Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Alienated

Title: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
Genre: YA, romance, sci-fi
Published: 4 February 2014
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 / 10
Challenges: NetGalley Challenge

Synopsis: "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." (from GoodReads)

My Review: This is a slightly better-written Twilight clone with an alien instead of a vampire. There are some interesting twists, but we know these two crazy teens are going to fall in love despite their differences. I'm also pretty sure I caught the first whiffs of a love triangle that will probably be explored more in the sequel(s).

First, the things I didn't like:
For an alien who supposedly had no concept of human emotion, Aelyx smirks. A LOT. I felt like I needed to start keeping a tally, because it happened constantly.
The idea of falling in love with an alien (I don't care HOW hot he is) is pretty icky to me. It's one of my peeves about the Doctor Who fandom, too, actually. If these aliens want to be neighborly, that's awesome! But (SPOILER) mating with aliens, even if it strengthens their genes (I didn't really get the logic behind this part) seems too far-fetched. I understand that there's a parallel to civil rights, but I guess I'm just not that open-minded.
It's very obviously the first part of a series. That drives me crazy; I wish authors would finish their stories in one book, rather than stretching them out. Especially when said book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.

The stuff I did like:
There's some pretty cool world-building, but we don't get to see too much of it in this book because we only really interact with Aelyx.
Cara blogs about her experience, which is a pretty fun conceit. I would've liked to read more of her posts about the L'eihr.
Cara's best friend is Latina. Hooray, diversity!

Alienated is also pretty action-packed, especially toward the end. I don't know if I'll read the sequel, but I will definitely recommend it to my Twilight-loving students.

Other Reviews:
Falling For YA

If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: Suddenly You

Title: Suddenly You
Author: Cecilia Gray
Genre: YA, Jane Austen-paralit, romance
Published: 7 May 2013
Pages: 128
Rating: 7 / 10
Challenges: NetGalley Challenge

Synopsis: "Fanny doesn't want to be at The Jane Austen Academy. She intends to lay low until graduation when she can try out for the Olympic track team. She doesn't need friends or love. She only needs her running.

But The Academy is in danger. In an effort to save it, Fanny joins forces with the friends she never knew she wanted. Suddenly, Fanny finds herself center stage in the middle of the Academy's biggest love triangle as the lead in the school play...only this track star can't afford to break a leg." (from GoodReads)

My Review: This was my least favorite of the Jane Austen Academy novellas available now, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I read through them too quickly and got burned out? Maybe the enjoyment I got out of Kat's book made it difficult for me to enjoy Fanny (who is honestly my least favorite Austen heroine) and her adventures as much? The romance part of the story itself is pretty similar to Mansfield Park in that Fanny has a crush on someone she views as unattainable (NOT her cousin this time, hooray!) and she spends a lot of time mooning over him and trying to fight off the advances of Josh (as Henry Crawford this time). This book frustrated me because so much of the conflict could've been avoided if Fanny just communicated with people more (her mom, Tran, Josh, Lucy) instead of just letting everything happen to her and then dealing with it. The best part of this book for me was the surprising character development of Josh. He's been the bad guy in four different stories, and it seems like he's finally getting some growth. I'm really looking forward to what happens to him in Emma's story.

This was still a good story, my quibbles aside. It's cute and fun and a really quick read. I'm excited about the last two books in this series and can't wait to read them!

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.