So I just finished reading the book Alienated by Melissa Landers and the fact that a book about aliens sending foreign exchange students to earth was written by a woman named Landers has not escaped me.
Alienated is YA romance, which is normally a genre I try to avoid but I read the first chapter while waiting for my brother to finish doing something in a book store and kind of liked the main character and the idea of a highly advance (but genetically identical to humans) trying to make an alliance with earth because they need us. On some level the premise of the story reminded me of Battlestar Galactica.
Here’s what I liked about the book:
1) Alienated was a NaNoWriMo book. It’s nice to know that a book written during National Novel Writing Month can actually make it. Obviously the creation of the book took more than 30 days (according to the acknowledgements section it took at least 5 drafts) but I like that it was a NaNoWriMo book. That means it was written by someone who loves writing and books and stories. To me that really means that this was the author’s story, a story that probably meant a lot to them while they were writing it. I would know, I try to do NaNoWriMo every year and I only finish when it is actually a story that I really care about.
2) The book is actually well written. A lot of YA fiction, especially YA romances are not well written and kind of glorify unhealthy relationships (I’m looking at you Twilight). Alienated is pretty well written it shows rather than tells, builds the world in an interesting way, and it has believable narratives between the two main characters. There are some books out there that are so poorly written that I cannot wade my way the way through them and sit there wondering how they got published. Alienated was not that way. Trust me it wasn’t Shakespeare and it was written for mid to late teens but in a good way.
3) Alienated deals with the entirety of the community shunning the heroine and her family based on ignorance and prejudice. People she had known for 18 years and who her father (a firefighter) had saved their lives not only turned their backs on her but literally threatened and tried to kill her. It was so realistic too. I believed that this was the way people would actually react to the situation presented. I also sat stunned on my couch for a few minutes halfway through the book saying “of course it’s a good idea to attack the highly advanced race of aliens trying to be our friends. People are stupid.”
Here’s what I didn’t like about the book:
1) There was a moment very early on in which the girl was talking about how beautiful the guy was for most of a paragraph and I was so irritated about it. Then it got over it until halfway through the book it happened again. This time from the male perspective talking about how beautiful the girl was. Ug. The worst. I can stand a second or two of the person describing the other character but I want to see how beautiful they are through their eyes without being told.
2) The sex escalated really suddenly. Really suddenly. It surprised me. Like a lot. I don’t even really have commentary on it I’m just saying it was a little of putting.
3) I didn’t get enough information to know if I was rooting for the alliance or not. It wasn’t a bad thing it was just that my only investment in the alliance completely hinged on my feelings about the two main characters.
I want to give the book 4 out of 5 stars but it might be more like 3.5 out of 5, it depends on what I’m judging it based on. I did enjoy it and would recommend it to my friends. If you like that genre or teen fiction, specifically aimed at 16, 17, and 18 years old girls, then I would recommend it. If you aren’t into that then you won’t want to read it.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.