Landers, Melissa. Alienated. Disney Hyperion, 2014.
High school senior Cara Sweeney has gotten every honor attainable—Young Leader Award, state debate champ for two years, president of the National Honor Society, and class valedictorian. All she needs now is a good scholarship for college.
Imagine her surprise when Cara’s family is chosen to host an interplanetary exchange student from Planet L’eihr. As payment for hosting, Cara will receive full tuition to any college she chooses. Not only that, she will be able to post about her experiences with the alien on her blog.
When Aelyx, the L’eihr exchange student, arrives, Cara discovers that even though he is he handsome, he is rather cold and aloof. He likes the drab colors of winter, doesn’t care for earth food, and is dreading his time with his host family. As Cara and Aelyx grow closer, HALO—Humans Against L’eihr Occupation, begin staging protests, hoping to upset the alliance between Earth and L’eihr. HALO’s demonstrations become increasingly violent and eventually result in another exchange student’s death.
Fearing for their lives, Aelyx and Cara flee earth. Cara discovers that Aelyx and the other exchange students have tried to sabotage the Earth alliance by poisoning crops with a L’eihr parasitic tree. Feeling that Aelyx has betrayed both her and Planet Earth, Cara must decide if she will accept his apology and continue with their relationship.
The plotline and world building of Planet L’eihr and its inhabitants are ingenious. The novel is extremely character-driven, and the two main characters—Cara and Aelyx—are strong and likable. There are some intense romance scenes between the two that will leave readers breathless. Aelyx is very literal in his comments to others, which adds humor to the novel. Alienated is the first book in the new series by the same name and will be released this Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Invaded, the second book in the series will debut in 2015. I highly recommend Alienated for high school and public libraries. I give it five out of five fleur de lis!