I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
Conclusion: Aliens and YA just don’t mix.
Which outright sucks because I love aliens.
I mean, there are so many ways to go with little green men but YA seems to be used in one way:
1) Aliens are essentially the extraterrestrial version of Edward Cullen. Complete with evil aliens, heroines who are TSTL but in the Bella Swan way not the funny Geena Davis Earth Girls Are Easy type of way, and a catastrophe that’s basically caused by our two characters falling in love.
Only in YA books and films from the 80s.
Of course there are some variants to this formula, but their basically all the same. Though some fail a lot more than others.
As far as these types of books go, Alienated falls in the middle. If I compare it to the rest of the fare out there in the YA world, well, it’s a little less than average.
The good: there are some moments in humor here. For example, I love the dig that’s made against Fifty Shades of Grey. And there were a few other chuckle moments there too. And it had a nice message. Even though it was hammered into my head.
The premises was good too. But the rest of the book…
Oh, dearie me.
That’s all I can say.
I think I’ll start with the more technical errors. The third person just didn’t work here. If this book was in first, I could sort of go for it more, I think. I think it would’ve had a more Meg Cabot-y/fluffy vibe which would’ve helped her case. As it was it just seemed clunky. Especially the transitions between the Cara and Aelyx’s points of view. The switches would come in mid chapter with little warning. Which made the books at time feel a bit disjointed.
It probably didnt’ help that the characters, themselves, felt a little cartoonish. Cara had the alpha female going for her throughout the first half of the book where I just wanted to shake her and at one point give her a chocolate because she was so goal oriented you started wondering if she had an ounce of humanity.
And as for Aelyx, well, total dick. Tough not in the typical YA love interest way, I’ll give him that. But God what an unlikeable character. And I suppose I should like him based on the fact that Landers attempted to develop his character. But the development felt more like a personality transplant than actual character development.
A character who is devoid of any emotions, is probably going to have a hard time falling in love. I mean start with the small stuff when you try to start giving him feeling.
Going from having about as much feelings my Macbook to being in loooove probably isn’t the best way to go.
As for the alien world building that Landers does….
Yeah, not so good.
The Lux sereis by Jennifer L Armentrout is more fully formed and after reading the fourth book that series that’s not saying much. The good news for Alienated though, it’s not the worst alien book in the YA world that I’ve ever read. Though that’s not saying much for it either considering that anything is basically better than Starseed.
The world that we’re given in Alienated is pretty well boring. With aliens you have lots of ways you could go. I mean if you need inspiration just watch a few episodes of Ancient Aliens. Some of the theories they write on that show or so outlandish you should be able to get a plot bunny or two. But instead with alienated the aliens main purpose is to create a) forbidden love, b) a lame conflict that I’m suppose is suppose to compare to discrimination t but really falters on lots of levels, and c) because everyone YA book either has to have a supernatural or dystopian boyfriend.
The alien aspect could’ve been interesting and that’s what I have the most issues with. That there was potential and seemed squandered for what boiled down to be mindless high school hijinks for the most part. And I have nothing against more high school based YA. Some of my favorite paranormals involved heavy high school plots. Meg Cabot, for example, was able to totally intwine both worlds without the books feeling gimmicky. Here though.
I might be reading the sequel though. I know that sounds odd, but I do think with improvement this series could be a borderline guilty pleasure. However, if this was a standalone I’d pass or at least library it.