot of drama in the book about the existence of Aelyx and the persecution of aliens...that's fine, the bigger problem is that the book itself is overwhelmed by a tremendous amount of teenaged drama. Who's breaking up with whom? Who wants to get into whose pants? Heartbreak, backstabbing, high school boring drama bullshit. If I wanted to read that, I'd reach for a contemporary. It just makes this book incredibly silly. The majority of the book is peppered with teenaged hysterics; I know that it's an YA book, but there is such an overexaggeration of drama that I could hardly prevent myself from rolling my eyes.
“This explains your little transformation.” Cara swept her hand, indicating Tori’s haircut and makeup, including Gritty in Pink. How many times had Tori kissed Eric with that stolen gloss on her lips? “And how you got over Jared so fast. Who are you?”
“This,” Tori said, tugging at her clothes, “had nothing to do with E.”
“Oh, gag! You’re calling him E now?”
“Maybe I just wanted someone to look at me the way Aelyx looks at you!”
Some books can stand the test of time. This isn't one of them. I can't see myself reading this book 50 years down the road to my grandchild...well, maybe I can, but we'd both be laughing hysterically at the histrionics and utter hilarity within this book.

And I'd probably have to explain why the main character is so concerned with getting hits and followers for her blog.

This book is just so tremendously silly.
Profile Image for Jennifer Armentrout.
Author 122 books110k followers
April 4, 2013
Where can I sign up for the L'eihr exchange program? With the right mix of sizzling omance, action, and suspense, ALIENATED is easily my favorite alien book to date. The chemistry between Cara and Aelyx oozes off the page. The blog bits were perfect and the research on human mating rituals? Ah, I laughed my bum off at that.
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 20 books13k followers
September 4, 2015
WELL WELL WELL.
This book has completely captured me in its awesomeness! I have loved the world and it really was the best book to start of the month with. Melissa has flawlessly put together a world of aliens and humans meeting on an epic exchange program. Suspenseful and well..... my heart was destroyed at the end so thats nice ;D
Profile Image for Melissa Landers.
Author 11 books3,260 followers
Read
August 29, 2015
Last update (I think). Book 3 is coming! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

Yeah...another update. We've sold audio rights! Look for the audio book online, or request it from your local library. :)

One more update: Readers have been emailing to ask if there is a sequel to ALIENATED. The answer is yes! It's called INVADED, and the release date is February 3, 2015.

Last update: IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE! I hope you'll brave the cold weather and find a copy of Alienated to snuggle up with.

Yet another update: TRAILER REVEAL at USA Today's HEA blog! http://t.co/s81p6H8zsf Yippee!

Update #3: Some of you had asked me to mention when ALIENATED is available for pre-order. It just went up on Amazon--Woo!--and other retailers will probably follow within a couple weeks. Linky:

http://www.amazon.com/Alienated-Melis...

Update #2: COVER REVEAL today! You can also enter to win an ARC! Here's the giveaway link: http://www.yahighway.com/2013/03/cove... (Giveaway now over. Congrats to Laura in AZ!)

Update #1: Now that we have an approved back-cover blurb, how about a quick-n-dirty pronunciation guide?

L'eihr = one syllable, rhymes with 'hair.'
Aelyx = two syllables, sounds like 'A-licks.'
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,208 followers
December 31, 2019
It was not even that good, I just really liked it. Addicting.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,675 followers
February 15, 2021


Excuse me while I heal my eyes -



They've been rolling too much I fear.

This book does not have : Interesting characters

- Cara is a fucking bitch : Yes, you read correctly. I know, I know, she's supposed to be smart and strong and different but for real? She's selfish and conceited - damn, she's so full of it, being in her head was so maddening.

✔ She's a bitch with the students she's tutoring :
"Uhh," he began, "water is a, uhh, naturally occuring commodity, no different than, uhh, oil or natural gas-"
Cara interrupted him by shooting a rubber band at his neck. When Joss heaved a sigh and cocked his head as if to ask, Seriously? Cara shrugged and lectured, "Those uhhs are killing us. Same goes for saying like after every other word." She pointed at Kaitlyn Ray and said, "I'm looking at you, Kaity."


Oh, screw you, Cara. What a wonderful way to coach.

✔ She's a bitch with her mum, her father, her brother → Look, I know, I know, teenagers aren't always friendly with their family but Cara? She just thinks she's better than them. All their interactions scream "I'm smarter than you, you stupid!" and yes, I must admit that it does bother me.

✔ She's judgmental and often fails to analyse a situation, whereas she thinks she's super smart. For example, the hug scene :

When her mum hugs Aelyx the moment she met him, he tenses. What does Cara conclude?

"Either people on L'eihr didn't hug, or he found humans repulsive."

Yeah, right. OR Aelyx doesn't like being hugged by someone he doesn't know.

✔ To sum up, she thinks she's better than anyone else. Period.

- Every character except Cara is portrayed in a bad way and well, is a walking stereotype.

✔ her boyfriend, Eric, has been a complete jerk since he joined the Lacrosse Team (because sport is Evil, duh).

✔ her best-friend is an empty body who actually implies the overdrama sentence "it's either him or me" (I'm running far from here. Just watch me)

✔ all the other girls are stupid slut who sometimes squeal . Meet Brandi :
"Just as Cara geared up to elbow Tori in the ribs, Brandi Greene slipped into the seat besides Aelyx. She tucked a blond curl behind her ear and rested one hand on his shoulder. She didn't even notice when he flinched away. "You," she said, "are literally the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen."

I can't even.

✔ her parents can't help but be all-over each other all the freaking time.

✔ Don't get me started on the journalist. Trust me.

- The aliens .... Wait ... The Aliens, really?! They awfully look like humans to me :
☛ same DNA!
☛ same face! Oh, sorry, I forgot. They don't have blue eyes. Neither belly button. How exotic.
☛ same food, except the name is different and they don't do spice and sugar.
☛ and unfortunately, same stereotypes : yes, they do slut-shaming too!
"It took Aelyx a moment to recognize the girl as Tori. She'd cut her long hair last week and now wore it cropped at an angle that followed her jawline. A revealing skirt had replaced knee-length gym shorts, and she'd rimmed her eyes in jet-black goo, no doubt in an attempt to attract a mate. He wondered which male she'd targeted.

Yes, OF COURSE, because in every woman's action we can find a man. Because women TARGET men. L'asshole.

Moreover, the dialogues between the characters are full of stupid sayings I didn't even know they existed. What is it with "sandwich"? Sandwiches everywhere guys! Now, the writing wasn't that bad, that is to say, there aren't grammar errors or something, but that was so damn cheesy, I couldn't take it.

This book does not have : compelling story - or fascinating plot whatsoever

Basically, the story just .... drags and drags and drags and ... nothing. How boring.

