Title: Alienated (Alienated #1)
Author: Melissa Landers
First published: 2014
Genre: Sci-fi, romance
"It took surprisingly little to destroy an ecosystem. Thickening plant life would block sunlight and deoxygenize the water, and once the chemical makeup changed, it was only a matter of time before the water became unfit for consumption. Rainfall wouldn't generate enough to support all of Earth's life-forms, and humans would die painfully, battling for whatever drops remained." -- Chapter 18
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term alien (n) means a creature that comes from somewhere other than the planet Earth. Moreover, the term alienate (v) refers to 'to cause (someone) to feel that she or he no longer belongs in a particular group, society, etc'. Thus, the title of the book actually can mean 2 things; a book about alien or a book about someone who is being shunned. Interestingly, it is a book about both.
Alienated is the title of the blog that was written by our main character in this book, Cara Sweeney. She was a readheaded girl with a temper to match her fiery hair, and vibrant blue eyes. She was a very competitive girl and the smartest student of Midtown High School. No wonder she was also the valedictorian and an excellent debater. This was why she was chosen to be an exchange student with.....wait for it....yeah, right, with another student form another planet!
Aelyx, a very intelligent student from Aegis in planet L'eihr (an alien planet that was able to contact planet Earth 2 years ago and the creatures had the same DNA pattern with humans of Earth) came to live with Cara under the same roof, before the girl leaves for L'eihr the following year.
"Supposedly, their planet was way older than Earth, and all races sort of blended together thousands of years ago. Thenbthey started evolving. Or mutating." -- Chapter 3
The first few days of living with the Sweeneys, Aelyx was cold and distant. He couldn't bear Earth's vibrant colors in autumn, he couldn't stomach Earth's food with strong seasonings, he even couldn't stand the music. He despised the whole exchange student thing and planned to sabotage it with his other two friends, Syrine and Eron, who came to Earth in the same program as Aelyx.
Cara, on the other hand, who really needed the scholarships from this exchange program, tried her hardest to be a good host for Aelyx. She even asked her Mom to decorate Aelyx's room in L'eihrian style and tried to recreate weird food from L'eihr. This made Aelyx felt more than grateful towards the girl, a feeling that was very alien to him because for generations, L'eihrs did not portray emotions.
"Our sky isn't blue. It's grey. The shade changes as the days goes on." -- Chapter 5
While Aelyx and Cara's relationships goes from acquaintances to close friends, the girl must suffer broken heart because her boyfriend and bestfriend dumped her and they joined an extreme organization of L'eihr haters. Cara even receives threatening notes in her locker, and being ignored by the whole school population. Things escalated when accidents started to happen to her and her friends and family.
"Our last war ended thousands of years ago. Your wars in the Middle East have barely ceased, and already there's conflict shimmering again. Humans have yet to move beyond the cycle of aggression ." -- Chapter 9
I read this book because the cover is beautiful. I know, I'm a sucker for pretty covers. But come on, the sparkling stars all over it? I just had to read it. And also, because of the synopsis. I mean exchange student with another planet. Hello....this theme has not been written before. It's very unique and original and it sounds bizarrely interesting.
At first, I didn't expect much from this book. Even after I read 50% of it, I was only "okay" with the story because so far, the story is very YA with a lot of teenage stuffs, and high school problems, which for me, are not really interesting. And romance. Big chunks of romance is not really my favorite. But hey, after about 60%, things getting interesting because the problems are getting bigger and bigger, and even the romance is getting hotter, and it was successful in making me laugh out loud because of some funny scenes. I mean, really laugh. Seriously, this book is really funny -- the humour and sarcasm from the writer are golden.
But something really serious happened in the 80% of the book that turned my opinion of the book upside down. I thought this book was about all funny things, teenage things and blah blah blah...but wow! It can get really serious. Like murder serious. Like dead serious. Like war serious. And it just made me like "whaaaaaaaattttt...!!!!???". That was pretty much my reaction. Honest. But I'm not talking about it. You have to read it yourself to get that effect, heheheeh...
Honestly, this book is more about romance than sci-fi, but it's okay because I think it is well-written and unique. Remember romeo and juliet? Two people who fell in love despite their different families? Yeah, this book takes star-crossed-lovers theme to a new extreme! Woohooo...
Another thing that I like about this book, is I think the topic that was brought (either intentionally or not) by the author is about differences. About human nature and that humans are still afraid of something different...afraid of someone different. Remember our histories about war in our beloved planet? Most of them were caused by different ideologies, skin colors, tribes, countries, races, and religions....sadly, until now. The book shows how people are afraid of other species, aliens, and took it to an extreme. The book actually made me realize that, in essence, we are all humans and children of Earth, brothers and sisters despite our differences. Silly things that differenciate us now, such as skin colors or races, who knows, in thousands of years in the future, just like in L'eihr, we will mix with each other, and there will only one race in this world. Thank God we still have differences to make our life colorful, don't you agree? :-)
Anyway, I really enjoyed reading it eventhough the pace is not fast enough for me in the first half of the book. But I had a lot of fun, anyway, so... 4 out of 5 stars for this book for making me laugh.
See ya in the next review, guys!