Review and Giveaway: Alienated by Melissa Landers

March 5, 2014 Giveaway, Reviews 26 ★★

Alienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated # 1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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.

I labeled Alienated as a science fiction novel, but that is really stretching the meaning of the genre.  Yes, there are aliens in this book, but the science is very shallow.  What is the point of featuring aliens in a story when they look, talk, and act just like humans?  I have always had an intense interest in books and films featuring aliens, so this was a big disappointment.

In Alienated, Cara’s family signs up to be part of the first Earthling and L’eihr student exchange program.  This is an idea that had some potential, but in execution, it didn’t make a lot of sense.  Why would an advanced civilization send their snotty youths to Earth as their ambassadors, rather than a statesman-type?  And by the time communications between two worlds advanced to the point that such a swap could occur, wouldn’t they have more than just a rudimentary understanding of each other?  Over and over throughout the book, it’s pointed out how little the two beings know about each other.

Aelyx, the L’eihr sent to live with Cara’s family, is the hottest…”person”…she’s ever seen.  I suppose this was necessary because once the inevitable romance kicks in, it might have been a bit of a struggle to picture Cara making out with an alien that looks like E.T.  Aelyx, in fact, is SO human-like, and the alien angle is so forced, he might as well have been an  exchange student from Europe.  And just how exactly is an alien race indistinguishable from humans?  Aelyx explains that L’eihr DNA and human DNA is “almost identical,” and the two races must have intermingled at some point in history.  The explanation flies in the face of evolution, but that little matter is brushed aside.  There is an oddly intense focus on food in Alienated, and I assume that’s done in an effort to highlight the fact that humans and aliens are, in fact, different, since this book has a hard time making that point.  We get a lot of information on which human foods Aelyx can tolerate (hardly any) and which he cannot.  There are many scenes of him grimacing or threatening to vomit over certain foods.  For reasons unknown, this advanced civilization gave no thought to this very basic, very critical need for survival before sending him to Earth.

At one point, Cara asks Aelyx how many intelligent life forms his people had discovered in the universe so far.  When he tells her they’ve found around a dozen, she is shocked, because this is BRAND NEW INFORMATION.  Humans and L’eihrs have been in contact long enough to set up a student exchange program.  How could this not already be information that is known world-wide?  If members of an alien race ever make contact with Earth, one of the top ten questions would surely be: How many more of us are out there?  It would certainly rank well ahead of: When should we kick off our student exchange problem?

The humans we meet in Alienated mostly fall into one of two categories – most of them are full of hatred and fear of the L’eihrs, and a few fangirl like One Direction fans.  The humans form lynch mobs to oust, or maybe even kill, Aelyx, and he needs military presence to keep him safe.  The L’eihrs, meanwhile, view humans with contempt and never pass up an opportunity to ridicule them. With so much hatred floating around, who thought it would be a great idea to throw these two groups together?  Presumably the leaders of the two worlds are a bit more open-minded, but we never hear from them.  Alienated wants to be a commentary on racism and bigotry.  Here on Earth, however, bigoted humans can only do so much to attempt to segregate themselves from the people they hate.  But if Earthlings and aliens despise each other and will attempt to murder each other when placed in close quarters, the solution is pretty simple – Stay on your own damn planets.  Note: I’m making a joke here, and I’m not advocating segregation for humans.  (Or aliens, for that matter.)  But in this case, it’s made clear that L’eihr is much more scientifically advanced than we are, and I assume their military is, as well.  Wouldn’t the leaders of Earth done some work to determine what the reaction to an alien’s presence would be?  Since the majority are strongly and violently opposed, why not wait until they’re ready?  Otherwise, Aelyx is at risk of getting killed, and Earth may find that L’eihr has aimed their laser blasters at Earth in revenge.

I know this is a lot of criticism, but the science fiction aspect of this book is so weak that I had to point it out.  Readers who are more interested in a light romance may enjoy this more.  Even though it didn’t work for me, I’m hoping that this ARC will find a good home with someone else.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents.  Also, be sure to stop by my giveaway for an ARC of Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott.

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26 Responses to “Review and Giveaway: Alienated by Melissa Landers”

  1. Chelsea Hunter

    I think it would be interesting to be involved in an alien/human exchange program. I would probably open up my house to an alien or even go to live on a new planet.

  2. Valerie

    I’ve seen so many reviews that are similar to yours, but I still want to read it because the cover is just so pretty! The concept just seems so cool, I really wish the author did a better job with the development of it. I love actual science fiction though.

    Would you sign up to be part of an alien/human exchange program, either opening your home to an alien or going to live on another planet?
    I would definitely go live on another planet, but I wouldn’t host an alien because my house is boring. This is kind of the reason why I haven’t hosted an exchange student yet, because there’s no where to go around my house. haha.
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #3My Profile

  3. Stephanie H.

    I think I would be interested. I think it would be cool to learn about alien cultures. I think it would be pretty cool to live on another planet. I would love to explore.
    I’ve been wanting the read this book, but I haven’t bought it because I’ve seen so many low reviews.
    Stephanie H. recently posted…Watching Wednesday #1My Profile

  4. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    My friend and I are going to buddy read this soon, so now I know to lower my expectations. It sounds like mostly a frustrating novel, after the low-rating reviews coming out recently. And about them not knowing about the new life forms? *shakes head* This is going to be a weird book, I can tell. Lovely review, Stephanie!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Our New Blog Name!My Profile

  5. Tammy

    I don’t do well with change so I would rather host an alien than have to go to another planet.


    I really think it all depends on what we know about the Aliens. I mean did you see that movie Prometheus? It’s was kinda crazy. However, if they were amiable, then I think it would de a fabulous experience.
    BRITTANY TODD recently posted…WHAT I GOT WEDNESDAYS!!My Profile

  7. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Aw, that’s a shame. I’m SO looking forward to this. I can see the sci-fi is a bit loose and has holes, but if the characters are cool, then I’m not going to be too devastated about that. But, hehe, I had to laugh at the everyone hating the aliens or being One Direction fans. Weeell, that’s understandable if the aliens look like hot perfect guys. HEY. Maybe they come from the same galaxy as Thor!! That’d explain everything. 😉
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Why Cait Is Unbelievably Jealous of YouMy Profile

  8. LeKeisha Thomas

    That would be a definite NO! LOL! Sorry, it’s just not anything that I’d like to do. Let me live my life on earth and die in peace. No need to become some alien’s guinea pig.

  9. Nancy L.R.

    I think I would definitely do it! BUT, only when the aliens look like actual humans and not the stereotype cause I will probably freak all the time.
    I will choose to go there, change of scenery and all that.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Tiffany

    I think that I would definitely be open to doing a program like that. Of course, I would want to make sure the aliens did not plan to kill everyone first, but it would be pretty neat to live on another planet, too.
    Tiffany recently posted…2014 TBR Pile Reading ChallengeMy Profile

  11. Tasia

    I’ve been wanting to read Alienated for such a long time! I’m a little bit iffy about it, but I think it’s worth the read! I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews but I don’t want to knock it until I try it!
    Tasia recently posted…Coming Attractions #5My Profile

    • Tasia

      Also, I don’t think I would be okay with letting an alien be in my home or in my body…that’s a little weird for me! Meeting them? Sure…but IDK…those guys might get crazy!

  12. Sarah K

    I would want to go to an alien planet, but that would be terrifying. I don’t know if I could do it, but having an alien exchange student would be cool, too.

  13. Jaime Lester

    I definitely wouldn’t go live on another planet unless my whole entire family and every one of my friend’s was going with me. But I would host an alien, sure!

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