- There's no plot except the so-called ❝forbidden romance❞ and yeah that's a huge problem when you can't stand the characters - Oh, sorry, there is some ❝mission❞ Aelyx planned with his friends, and to see them trying to hmmmm... What did they want anyway? Oh, whatever. So, what was I saying? Oh, yes. To see them trying to fulfill their ❝mission❞ was so.... damn boring and dull.

- I think the main purpose of this book is to deal with difference and how people have a hard time accepting them and that's a great idea, I can't deny it. Give me a book whose aim is to show that tolerance is needed in this world and I'll buy it straight away. Too bad I felt hit by stereotypes every fucking page. That kind of ruin the whole purpose right? Indeed how can we undertake a process of reflection if all the characters are stupid puppets? I don't know, but in my opinion, that's not possible.

- Also, that's possibly the dumbest villains ever. Just take a look at the threat Cara finds in her locker :
"ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, ESPECIALLY ON THE STAIRS. STEP ON A CRACK, BREAK YOUR TRAITOR BACK."

Excuse me while I laugh like crazy. It reminds me of bad horror films - DON'T GO IN THE CREEPY ROOM. REMEMBER. GO WHERE YOU WANT BUT DON'T GO IN THE CREEPY ROOM OR I'LL KILL YOU MUHAHAHAHAHA."



- High-school drama everywhere : the characters are completely immature and it leads to frightening battles like this one :
"Meanwhile, Cara ripped another flyer off the wall, crumpled it into a ball, and launched it into the recycling receptacle.
Marcus's grin faded, jaw tensing visibly as he dropped Brandi's hand and pointed to the bin. "Get it out."


OMG. All the feels!!



If I'm being fair, I must point that there's no instalove here. Youpiii!! Well, too bad I stopped to care, I guess. Sorry but ♫ I don't care I don't care I don't care ♪. Moreover, despite the fact that our so-called smart girl and her alien waited a fair amount of time before jumping on each other, when they're in love, dammit, THEY'RE IN LOVE. Screw the world people! We're in loooove! That's a shame I didn't feel any chemistry between them . Guess I'm cold-hearted^^.

As you can guess, I do not recommend this book and won't read the sequel. I'm out.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,257 followers
August 13, 2016
Reading this early means such a LONG wait for the next book!
LOVED A-LICKS! LOL I'm a L'annabe!

Cara Sweeney has been picked to take an exchange student from another planet. L'eihr wants to make an alliance with Earth and exchanging students is a great way for everyone to get to know each other and become more comfortable. Aelyx, pronounced A-licks, arrives but his differences make the transition difficult. He hates the food, all the colors and practically everything else. Cara makes an effort to help him fit in and eventually she starts to see more to him.

An alien exchange program isn't supported by all. Protesters begin staking out their school and life for Cara becomes more and more difficult. Her ex-best friend, her ex-boyfriend and the rest of the school have ostracized her for supporting the program. There are the few L'annabe's as they call themselves that support the program. Aelyx and the other two exchanges students aren't as supportive as they seem. They have a plan to stop this alliance but as Aelyx and one other exchange student start to enjoy life on earth everything will soon blow up in their faces.

Aaelyx was quite a character. When he first arrives it is hard to like him because he seems really pretentious, snooty, distant, and kind of robotic. Things on his planet are more advanced so he talks down to everyone on Earth. His behavior gave me a few chuckles though. His perspective was interesting. They have different social rules and don't date for fun. They are paired up. Cara slowly brings him out of his shell and I began to really like him.

Cara was hesitant to accept the program but she never goes back on her word. Even when everyone is against her she stays strong and tries her very best to make Aeylex comfortable and to treat him well. She even gets him to want to try kissing. It was an unbelievably hot kissing scene. Cara and Aeylex do get rather serious quickly but they face a lot of problems. It ends a bit open with Earth and L'eihr still far from an alliance. I was really sucked into the story and had a really good time reading it. Very excited to see where it goes next. As a big alien and Roswell fan I found the book perfect for me.



---
Aelyx shrugged. "To be honest, I don't know what qualities you ever saw in him. I can tell why he chose you, but-"
"Oh yeah?" Cara's spirits lifted as she sensed a compliment coming on. "Why do you think he chose me?"
"It's obvious." He swept a hand to indicate her loose curls. "Your long, shiny hair, healthy skin, and bright eyes show that you're well-nourished."
"Uh, thank you?"


"Does the Outer Space Creep probe you in your sleep?"


"I wanna talk to the A-Licker."


"I studied your history while I was still on L'eihr." And with a smirk that had become his own personal signature, he added, "It didn't take long." He returned his attention to the copy of Advanced Binuclear Theories the science teacher had lent him. Maybe he should read How to Avoid Acting Like a Pretentious Ass instead.
Profile Image for Anja H..
697 reviews450 followers
February 23, 2016
*4 ALIEN STARS*

"Look what I made for you. A bowl of diabetes."

I gotta admit, I really enjoyed this book.
It wasn't perfect, but it kept me captivated throughout everything and Cara and Aelyx's chemistry was great. The one downside was that things felt a little rushed sometimes, and especially at the start, some things were really predictable.
Overall though, I would recommend this to anyone who has a soft spot for books involving aliens, romance and a lot of suspense, especially during the second half. There was also a lot of humor involved, the quote above especially had me cracking up!

Cara was the perfect heroine. She was sassy and funny and had a lot of spunk, which I liked. I'm seriously annoyed by female leads who can't stand up for themselves, and Cara really was a breath of fresh air.
At first I didn't like Aelyx but in the end, he grew on me big time, especially after dropping the cold act and doing some really sweet things for Cara!

I'm definitely going to read the next book, but I just don't have the urge to pick it up immediately, since Aelyx and Cara are probably going to be apart throughout the whole thing, meh... I'll probably read it later though!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,360 followers
February 16, 2014
Alienated brings us a good mix of humor and romance. It's easy to read, and touches on serious themes including discrimination and tolerance. What I enjoyed the most was how Landers describes the aliens; from the physical to the emotional, they differ very much from humans. The L'eihr culture is described as emotionally cold for the sake of survival. They're cloned from the best, born and raised without parents, affection, or even touch. Their government system would make many of us fear their ways. Aelyx's perspective allows us to experience our own culture through his foreign, often overwhelmed, eyes. We get to see his reactions to certain stimuli like our apparently overpowering flavors and colors. Then their difference in thought process for things like affection and modesty - the latter bringing in a good dose of humor. Unsurprisingly, this visit has caused an uproar by those who don't believe in the aliens' good intentions. This became quite interesting as I found it to be representative of how society often reacts to what we do not know or understand, to change in general.

