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.
This book has been on my To Buy List since the time I read it’s blurb on Goodreads. It took a long while to get it in my hands, because of well that little paper called money (Poor me! Pun totally intended :P)
And since, we had no idea how to proceed with this awesome sauce idea (this being our first read-a-long), we decided to read 20 pages each day. And as predicted, as we got closer to the end, stopping at 20 pages was one excruciating experience. So yeah, we cheated and moved to 30 pages each day! That meant, we finished way before we were supposed to 😉
But do we regret it? Na uh, i.e. an equivocal no!
The book is told from the POV of both the main characters and you have no idea how thankful I am for it! It’s rare to find a YA Novel that talks about what both the characters are thinking and going through, because at least for me, it feels like I am getting to know only one half of the story and it makes me feel as if the book is incomplete even when it has ended.
Coming back to the book, we start when we meet Cara who is being told that she along with two other Valedictorians have been chosen to host the first alien exchange program with the planet of L’eihr! Exciting isn’t it? Not for her, but she bucks up, because the scholarship money would go a long way in helping her go to the college she wants. But her boyfriend and her best friend have other plans.
Aelyx, on the other hand, can be seen being absolutely unenthusiastic about being on Earth, despises humans, for their brutish behaviour and uncivilised manner. His friends Eron and Syrine, are also squeamish of their time on Earth.
Understandably, the two races are, wary of each other. Even with the L’eihr’s goodwill gesture of giving the people of Earth a cure for Cancer, did not go well with Earth (of course, humans became paranoid, believing that L’ehir would take over Earth before long! I mean typical, right?).
But Cara decides to make the best of it! Because L’ehir’s medicine helped her mother beat cancer. And also, she has decided to keep an open minded unlike most of the humans.
I understand why humans are scared. Intellectually, it’s easy to understand why. L’ehirs are advanced versions of humans, with better technology and survival skills. So, it’s kind of hard to figure why would they even require an alliance with what they perceive as ‘inferior race’?
For Aelyx and his friends, the same is true, ironically! They believe that an alliance with the Earth people, would end up destroying The Way and their planet! You can actually see their reasoning. Humans have almost destroyed their planet, and Aelyx and his colleagues believe that they would do the same to their beloved planet if the alliance goes through!
This was such a light and absolutely fun read! Reading only 20 pages a day was seriously the hardest thing I have had to do in a while (And I read more than most people :P)
This book though is a little slow, and for readers like me, who love fast paced books usually, should have been bothered by it! But was I? Nope. The slowness is absolutely perfect for this story. Two people, not only different in their upbringing but also in their DNA, need time to understand that their prejudices are biased and therefore, unfounded.
Don’t believe me? Check out how much I actually love the book itself!
The characters are amazingly written and brought to life that it was impossible not to fall for them! Cara is someone I fell in love with at the start itself, and she just kept getting better and better and honestly I actually admired her by the end of the book. Aelyx, on the other hand, was a sweetheart! His inability to understand the Earth’s traditions, shouldn’t have been hilarious and adorable, but it definitely was.
But Cara and Aelyx together? Absolutely delightful! Their interactions, their slow progress from distrust to support to friendship to love was so freaking adorable that there were times that I just had to squeal and hug the book wishing I was hugging them instead 😀
Throughout the book, we see Aelyx struggle to reconcile the image of humans he has had in his head with what Cara shows him. Cara’s compassion, her earnestness to make him feel at home, makes him feel emotions that he has never felt before. Without even realising it, Cara brings a change in Aelyx that is as subtle as a bull ramming through your front door 😀
I loved that this wasn’t an ‘insta-love’ story. I really hate that. This, emergence of Caelyx was absolutely perfect and so freaking adorable that someone like me who likes romance only to be peripheral to the story literaly fangirled! [Trust me, when you read this one, you will realise why! I would hate to give you spoilers ;)]
Ms. Landers has taken a story written with humor and given such subtle impressions of having a deeper meaning that until you are done with the book, you don’t realise how your thoughts might have changed!
The action though only occurred for the last 15% of the books when everything came to head (read: humans did the exact thing they aren’t supposed to and make a decision that could cost them their planet!) and the truth is finally revealed.
I turned to the page and I screamed (no kidding, it was 2 AM and I had to give explanations and contrary to popular belief, saying the book has ended is NOT the best excuse!) when I saw that there was no more Aelyx and Cara!!
Just made me more excited to get my hands on the copy of Invaded (You should definitely keep a lookout here, me and my friend Mai will be doing something special for the release! :D)
A personal note:
Ms. Landers, you have done a wonderful thing letting us meet Aelyx and Cara. I hope that everything will work out in Invaded and that we get to read about a lot more new worlds. Just please don’t make Invaded a love triangle! Please please pretty please with sweet strawberries on top!! (You know who I am talking about! Don’t you deny it!)
4.5 / 5 Stars
This is a light, fun, humourous read! The writing is perfect and the characters amazing. Y’all should definitely read this one, at least once. You won’t regret it!
UNTIL MIDNIGHT (Alienated #1.5)
Cara and Aelyx only have one day to spend together before he returns to earth and she travels to Aelyx’s home planet, L’eihr. Homesick and worried about the upcoming year apart, Cara is desperate to make these final hours count. Worst of all, Cara is missing Christmas, stuck on board an alien spaceship. When Aelyx learns that Cara is forgoing her favorite holiday, he tries to recreate Christmas in space by researching traditional earth customs…but a few things get lost in translation.
This short story is a bridge between Alienated and Invaded and tells about the last time Cara and Aleyx are together before leaving for each other’s planets to secure the alliance. This short story shows the kind of love that these two are slowly growing into, without diminishing the fear of what lies ahead.
Because frankly, even though they are sure of each other, the trials that are coming for them, would test any relationship. Their fears, their insecurities are on the top of their minds, yet they would be so sweet to actually make effort to make each other, made them all the more endearing to me!
This short story is available for free for those in US (do you have any idea how lucky you Americans are? Ask an Indian who has to wait weeks for her book to arrive and then skulk around the internet to make sure that she isn’t spoiled for the book!)
The details can be found here on Melissa Lander’s site.
Even without the bonus chapters, this short story (seriously 49 pages short!) only whet my appetite more! I just hope my copy of Invaded arrives soon!