Alienated is the story of Cara, a high school senior who is chosen to play host to an alien boy (who’s hot!) in the first ever Earth-L’eihr student exchange. Excited by the prospect of material that every budding journalist would die for (plus free college tuition) she readily agrees to the exchange. When her home town gets more and more swept up in anti-L’eihr sentiment she and Aleyx grow closer, but Aleyx is hiding secrets of his own...
I thought the writing was superb in this book, so imagine my surprise when I read the author’s notes at the back and discovered that this was her NaNoWriMo project! For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November. The idea is to get at least 50,000 words of your novel down over the course of the month and you get loads of community support from people all over the world who are doing the same thing.
Melissa Landers wrote this whole book as her NaNo project. Like, she wrote a book in a month.
I mean, she probably had the outline written beforehand, and NaNo is just about getting words on paper so I’m sure there was plenty of editing afterwards, but still! I can’t believe she bashed this out in a month! So fab to hear a NaNo success story.
The book is written from both Cara’s and Aleyx’s POV, and the author does a good job of making their voices sound really different. When we are first introduced to her, we’re told that she’s really competitive and an overachiever, so I wondered how much I’d like Cara, but actually she’s not as highly strung as you think she’s going to be and I liked her a lot. Aleyx is this emotionally-barren, Sheldon-Cooper-esque guy and I liked watching him gradually let his guard down and become more emotionally attached.
I also really liked reading the romance between Aelyx and Cara. It was really skillfully done: considering they fall in love over the course of just one book it didn't feel rushed or instalovey. It was very gradual and sweet.
The plot basically charts the weeks and months after Aleyx arrives on Earth. There are some slightly infodumpy scenes where Aleyx tells Cara all about life on L’eihr, but they weren’t too badly done and the L’eihr worldbuilding was pretty cool. And it totally set up the storyline for the next book!
So yes. Alienated is a really great book. Read it.