Luckily we have a protagonist who is not afraid to voice her opinion which is undoubtedly shared by many others afraid to speak up. This is done with the help of TV interviews, but mostly through her blog - although I didn't find the blogging aspect terribly useful in the plot aside from giving us bloggers a reason to relate (which worked a little so I guess I'm easy prey!). I also found the romance surprisingly enjoyable, if a bit cheesy at times. The lack of insta-love is one I welcomed, and their chemistry is electric. As for the side characters, I can't say they're especially well-developed. Their actions mirrored the plot's needs, and in turn their personalities were kept hazy.

After a strong beginning that captured my interest with the excellent world building, it was unfortunate to find myself get bored inside the lull that embodies most of the middle. For a while I was seeing no real progress aside from some threatening notes, being dissed by friends, and the growing hatred of the protestors towards Cara's family; routine everyday happenings. Furthermore, while the dual POV was a brilliant choice for this story, the abrupt switch from one to the other without warning or even larger spacing between paragraphs threw me for a loop a time or two. Though this may just be lack of formatting on my eARC. And lastly, the ending left me feeling incredibly uncertain about book 2. There's a very strong pull towards an oncoming love triangle, but that aside, I'm thinking book 2 will have to work hard to not catch the middle-book bug.

Overall, I did enjoy myself for much of this book, but I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be. It did have a touch of originality in terms of the alien vs human culture clashes and dark themes the book takes on, but it still easily compares to many other YA Alien books I have read.

--
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Aria ・❥・Biblioaria ˚ · ..
634 reviews1,311 followers
July 2, 2015
"The simple truth is most people can't manage total freedom. They make poor use of it.


I buddy read this book with a couple of my girl friends I met here on gaoodreads and two who have finished earlier don't really like this book. One hated it more than the other. Hehe. (Hi Cam and Mel!) I was so expecting to actually hate this really. The first line of this book was enough to make me cringe and tell myself "oh no! what the hell did I just start reading??!. Surprisingly, I didn't hate this book. I ended up finishing it earlier than normal.

HOW IT BEGINS

Winning. Cara Sweeney had made it her business, and business was good. Honor Society president? Check. Young Leader Award? Check. State debate champion two years running? Double check. And when the title of valedictorian had eluded her, she'd found a way to snag that, too.


THE GIST

"No application. Every high school submitted its top candidate, and the L'eihrs took it from there. You'll never guess why they picked you.".


Cara Sweeney was handpicked by the L'eihrs to be a foreign exchange student. She gets to visit the planet of the L'eihrs, but for her to be able to do that, her family must host a L'eihr exchange student first.

"The ambassador who'll stay with your family sounds just like you - a top student even by L'eihr standards, which is saying a lot.."


There were three L'eihr students that were sent on a sort of ambassador role to learn more about Earth. One was sent to the US which was Aelyx (weird name by the way), the other was a girl (who I keep on forgetting the name) was sent to France, and the other guy, Eron, was sent to China. Can I just immediately that I fell hate at first sight with Aelyx. He was a freakin' alien douche! DAEMON ALL THE WAY! (If you've read Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series... You'd know who I'm talking about)

The government agreed to this intergalactic student exchange, but of course a lot of people were against this. And these people terrorise Cara by dropping scary notes in her locker and well threatening her and her family in general.

And I found this really stupid.

I mean why would they pick on her and her family? They weren't the one who made the exchange possible anyways, it was the government. Why not persecute the government? She agreed because basically she was volunteered without her knowing. They should have bullied the principal instead. Cara and her family didn't contact these aliens and say "HEY WHY DON'T YOU COME OVER AND STAY IN OUR HOUSE FOR A WHILE". Nooo. None of that happened.

I am so sorry. I got way over my head with that. Okay, back to the gist.

So now, Cara doesn't have friends. She and her boyfriend split up (very convenient) because of the alien thing and her best friend, didn't want to be with her for the same reason. I know that even if I don't give out spoilers you guys would probably be able to guess what happens from here...

Yes. Cara found an unlikely ally with Aelyx. She was starting to understand how the L'eihr society works and was starting to.. well like Aelyx.. and we totally didn't see that coming... *smirks*

Anyways... But is Aelyx really an ally, or does he have an ulterior motive.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The cover was pretty interesting in my opinion. But I probably, wouldn't have picked this book up on my own. This was the book of the month for the reading group I am in. One of my friends read this first and she didn't have a good reaction towards the book so I had pretty low expectations. And I think that's a good way to go into this book.

Lower your expectations. You won't hate it too much.

MEET THE CHARACTERS

Cara: Like I said, that first line she said on the first chapter, threw me off. She was confident, I'll give her that. But.. But... She was a cliche. Smart. Pretty. Perfect. Has a good boyfriend (that turns into a douche... typical) and a good friend??? (at first...). She was also the type of smart girl that does and say stupid things. Eeeh?? Meeeh.

Aelyx: He was so effective in making me hate him the first time I read of him. I was expecting a swoonworthy one *cough*DAEMON BLACK*cough*, but he wasn't. Like Cara, he was a cliche. He was cold at first. Handsome. Smart. Athletic. Mehh. But there was something about him that I didn't warm to at all. I didn't find anything redeemable about him at all. I have only read 2 YA alien book and both of them I liked the male lead character (Daemon from The Lux Series. If you haven't read this.. what the hell have you been doing with your life??! Just kidding!! And the other is John from I am Number Four) so I was expecting to sort of like this one, but sadly... Aelyx was just meeeh.

THINGS I LIKED

- It was a page turner. I finished this book very quick. I'm slow reader nowadays so when I say that I read a book in two days... That is saying something. It was easy to read.

- The cover I guess. The cover was pretty decent.

- I liked how the parents weren't missing in action in this book. Cara's parents were present in the story. I liked how they were involved with their kid. Not like most of the fictional parents on YA books who are almost always absent throughout the book.

- Surprisingly, I liked the concept of the L'eihrs. I think that it could have been explored more.

WHAT I DISLIKED

- The story development was pretty predictable. But like I said on my what I liked part, it still kept me reading even if it was predictable.

- I thoroughly dislike female characters you go out of their way to describe how unbelievably goodlooking the male character is. And this happened in this book. I think it has happened quite a few times and it had my eyes rolling.

- The motivations of the people in this book are stupid. Like for example, Cara agreed because of her blog. She think she'll get more hits now that she could do a first hand report on what L'eihrs are like. I would have thought she agreed because of the help they extended to curing her mum. This is not a spoiler, but the L'eihrs provided Earth the cure for cancer. Cara's mum has it so I initially thought she was going to do it because of that. But no, it wasn't that. Then there were the stupid school kids who antagonizes Cara. I don't get why they bully her! I don't get that at all. It's not like she had a choice in the first place. She was chosen. Why didn't anyone bother to explain that to people? Why?

