Sunday, January 26, 2014
Alienated (Goodreads | Amazon) is the fun, frothy type read that I like from Disney Hyperion. I picked up this book because it sounded like a Disney Channel original movie (Stepsister from Planet Weird to be precise) and that was exactly what I got. Zetus lapetus, this book owns it's silliness while still maintaining a readable story.
Cara Sweeny is handpicked for a scholarship program that requires her to host a foreign exchange student. Only this isn't your typical Swedish girl, but an alien boy from the planet L'eihr. Two years ago the aliens made contact, giving the humans the cure for cancer as a goodwill offering. Now they're in alliance negotiations and as an experiment they send three student ambassadors to earth. They look like humans, in fact they're almost genetically identical but the L'eihrs are a few thousand years ahead of mankind evolution-wise.
The story keeps it light, mocking fangirls L'annabes (L'eihr wannabes), with silly culture clashes while having bigger issues like xenophobia, paranoia and fear broiling in the background. The crazier the human "Patriots" get, the closer Cara becomes to her exchange student Aelyx, a ridiculously hot, intelligent know-it-all kind of a guy. As she gets "alienated" from her lifelong friends, Cara and Aelyx begin to have feelings for each other. Little does she know that Aelyx hasn't been forthcoming with all of his secrets or his intentions on planet earth.
There's no denying this book has it's ridiculous moments, but it's the type of silly that I've been known to love. It's hard to believe that humans would accept an unknown cancer cure without years of testing (and lots of lives perishing in the meantime), but that's a stretch I can allow especially when the paranoia and fear of the general public feels embarrassingly realistic.
Onto the romance, which isn't a spoiler since it's right in the Goodreads synopsis. Yes it's a little overwrought and melodramatic, but considering the circumstances and how the whole world is going crazy I don't feel like Cara has much time to be rational. It feels overwrought in a way that is decidedly accurate teenager. My only real qualm is her parents reaction, but when there's an angry mob threatening to kill your family you might make snap decisions (and for the record her parents are great, a rarity, and always choose kindness).
The second half of this review might not make the book sound fun, but I swear it is! From Cara's lighthearted blog posts, to Aelyx cluelessness as to human social interactions and struggles with food, this book had me laughing and smiling throughout. It's got a little bit of Zenon, little bit of Stepsister from Planet Weird and the combination works for a book that's fun, sarcastic and exactly what I wanted it to be.
I received an advance reading e-copy in exchange for an honest review.