Two years ago, Aliens arrived from the planet L'eihr and made first contact with Earth. In an effort to open up dialogue for an alliance between the two worlds, the L'eihrs offered help in curing Cara Sweeny's mother of cancer. Chosen by the L'eihr's as part of LEAP (L'eihr Exchange Ambassador Program), Cara is given the opportunity of a lifetime in that the scholarship that she will receive from her participation & completion, will open doors to going to any college that she would like to attend.
While Cara is an open minded, extremely focused, and intelligent individual, little does she know that her participation will change her life in more ways than even she could imagine. The so called money that her family receives to participate, will literally change her life forever. When she finds herself peeling back the layers off her exchange alien's hidden charms, she begins to lose everyone close to her except her wonderfully supportive parents. She is haunted, and hunted, and discouraged by speciesists known as HALO and Patriots of Earth to the point where she comes close to losing everything.
Setting the way for future human ambassadors to L'eihr, 18 year old Aelyx is chosen along with Eron and Syrine to be the first L'eihr exchange students on Earth. Aelyx ends up staying with the Sweeny's, while the other two go to China and France respectably. Aelyx personifies what the L'eihr's are bred to be; cold, distant, arrogant, intelligent, and willing to do whatever he can to personally destroy any chances of an alliance forming between the two species. Slowly, thanks to Cara's persistence and pushiness, Aelyx comes to believe that his mission is wrong on so many levels, and he falls hard for Cara's warmth, and beautiful personality.
As I was reviewing this book and taking copious notes as always, I noticed that the cover of Alienated does not accurately portray the model that has been created by Landers own words. Instead of a brown skinned boy, we have a white character looking down at Cara. I guess my point here is that if you are going to have a brown skinned character, then please make sure the cover reflects that desire. I've heard a bunch of crumbling lately about not enough ethnic characters in YA. This would have been the perfect chance to break that mold.
As I was also reviewing this book, I found myself smiling a whole lot. I liked the fact that the Sweeny's are one of the most adorable parental units that I have had the pleasure to read about in a very long time. They show a lot of affection towards each other almost all the time and are not separated, or working their way through a divorce, or one is dead, while the other struggles on.
I understand that surviving cancer can cause couples to up the ante, as it were, in the romance department, and in this case, their affection for each other is sweet and adorable. I have no complaints whatsoever in how they supported their children unconditionally and without hesitation even when shit hits the fan, and their daughter becomes a major target for haters and she is forced to make a difficult choice.
Even though Alienated is the first book in the series, I love the fact that this book has a smooth ending that apparently transitions into Invaded, and doesn't leave us with a major cliffhanger. I liked the fact that there was no 3 way love triangle, or insta lust. The relationship between Cara and Aelyx happened over time even though you KNEW from the start that they would eventually find a spark that would bring them together in a passionate way. I didn't much care for the whole Eric and Tori situation, and believe that Cara is a much bigger person that I ever will be in that she can find forgiveness in their actions. I shall be waiting patiently for February 2015, and hope that Disney once again allows access to the next installment.
Author - Melissa Landers
Title - Alienated (Alienated # 1)
Published by Disney Hyperion
Released - February 4, 2014
Genre - Science Fiction Romance
Received via NetGalley/Publisher