- Cara was a smart, stupid person. I really disliked her character in so many fucking ways. I already mentioned she was as cliched as you could get. But then all those decisions she made... *shakes head* I cannot even. Especially towards the end when she made the choice. I cannot fucking even. *shakes head* I cannot even believe she would do that to be honest.

- None of the characters were likeable. I feel that the only people I liked in this book were Cara's parents. The rest were meeeh or annoying as fuck. And I would also like to mention that I really really hate the boyfriend and best friend. Seriously???? Seriously??? I think what happened to them were really unnecessary. It sort of added an irrelevant addition to the story. And it made me really angry. Arrrg! I think I may have hated them more than I hated Aelyx and the anti-L'eihr activists.

- Romance. Eeeh.. I didn't buy it. It's one of those let's-prentend-it's-not-instalove-but-it-is kind of romance. I knew right off the bat that Cara was smittened by Aelyx and so was Aelyx. There was a cheesy line from him I think when he first saw her and I was like... Okay... Creepy alien.

- Pacing is a bit wonky. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

- The ending.. Oh my god! It wasn't exactly a cliffie, but just when you thought the climax has ended... it hasn't... Or rather I assumed that the climax that ended was the climax, but it wasn't. It was a hoax. The real climax I think for this book is when the truth comes out. No spoilers. It wasn't even about the invasion or the future of humanity... Eeeh.. No.

FINAL WORDS

If you want to read this book, you have to go into this book without any expectations. Or rather a lower one. You'd probably enjoy this more that way. This isn't exactly a Scifi book. So don't expect too much on the scientific side of these extraterrestrial beings. I don't believe that it was even explained when or how the L'eihrs contacted the people of Earth. If they did, I probably missed it.

Surprisingly, it was okay. I was torn of rating it a 2 or a 3. But I would have to really give points to how easy to read it was. You go through it really fast. There would be annoying scenes, but you keep the page turning you know. This is that type of book. It was okay. Nothing spectacular. Just okay.

Would I recommend it? No. I'd probably recommend The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout if you're looking for a really entertaining book about aliens. It has action, drama, and well romance. For those of you who are looking for that type of alien book that is.

Have you guys read this? If you have did you like it? If not, are you planning of reading it soon?
Profile Image for Mary.
146 reviews79 followers
February 7, 2014
Alright ladies and gentleman, let's have a nice sit down right now because class is in session.

The topic for class today:

Wish Fulfillment Versus Realistic Characters

Today, we'll be looking at our main character Cara Sweeny. Cara is a state speech and debate champion (twice), valedictorian, someone with a 100% in Calculus, Honor Society President. She is also a part of the soccer team. And track team. And she's in chess club, along with volunteer tutoring, while keeping a weekend job. She also has to play host to an exchange student alien.

And allow me to introduce myself, your teacher, so that you can know that I am fully qualified to talk shit criticize critique our lovely main character. My name is Mary and during high school I was Northern Arizona's Lincoln-Douglas Debate Runner-Up, Dramatic Interpretation Runner-Up, Debate Club Vice President, in the top fifty of Arizona's Math Competition, top ten percent of my class, volunteer tutor, and I bested my chess club teacher once in four-way chess.

I'm not saying any of that to brag because seriously, high school doesn't matter the least in the real world. (Rejoice, teens! Just do enough to get into college.) I am telling you all this because by all fucking rights, if there was anyone to relate to this character, it would be me. We have the same God damn resume for fuck's sake, in terms of what we did in high school. I was the quintessential 'goody-two shoes'. (I'm not anymore. C's get degrees, bitches.)

For anyone too old to remember high school, let me tell you something that you may not remember. It's going to be hard, I know, because you just want to hate young people, but here it is:

Something's gotta give.

That's right! Teen's in high school suddenly don't have more time in the day because they're teenagers. They work in that same perpetual 24/7 rotation that commands everyone. Let me tell you, if you want to do well in school, like a 100% in Calculus, then you are doing nothing else.

Let's look at this logically. Cara is attending AP classes. Let's say she took a whole schedule of nothing but AP classes. You want to know the average amount of homework I had per AP class a night? It was somewhere around the half hour to an hour mark. Not withstanding the random research reports that would dominate your weekend.

Thirty minutes times seven classes. Let's round that up to four hours. And that, my lovely students, is the bare fucking minimum.

Notice that I was definitely not Valedictorian. I was barely top ten and that's because fuck reading assignments and fuck studying diligently until the night before the test. So let's add two hours on top of that for checking work, fact checking, and making sure that you hold onto that pretty Valedictorian title you want so much.

You know what you don't have time for? All those clubs that Cara is literally the best at. Seriously. She's not bad at a single one.

And that moves us onto our next topic, my dear students:

How Research Can Save Your Book

I was predisposed to dislike Cara after the first five sentences, but even if I wasn't, then I would soon come to hate her all because of one tiny itty bitty sentence. Unfortunately for this book, it's the premise for why Cara gets to be the host for the alien.

She'd hammered the opposing team until their captain had cried and run off stage.

Yeah. Yeah. I took debate. It was the one thing that I actually adored in school and to sit here and tell me that Cara made a competitor cry tells me that the author knows very little about debate. Now, maybe Cara wasn't doing my specialty, which was Lincoln-Douglas. But then she did Policy Debate or Public Forum and that requires teams and dear God, I cannot see anyone working with her.

In LD debate, you can't look at your opponent, can't look at your judge, you're arguing PHILOSOPHY. There's nothing personal there, no attacks and nothing to warrant sobbing. Also, it's judged by people. You know, humans.

I won a debate round once because the judge did not like the attitude my opponent gave me. She said he acted overly defensive and raised his voice too much. Should I have won? Who knows, but the fact remains that I did because judges are not specially trained, they are typically teachers.

Also, did you know LD Debate topics change every two months? That means researching enough to both argue for and against a topic every other month, because you have no idea which side you'll be arguing until you get into the room. Policy, the team debate, is yearly but trust me, it's a TON more work than LD. Which is also why I didn't do it because you know, I had other commitments.

Time to be great at chess and track and soccer and a 100% in Calculus and President over Honor Society while hosting an alien? Not to mention you're dating the hottest guy in school, running a blog, and working on the weekend (which is when most debate competitions are).

I'm sorry, I just can't believe it. Maybe there's someone out there who can do it, but I can't believe they're good at every club they try. Also, 100% in any math class? There had to have been extra credit. I knew someone who passed the AP Calc test with a 5 (the highest and hardest grade to get) and even he made occasional math mistakes because it's easy to. Forget to add that one there and it's all over.

So this, my dear students, is where research would come in. Nothing Cara ever said about debate made me think she was actually in, you know, a debate team. The first rule of debate isn't 'Don't let them see you sweat' it's to expect opposing arguments and prepare for them. Also, take really good notes for rebuttal.

