Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Series: Alienated #1
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Source: Trade
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~ 

There is only one way to describe this book: half adorable hilarity and half serious. It's a beautiful combination of both. While we sit here laughing to our hearts content, the underlying themes of extreme xenophobia and judgment are definitely prevalent throughout the novel, making this one great journey.

We begin the novel by meeting Cara, who I adored. She's sassy, smart, and she simply does what is right. This is my type of girl and I absolutely loved her characterization because she felt so real to me. Anyway, she is responsible for hosting one of three of the world's first foreign exchange students. And by that I mean a legitimately foreign alien from another planet--L'eihr.

This alien is named Aelyx and I really enjoyed him as well (almost more than Cara). Sure, he's tall and handsome, which is awesome, but he is also used as a huge source of comic relief. Comparing the world he grew up in to the Earth was really interesting to me. He sort of reminded me of a Vulcan. I'm making this comparison because Vulcans were the first aliens I was ever introduced to as a child and also because of the lack of emotional understanding and connection to the world. Both races are very analytical, logical, and structured while the human race is full of insane humans who are ruled by their emotions. Landers made these two worlds collide exquisitely and drawing comparisons between the two led to many laughs and fascinating new discoveries. Plus, watching Aelyx's journey of self-discovery and growth was beyond awesome too. He wasn't just a science experiment, he was a being with a past, present, and a future that was struggling to adapt in a world where he is hated that he doesn't really understand. He also despises most of the food, so that sucks.

The relationships in this book were, without a doubt, my favorite aspect of it. There was kissing, there was crushing, there was awkwardly throwing yourself at people because you don't know what to do. It was perfect. But the familial relationships were amazing as well. Cara's parents are so full of love and justice, I couldn't have asked for them to be written any other way. We need more people as sacrificing and steadfast in their beliefs as them.

But, with all things aside, this fun-loving book is forced to get serious fast. Most of the human race doesn't like the L'eihr's. They're aliens that are stepping foot on their planet, after all. The threat is obvious and it is only doubled due to the fact that their technologically is astronomically better than ours. Talk about light-years ahead of our time. This made me, as a reader, really interested to learn about their devices, but I understand why people would be freaked out. Anyway, this threat keeps mounting and the population goes nuts. It was almost like a cult was formed and there was death threats, physical threats, picketing, rioting, a lack of safety. You name it and it was forced upon Cara and Aelyx and the two other sets of exchange students throughout the world. All of this tension keeps mounting until it explodes at the end in a way that had me flipping pages to see what happens.

The ending, unfortunately, came as no surprise to me because of certain events that happened throughout the novel. However, it certainly made me excited for book two to see what else Landers has in store for us. There are little things that I didn't like about the book, like how Cara handled her friendship with Tori. I also didn't like her final decision made in the novel, though it's necessary for the series to continue. But, all little things aside, this book was both adorable and serious and perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction alien adventure that certainly has me anxious for book two. Landers came out with a solid debut that easily promises more amazing shenanigans and space exploration to come.

This is the perfect read for those looking for a hilarious sci-fi that also explores deep themes of prejudice and xenophobia. It makes you think, but it makes you laugh so hard that you cry as well. What more could you ask for?

3.75 stars



  1. I LOVE when I love the family in a book! It immediately makes anything that might be bad, ok! Even though you saw the end coming, it sounds like you still really enjoyed getting there - this sounds like something I would really enjoy, if I were looking for something on the lighter, if contemplative side!

    1. I think that a good family is a HUGE plot boost no matter what the storyline!

      And yes. I saw the ending coming, but the process of getting there was rather enjoyable (except for the explosive drama at the end).

  2. I can't even begin to describe how happy I am that the parents are actually present! I'm excited to read this one for that alone. I'll definitely have to try and find a copy. Great review Lili!