Book Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Posted February 13, 2014 by Kara in book review, Kara / 19 Comments

Book Review: Alienated by Melissa LandersAlienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4th, 2014
Genres: science fiction, young adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

To be honest (and I am always honest), I am not sure why I requested this one. Maybe it was the cover. I also think it sounded like something really different and I was intrigued, though at the time I was not certain it would be a book for me. I should have, probably, went with me gut here. In spite of there being some things I did like about Alienated, for the most part I was underwhelmed and unimpressed.

Let’s start with the good. I enjoyed the characters, particularly Aelyx. I thought his narrative was funny. And I thought his confusion with Earth and Earth girls (though juvenile) was humorous. This is one of those books where you are either going to appreciate the silliness or you aren’t. I totally understand why people didn’t. But quotes like these,

“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.”

I found humorous. He’s an alien, guys! He isn’t a human boy, and he doesn’t come from here. Things he does are going to be ridiculous. Thoughts that he has are going to be cheesy and stupid because even though he looks like a human, he isn’t one. The book is mostly a comedy and it’s supposed to be. If you go into it expecting anything different, this is probably NOT the book you should be reading! It really is THAT simple. If you are expecting a serious science fiction novel (though lord knows with that cover why you would be), pick a different book! Do you want to laugh? Do you appreciate silly jokes and amusing conflicts between the sexes of a Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus variety? You are probably going to enjoy this. It is not the deepest book I have ever read, by any means, but it serves its purpose.

There are a couple things I didn’t like. The world building didn’t work for me in some spots and I had issues with suspension of disbelief. Why would they use teenagers for this program and not adults? There is no way most parents would allow their kids to leave the galaxy, for chrissakes. And you know, then there was that whole 10,000 years thing. Which, it was neither confirmed nor denied, but there is an ancient tale that the people of Earth came from ancient citizens of L’eihr. Uhhhh, there have been people on Earth for way longer than that, book. O_o What in the hell?! *head explodes from stupidity* And the thing is, this story wasn’t even necessary. It could have been left out to no ill effects of the book. Whomp, whomp.

The writing was fine, but a bit juvenile. It just didn’t do anything for me. But again, this is not a very deep book, so it is to be expected. I appreciate how it deals with Xenophobia, but I also didn’t like the portrayal of some of the characters, particularly Tori. I can’t really put my finger on it, but the way she treated Cara, the way she went after her boyfriend, who by the way, was really rough with Cara in the beginning, bothered me. He dragged her down the hallway and she did nothing. I had a HUGE issue with that. Why didn’t these girls stand up for themselves? Why didn’t they get help? It was just icky to me. There was a large military and police presence in this book and yet Eric and Marcus were douchey all over the place and no one intervened. Whatever. 

I enjoyed the story though it was kind of predictable. I didn’t have an issue with that really because it was still well told. I laughed and read through this pretty quickly, but umm, did I miss where the river (and I am pretty sure the author means a smaller river, not the East River, based on the way it is described) and forest is in Midtown, New York? Because isn’t that where the Javits Center is? Not exactly rural there, ya know? WHERE IS THE RIVER? Someone tell me. Where is the forest? Where is there room to park a giant spaceship? 

Okay, I am done. On to the next.

19 responses to “Book Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

  1. Hah. I’m glad you ended up enjoying this one somewhat. We talked about this before, and you are so right that people will probably like the book if they like the humor! Sadly I did not, but I can totally see why other people are responding to it. As you said, on to the next. 😉

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  2. This sounds like a book you must read when you want something fluffy, but you must not think about it too much. I haven’t read many alien books (as far as I can think of 1) so this might be a good book to introduce me to another side of aliens 🙂

  3. How does a space ship land in New York . The synopsis sounds a lot like star crossed . The new The Cw show .i think I’ll give it a pass . To fluffy for me .tnx for the lovely review Kara

  4. This was a bit underwhelming for me too, but I did find it mostly entertaining overall – I guess the humour just about worked for me, even if it didn’t make me laugh out loud. But ha, how do you fit a giant spaceship in a forest? I completely missed that. 😀

  5. DMS

    I haven’t read this one, but the cover is beautiful. I didn’t realize that this takes place in NY. Maybe the spacecraft is super small? 🙂 I am glad the book was able to make you laugh. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I went into the book expecting entertainingly light and fluffy, and that is true. But it also isn’t. I kept feeling as though the book had a multiple personality disorder. It had the elements there to be thoughtful, but only ever flirted with them. I wish she had done more with that or left it out altogether. Though I did have fun with it in the end and will read the next one just to see.

    And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one thoroughly confused about where in the heck they were. I had the hardest time picturing the setting.

    • YES. Great assessment. It really lacked a focus for me too. What was it trying to be?

      And yeah. It was supposed to be Midtown! But it certainly did NOT feel like NYC to me at all.

  7. Great review Kara. I’ve been seeing this one doing the rounds.

    I haven’t felt inclined to read it regardless, but your paragraph on the crappy world building has me set. I just cannot deal with a world that makes no sense and plot points that are completely dumb. I can’t suspend my disbelief at all. So yeah. I’ll steer clear.

  8. OMG Kara! Completely agree with you. When I started reading this I thought I was reading a middle grade book by mistake. The humor was the kind you’d expect tweens to enjoy. Well, I won’t say any more because I have to write my own review today:-)

  9. Haha, so the whole myth of 10,000 years ago thing was the opposite for me, I needed it to be explained and confirmed since otherwise it makes no sense why the L’eihr and humans would look so similar ya know? Excellent point that it should have been further back, but the whole aliens looking similar to humans with no explanation thing always bothers me 😉

    The douchiness with no one intervening bothered me as well, even with the xenophobia since I really wanted Cara to freak out at least once at how utterly ridiculous everyone was being!

    • Yes, if it had been further back maybe I could have handled it. The way it was only made me wonder if the author was trying to sneak in a Creationist agenda. Though I know she probably was not. It was just weird for me.

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