So to me, the characters were already lazy because the author didn't bother to research into her character's interests. The world building wasn't that great either. Aelyx, out resident alien, is alright I guess. But there's not much different about his race than ours except they were bred ala Brave New World style. And they're bland and don't think emotions have any place.

Except when they do randomly. Because all the aliens showed emotion at one point or another, so besides being more advanced, just think humans. Think Vulcans. Actually, scratch that. They are Vulcans.

Lazy characters. Lazy race building. Lazy world building. You've got insta-lust that borders on insta-love. The secondary characters are all but cardboard cutouts. I kept thinking we were in the South but we were in the Northeast, I think.

Also, there is some political commentary here that I will leave here:

The child bore a slight resemblance to the girl, but considering China's population restrictions, he probably wasn't a sibling. Too bad Earth's other nations hadn't implemented similar policies.

....Which has led to female infanticide and a gender imbalance in China.

"Well," Dad said, "it says here the senator from Arizona's already writing another bill just like it."

Again, this entire book feels like a personal barb to me. I am an Arizonan and I can see the parallel the author is trying to make between fear of illegal aliens and the L'eihrs. Here's the really big, kind of very insulting thing that happens between the comparisons:

Mexicans crossing the border are not purposefully poisoning our crops because they think Americans are lesser than them!

Which is exactly what the L'eihrs are trying to do.

The most disappointing thing about this book? It could have been good. I got through it in two days. It's a fast paced and fairly entertaining read that suffers dramatically, in my eyes, from making a loathsome main character and shoddy research.

And with that, class is dismissed.
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
January 27, 2015
Did you know that Melissa Landers writes contemporary romance under the name Macy Beckett? It's true, and I’m a huge fan of those books. When I found out she’d be debuting a science fiction Young Adult series, Alienated immediately went to the top of my most anticipated list. Her romances are fun, flirty, and sexy, and I was eager to see how this would translate across genres. Alienated contains her usual wit and humor with an easy-to-root-for romance, and there's also an engaging mixture of fluff and more serious themes. I was thoroughly entertained and am happy to have a new alien series to enjoy!

Two years ago, an alien race from the planet L’eihr made contact with humans for the first time. They have superior intelligence, technology, and medicine, and as an initial peace offering gifted humans with the cure for cancer. Since then, both governments have agreed to a temporary alliance to see if their nations can co-exist peacefully and learn from one another. L’eihr will be sending three of their most gifted teenagers to live with three human families. Cara Sweeney, future valedictorian of her high school, is chosen to host Aelyx, including bringing him to her school. As you can imagine, not everyone is in accordance with this plan, fearing that the aliens have an ulterior motive. Protesting quickly escalates to hatred and violence, leading to a fast-paced and high stakes conclusion.

First, I was really interested in how Melissa Landers would characterize this new alien race. The L’eihr have nearly identical DNA to humans, except their brains are bigger and they can do cool things like read minds. Thankfully, it doesn’t stop there. Alienated may be light on the sci-fi, but I really enjoyed the little details that separated the L’eihrs from humans. Mainly there’s a dichotomy between the intellect and the emotional. For years now, rather than natural reproduction, the L’eihrs have been cloning the DNA of their best and brightest from generations past. As children they aren’t raised in a family but in a type of commune, meaning very little physical affection. As a result, their emotional growth has been stunted. This is personified by the drab, identical clothing they all wear, the colorless world they live in, and the flavorless food they eat. When Aelyx first arrives on Earth, he is astonished by its bright greens and sky blues, by Cara’s fiery red hair. I like this contrast a lot, showing that humans have something to offer the L’eihrs, and not just vice-versa.

Their differences are also highlighted by the use of dual perspective. Whereas Cara’s narration and personality are bubbly, comic, and light, Aelyx is more reserved and detached. I immediately connected to Cara, who is smart and driven but compassionate as well. No matter how much social standing she loses with her classmates or how many cold shoulders are given to her and her family, she stands by Aelyx’s side. She even tries desperately to find him the perfect food that will remind him of home. Another fun tidbit is that she runs a witty commentary blog, keeping the world (and us) up to date on human-L’eihr interactions and L’eihr trivia. As a blogger, I really appreciated that extra touch to her character. Aelyx, on the other hand, was not likable at first. He comes off as snobbish and judgmental, and he even has a plan in place to sabotage the peace treaty. Over time, mostly due to Cara and her family’s kindness and his budding romance with Cara, his emotionless exterior begins to crack. It's a well done character arc, and I was swooning for him way before the end. It turns out that he can be just as funny as Cara but in a dry, sarcastic way. It’s also extremely cute that he has to recite the periodic table in his head whenever things with Cara heat up.

Aelyx and Cara’s romance is of the slow-burn variety, with a solid foundation of friendship built first. No love triangles, and their relationship is thankfully steady and mostly drama free. As for chemistry, there is ONE scene that many reviewers have already mentioned that had me fanning myself. L’eihrs don’t exactly kiss but instead demonstrate intimacy and attraction through something called sh’ellam. You’ll have to find out for yourself what it entails. When Aelyx proposes that he and Cara exchange a bit of action, my heart was doing little happy dances. This is what I love about Melissa Landers’ romances, and I wish we had gotten a few more scenes like it.

The ending of Alienated has me anxious and excited for the second book, Invaded. I hope Aelyx and Cara aren’t separated for too much of the time, but I am looking forward to learning more about L’eihr and experiencing the planet for the first time right alongside Cara.

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Ariana.
936 reviews1,299 followers
March 20, 2015
I think I fell in love just a bit ;))



From time to time I fall in love with a cover – hard, instantly – and I never recover from it. You don’t know how much I just love the Alienated cover and how perfect it is for the story!

The Good:

- Imagining aliens looking like us, a better version of us – smarter, better looking, more advanced in all different ways; for some reason I like this concept, I wouldn’t mind it to be true, LOL.
There were many differences between humans and aliens in terms of living, eating, behaviour, history, genetics and so on, and I loved discovering more things about Aelyx and his kind. Also there were quite a few funny moments involving some of those differences and characters’ curiosity to learn more about the others.

- The relationship between Cara and Aelyx. They didn’t want to be paired together, one shadowing the other one, and the start of their relationship is quite rocky. But step by step they are learning to trust each other, to be intrigued by the other’s history and customs and through all the messy journey they fall in love (and it’s all so cute and funny, you can’t believe it).
There was this teasing and a bit of fighting and trying to see who was the smart ass of the two of them, all in the best funny way of course, and I found myself laughing out-loud so many times. Also the chemistry between them shouldn’t be left out of this review, as it was present at all times.

- The comparison with what happened not so long again in terms of racism.. and what probably still happens here and there around the world (don’t pretend that’s not true, ’cause closing your eyes won’t change anything). I found all that disturbing in a realistic kind of way. It’s true, in every scenario I could have in my mind there would be people adoringly stalking the poor aliens and people throwing pebbles at them. There would be horrible media manipulation and there would be casualties. Also there would be hidden reasons behind the possible alliance between the 2 species and lots of people being hurt when this would get messy.

- The supporting family – you don’t see this much in YA books and I really appreciate it. Maybe parents are not always the best (as the difference in age and thinking is not something that one can ignore), but I like to think that someday I will have a kid that won’t think about me what YA characters think about their mother. And this family sounds like a nice one to have (except for the brother that is mostly a clueless lunatic, or so I thought of him).

This is the beginning of what I hope to be a great series. I like the characters and the settling and I won’t even bother you with my love for the cover (God, I can’t wait to have a copy in my hands!) and I am really eager to find out more about L’eihr (the alien planet) now that Cara is headed there.


Read this and more at: ReadingAfterMidnight.com.
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Profile Image for Josh Hyung (조슈아).
118 reviews1,291 followers
December 9, 2016
Alienated is the perfect book which refutes the saying "Do not judge a book by its cover." I practically fell in love with it the moment I saw it featured on one of Sasha Alsberg's (abookutopia) videos. Thankfully, the phenomenal cover was not strategically created to cover up bad content.

Basically, this book is about an adorably nerdy girl named Cara who hosts (lives with) a ridiculously attractive foreign exchange student (and alien) named Aelyx. The reasons behind this set-up are initially political in nature, but soon both of these prejudiced teenagers find themselves in an us-against-the-world love story that could determine the fate of their respective planets. Now if your interest hasn't been piqued in the slightest, then I don't know what else will. Har-har.

Even though the romance was quite predictable, Alienated still gave me a memorable reading experience. I finished it almost four months ago, but I keenly remember the many times it made me grin in delight. I was able to relate with Cara's fondness for academics, as well as with Aelyx's generally reserved personality. It really loved how the introverted sides of these characters made them (and their interactions) more unique and interesting.

The setting of Alienated is also something to be praised. The environment within the book was reminiscent of the typical American public high school, but it was nevertheless intriguing because of the backdrop of gossip, paranoia, and violence. As a consequence of the tenuous relations between humans and aliens, both Cara and Aelyx's lives were almost always at stake. I never knew that academic life had the potential to be so dangerous, all thanks to racial prejudice.

In its totality, Alienated lives up to the expectations evoked by its beautiful cover. If you're looking for a mixture of sci-fi, romance and political intrigue, then this is definitely the book for you.
Profile Image for Dana.
26 reviews
March 10, 2015
THIS BOOK WAS CUTE. Cara & Aelyx are goals.
I knew I'd really enjoy this because of my love of Aliens and everything to do with outer space adajflhsdfhj gAH.

Can't wait to get my hands on the next book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews288 followers
April 7, 2017
3.5 stars
Review to come


A solid read overall!

I promise to write up a full review of my likes and dislikes of this book in a few ... but Im going to gush about the author of this book for a minute first :P

I recently read Starflight and loved it ... this is another really cute YA fantasy from this great author!

Melissa Landers is quickly becoming one of those "I will pick up anything she writes" sort of authors. She is the queen of writing characters that feel their age without becoming "what an out of touch adult imagines a teenager sounds like" (you know what I'm talking about). Her writing is quick and lighthearted and witty without sounding cheesy. Her stories are fun and enjoyable.

And this book was another strong representation of Landers talent.

Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,103 followers
January 2, 2014
Filipino readers, you can read this book early! Head over to The Social Potato blog and fill up the rafflecopter form to get a chance to win an ARC of this beautiful novel. We're also giving away a Php 300 Fully Booked Giftcard on the blog!

International readers, you can also get a chance to snag a finished copy of this book via The Book Depository! If you win, we will pre-order for you, and you only need to wait until the release date to wait for your book to arrive! Head over to the blog now to get a chance to win!


Just in: we're giving away THREE finished copies to US/Canada residents! Join now!


To be completely honest, Alienated was a very surprising read. I was expecting hardcore science fiction that was mildly altered to suit young adult tastes with a bit of romance here and there, but it turned out to be the opposite. It's a fluffy read of two students from two different worlds, one from Earth and one from another galaxy hundreds, probably thousands of light years away, as they learn from each other's cultures and endure the widening protest and violence against the two civilization's mingling of each other. So it has a lot of fluff, a lot of politics, and a lot of science fiction. And you know what else?  I LOVED IT!

The plot is actually pretty simple. Aelyx (pronounced A-licks) and two of his friends, Syrine and Eron, are to be sent to Earth in a sort of student exchange, a move that hopes to strengthen the relationship of the two planets. However, the trio has other plans, as they don't want their home to be influenced by the violence and discord human societies have showcased in their history, so they plan to sabotage everything.  He later meets Cara, a human with a passionate and gentle heart and a fiery spirit, and she could just be the key to weakening Aelyx's resolve.

It may seem really cliché and worn-out due to the premise being written a hundred times in other novels, but reading this book, you'll find yourself grinning to yourself anyway, because the book's strongest point isn't the plot – it's the development between Cara and Aelyx as they learn more about each other. I swear, I laughed, I cried, and I grinned like a mad lunatic. It was so funny to read the alien guy being wary of human customs, of their food, of their sexual advances, of his OWN sexual reactions (to which he would try to recite the human periodic table afterwards... haha!!)... it felt like a learning experience for me, too. Aelyx was an adorable character, and even though as a reader you know he has other agendas, you kind of understand the reasons why he was willing to do what he planned (and honestly, if I were an alien from outer space, I wouldn't bother with humans, too. We're complicated beings =P).

As much as it was heartwarming, there were heartrending scenes too, in which I couldn't help but tear up a bit. There is a political backdrop here as many people are not keen on having aliens in their midst, and it results to a lot of betrayal and violence, and these take a toll on Cara. My heart swelled and my throat tightened whenever she would put her head up high despite all the bad things happening to her, and even more when Aelyx saw all of these and blamed himself for it. Sigh. If there's anything this book was, it was one hell of a roller coaster ride. I felt so connected to the characters that I could feel the emotions overflowing from the pages. Such a spectacular novel, this one.

All in all, this was a great read, and would be an excellent introduction to the science fiction genre to others out there who are hesitant to try it. It's full of heart and emotions, and a lot of scenes that would make you laugh, cry, and sweat (that making out scene was HOT, BABY!). 2014 will be a great year if all books are of this calibre!
Profile Image for Jana.
486 reviews115 followers
June 30, 2013
As soon as I heard about ALIENATED, I was dying to get my hands on it. Since reading JLA's Lux series, I've been a massive fan of aliens and think there should be more of them in YA. Hurray for Alienated! This hilarious, light-hearted sci-fi story with passionate romance is definitely going on my Favorites list. It's got everything that you'd want in a story and the only thing that's not so great is that the release date won't be until February next year and I already need the sequel really bad.

The world building and description of the planet L'eihr was phenomenal. It's beautifully done and with the author's amazing storytelling skills, you can clearly picture the planet in your head even though we're in Earth most of the time. The whole exchange program thing was fun and very clever indeed. But what I really did like about this was how realistic the author portrayed both the humans and the L'eihrs. What do you think would really happen when you create this exhange program? Obviously not everyone will be happy with it. Everyone's reactions was very realistic and you could see where everyone was coming from. There was a few mysteries and suprising twists scattered which was a brilliant touch.

Cara and Aelyx are the main characters that you wouldn't just get enough of. We have dual POV (yay!!!) which enables us to be able to learn about them individually. Cara wasn't some annoying, whiny brat - no, she was clever, actually thinks before she acts and just an all round interesting character. Guys, we have a new sexy alien in the house. AELYX. Oh, Aelyx. He's one of my top book boyfriends and when you read Alienated, you'll know why. At first, he's a bit mysterious and bland, but as we and Cara gets to know him throughout the book, oh he's just the swooniest character ever. He's HOTTTTT. The romance between them was kept at a slow pace, making the swoony scenes between them extra special. And oh boy, we don't get that much kissing, but when we do, it makes up for it. It's honestly one of the sexiest kissing scenes I've ever read in YA.

If you're like me, and want believable and hot off the charts romance, Alienated is a must-read. (By the way, I love this book title - very clever and bold) Anyway, Alienated will sure be a hit next year when it releases. Be sure to buy it then! :)
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 23 books4,608 followers
June 10, 2013
My official comments:

Intergalactic exchange students? Yes, please! I fell in love with this story and couldn't put it down.

My unofficial comments:

OMC. The hotness of some of those scenes. *fans self* (Also isn't that cover fantastic???)
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,907 reviews216 followers
April 27, 2018
Alienated was kind of interesting and surprising for me. I didn't expect to like it but then I ended up liking it. I definitely want to dive into the second book right now.

Cara was easily a likable character. She is one of the few students in the world selected to help one of the alien students around. That said alien would live with her family and attend school with her. Then when his visit is "over" they switch place.. well, she becomes the visitor at his planet. Sounds like an awesome exchange student program - right?

Well besides Cara, there's Aelys who didn't expect to be apart of this weird ass program. He never wanted to either. Then him and his friends come up with a plan to sabotage the shit out of this program. I guess the one thing he also didn't expect was Cara.

These two were so freaking adorable. I loved them so much. I still feel like this was a show.. I just can't remember it. The show only lasted for like a season and trust me it shook me to my core that it ended. So I was really happy to dive into this book because it definitely reminded me of that.

Overall, I loved this book. A lot more than I expected too at least. I can't wait to dive into the second book because this was just so entertaining. I need more from these characters.
February 6, 2016
4.5/5

This book was very good. I had been wanting to read it for a long time so I was glad that my library got it. I read it quickly because it was so hard to put down. I loved the romance between the two characters, Cara and Aelyx, though I thought that it was a bit rushed in the beginning. Besides that I really liked it. I thought that Cara was a good character because she was very smart and could stand up to each other. Her best friend though I didn't like toward the end of the book. The action was amazing especially towards the ending. I loved reading about the L’eihrs and I can't wait to learn more in the 1.5 and 2nd book in the series.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book and series to anyone who loves romance (because Melissa Landers is a great writer of romance apparently), action, sci-fi, and fantasy. So, basically, everyone!
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,217 reviews164 followers
June 1, 2017
"How can we understand what we’ve never experienced and adapt without making mistakes"

I have been on the fence about this book for quite a while, pondering whether to read it or not. As it happens, a copy found its way to me and I pretty much read it in one day.

Landers creates a very interesting premise, a story of cultural clashing between humans and aliens, who have only recently met. Three L'eihr come to Earth as exchange students, and the narrative follows one of these, the one going to the US. Aelyx has been 'allocated' to Cara, an ambitious and driven valedictorian, to facilitate his experience and live with her family. His arrival however incites the usual prejudice which sadly escalades and turns only too quickly to violence. Seeing all these big themes dealt on a small scale, that of a teenager, her parents, friends and school, illustrate the obtuseness of people on a personal scale. And it isn't just the humans - no, the L'eihr aren't perfect either.

The novel focuses of course on Cara and Aelyx, from their initial mistrust to reluctant friendship. Both have their prejudices too but at least are intelligent enough to try to see beyond these. I enjoyed witnessing how their relationship starts and evolves. There are a couple of points I wasn't too sure but in all, it was a really good book.

Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
January 23, 2019
I really enjoyed this book. So much so that I read it in one sitting and up until pass 1 am on a weekday. This book involves an exchange student program with aliens and humans (talk about foreign exchange) and involves a slow burn romance between the two mains, Cara and Aelyx, that though predictable because we are told to expect it, it is actually an amusing romance. I did not like Syrine, but will wait to rant about her until I read the next two books this week. I have had this trilogy on my bookshelf for years and cannot believe it took me this long to read them and I am so glad that my reading resolution is to work on reading off my bookshelf to help clear up more book space, because this one was fascinating!

My quick and simple overall: fun and quick and wholly entertaining!
Profile Image for Lainey.
261 reviews1,570 followers
January 8, 2015
3.75/5 or 4/5 I honestly can't decide which fits it more for me.

So many of my friends here on Booktube have recommended this book to me, and I am so glad I finally picked it up, especially after reading a lot of fantasy up until it. It was the fresh breath I needed with reading.

Cara is a bomb character. I really enjoyed the Debate Team aspect of her life, because I could really see that threaded through her character the entire storyline - I'm glad she didn't lose herself.

I liked Aelyx too. I am especially glad that this book was a dual perspective story, I think it worked better this way.

I would have preferred for them to have a little bit more relationship because the events of what happened towards the end.

On the world-building scale, I thought Landers wrote it very originally. I loved learning about this alien species, and how aliens were known in our world society. Everything about the science fiction aspect of the book was highly enjoyable. Can't wait for the second one!
Profile Image for Tuba Özkat.
438 reviews69 followers
September 25, 2016
Ya kitap cooook mu müthiş, kusursuz da beş yıldız verdin? derseniz... yok öyle bir şey. ama kendini öyle hızlı okuttu, elden bıraktırmadi ki, bunu yapmam gerekiyordu.

Bu aralar kitapları yavaş okuyordum, bugün kendime bir kitap seçeyim dedim ve @go_kitap'tan çıkan, #melissalanders 'in Yabancı kitabını elime aldım. Ve beş ya da altı saat sonra bitiverdi.

Gerçekten çok akıcı, hareketli, macerayı hissettiren bir kitaptı. Hani bu YA kitaplarındaki pembe gözlüklü, laylaylom hikayelerden değildi kesinlikle. Karakterlerin yaşadıkları ve hissettikleri şeyler size geçen cinsten şeyler. Gerçekten severek okudum ve tavsiye ederim. Tek korkum, seri olarak nasıl korkusu. Çünkü son zamanlarda bir kitap okuyorsunuz, muthis. Hemen devamına basliyoruz falan, kötü oluyor. Umarım öyle değildir, yarın İşgalci'ye başlıyorum
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 23 books8,936 followers
Read
January 22, 2018
Loved this book and the slow, building romance. The characters are awesome and really like learning about the home world. I found myself craving pot roast, but not bland pot roast. If you're a sci-fi fan, pick this one up.
Profile Image for Celeste_pewter.
593 reviews146 followers
April 22, 2013
Two-second recap: Alienated is a stunner of a debut novel.

With two engaging lead characters, a star-crossed romance (quite literally in this case!), and an unexpected series of twists, this is a book that is sure to capture the heart of readers everywhere.

***

Full review:

Since the latter half of 2013, it seems like aliens have been the subject du jour in the world of YA fiction.

Books like Demitria Lunetta’s In the After (HarperTeen), Margaret Stohl’s Icons (Little, Brown BFYR) and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave (Putnam), have all explored what it’s like to live in a world where aliens are the invading force, pushing humanity to the brink of extension.

But what if the aliens weren’t in fact, an invading force? What if they were just as curious about humans, as we would be about them? And just what if we set up…a student exchange program with them?

These are the questions that Melissa Landers seeks to answer in her debut novel, Alienated. Rather than portray aliens as faceless, nameless invaders, Landers introduces us to the L’eihr, a peaceful group of aliens with DNA almost identical to humans, but with one very notable difference: they can’t feel emotion.

Two years after making contact with Earth, the L’eihr and Earth have arranged to host a student exchange program for their best and brightest. Cara Sweeney is chosen to host Aelyx, a cold but smart young man, who has ulterior motives for joining the exchange program.

As both Cara and Aelyx slowly begin to get acquainted, a wave of anti-L’eihr paranoia pushes them far beyond their comfort zones. Though they turn to each other for support, the secret that Aelyx has been hiding may end up forcing Cara to fight for both herself and her planet.

***

Things that worked:

As usual, let’s start with the basics:

* Writing/World-building/Plotting:

Writing:

Landers writes with an effortless confidence, and her words fly off a page in a way that made reading Alienated incredibly enjoyable.

I was especially impressed with her ability to alternate between Cara and Aelyx’s voices in each chapter, using third-person limited. Landers adds enough detail and distinction to make the mindset of both characters distinctive, which is not an easy feat when using that particular narration style.


World-building:

The mythology behind the L’eihr is an incredibly detailed one. Without revealing any spoilers, Landers has definitely created an alien origin story that is rich and complex, and I can’t wait for her to further explore the world in following books.

At the same time, Landers has also created a post-L’eihr earth that is completely believable and feasible. I can totally see something like HALO forming in the aftermath of contact with the L’eihrs, and I also look forward to seeing how they’re going to react after the events of the first book.


Plotting:

For a book that covers a fairly significant amount of time – about a year in earth time - the book moves at a brisk pace. Landers does a good job of building up the action slowly, until it hits the climax in the latter half of the book.

There’s a fine balance between the day-to-day of Cara and Aelyx’s life – including the gradual unfolding of their romance – and the more explosive elements of the book. I think this will definitely heighten the appeal to reads who want both a sci-fi, and elements of a contemporary YA.



* The characterizations.

Cara Sweeny had my heart from the very first page of Alienated, where she proudly admits to retaking AP calculus solely for the purpose of boosting her GPA, so she could secure (a.k.a. steal) the position of valedictorian.

This is a girl who knows what she wants, and knows what she needs to do to get it. Cara’s clearly driven and clever, but also not in a way that would make her obnoxious or unlikeable. She’s also curious and empathetic about life and the world around her in a way, which I think would make just about anyone want to be her friend.

Even as things get tough as the book progresses – including some incredible peer pressure - she never loses sight of who she is, and what she stands for. I strongly applaud Landers for writing a character with qualities that teenage readers can look up to.

All of these sentiments apply to Aelyx, as well. Even though he’s technically emotionless, he’s still empathetic, and more importantly, smart enough to admit when he’s wrong.

I especially loved Aelyx’s transition from passionately arguing the beliefs that he held before his stay on Earth, to the realization that he was wrong. He’s so smart when coming to the awareness that he’s been wrong this entire time.



* The socio-economic implications.

As someone who works in politics, I loved the fact that many of the issues experienced by Cara and Aelyx are extremely relevant to our current political landscape.

Readers will recognize many of the issues being faced by the main characters – e.g. immigration (though, slightly more galactic in this case); cultural conflict; religious diversity, etc. – as ones that are faced by our families, friends and leaders today.

But what’s notable about Landers’ incorporation of these issues is her skill at showing both sides of the argument. She always makes it clear – whether through conversation or action – that there are two sides to every issue, and it’s important to respect both sides.

I think educators and parents can easily use the issues discussed in Alienated as a way of connecting to general real-world issues at large, and to invoke more classroom discussion after that.


* The romance.

Cara and Aelyx’s romance is the perfect example of the slow burn.

The two of them take the time to get to know each other, slowly and surely. They talk. They learn things about one another. They do small things for one another, to feel more comfortable in each other’s presence.

E.g. Cara basically goes into a cooking frenzy, to make sure that Aelyx has food that he’ll eat and enjoy. Alternatively, Aelyx makes a strong effort to be more human through observing the conversations and actions of others, because he knows it’ll make Cara feel better.

I loved the fact that their relationship is something that’s slowly built upon time, so we can see why they go from being slightly suspicious of one another, to falling passionately for one another. I absolutely can’t wait to see where Landers is going to take this romance in the rest of the series.


***

Things that didn’t work/Things to consider:

Without giving too many spoilers away, I ultimately felt that the ending was a wee bit too rushed. Characters seemed a little too okay with what I thought was a pretty drastic decision for one of the main characters.

However, I also do think that the ending does set up the next book in the series beautifully.

***

Final verdict:

Alienated is a charming, intelligent addition to both the science-fiction and YA genres. Melissa Landers has written a novel that is charming and funny, and also incredibly smart.

I would recommend this book for readers who are fans of both science fiction, and of contemporary YA. I would also recommend this book for fans of Marissa Meyer and Beth Revis.


***

Disclaimer:

I received an ARC of Alienated from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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