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Alienated Kindle Edition
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|Length: 352 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 12 - 18|
|Grade Level: 7 - 12|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Two years ago, the planet L'heir made contact with Earth, using superior technology. As a show of good faith, they cured Eileen Sweeney of cancer. (Did they cure anyone else? If not, why her? Not sure if this was explained.) Now, Aelyx is a L'heir exchange student in the Sweeney home.
Of course, there's a romance between Aelyx and Cara Sweeney. But in Midtown, the Sweeneys and the high school teachers seem to be the only ones who don't hate Aelyx and the L'heirs.
Cara's best friend and ex-boyfriend have joined the local chapter of bigots. (We later learn they're "not like the others" in the group, but it's an ORGANISATION OF BIGOTS, and they're in it.) Cara receives threatening messages from "humanists" wanting Aelyx out of town, and preferably off Earth. Bill's kicked out of his favourite pub, Eileen's kicked out of her book group, and Cara has no friend left except for Aelyx.
And a girl named Ashley. A group of people call themselves "L'heir Lovers", seemingly a welcoming committee. But they definitely fetishise L'heirs, and even appropriate L'heir culture: low ponytails, beige clothing, and DARKENING THEIR SKIN. The L'heir Lovers use self-tanner, but in this context it most definitely is cultural appropriation, if not some kind of blackface.
There is definitely bigotry in this novel, but there's also xenophobia. The "Patriots of Earth" hate L'heirs, but they also fear them. This means that instead of attacking Aelyx personally, they pick on the Sweeneys instead. Afraid Aelyx will fight back? It seems to turn the story into one of how allies are treated, instead of how the actual marginalised are treated.
Aelyx and his fellow "ambassadors" do not want to be on Earth. They want Earthlings to hate them, to kick them out back to L'heir. This is where the story becomes very timely, even though it was published almost two years ago and I only read it now.
The parents Sweeney don't make sense. One moment they don't want Cara and Aelyx to have sex in their house, the next they're convincing the teens to escape to L'heir together. It seems like a complete turnaround.
While ALIENATED may be marketed as a fun and relaxing read, its problematic contact makes it not as fluffy as you'd expect. It's disappointingly focused on the treatment of allies rather than the marginalised, and Midtown - kind of like Anytown, USA - is seriously disturbing with its bigotry, xenophobia, cultural appropriation, and teens with rifles.
I sure didn't expect that.
I knew going into this book that it was going to be super cheesy. I was expecting some Roswell-style cheesy teen romance, which I did get, it just felt way too cheesy! Maybe this is just a testament of my age, but something just didn't quite work for me. Some people might like this book because of the cheese, so I'm not judging, it just wasn't for me. Also the romance does fall into the dreaded insta-love, so I think I had some issues with it there too. I think if you are not sold on the romance between this human and alien, this might not be your thing.
So I mentioned that this book made me angry, and one of the reasons is the crux of the conflict in the novel. I think what annoyed me the most was just how realistic it was, because humans are terrible. So there are a group of people that are anti-alien and set out to make Cara's life miserable since she agreed to the alien exchange program. Even her jerky boyfriend is one of them and then her best friend totally abandons her for these people. That part of the novel really annoyed me! So, yes I can totally see this happening. People are still not accepting of other people because of their skin color, could you imagine people being accepting of an alien species? I think not. So props to Landers for pointing out that this huge flaw in humanity would still exist when it comes to " first contact". This pretty much drives the rest of the plot, and as I read it I just got more and more annoyed with it!
I thought the culture of the L'eihr's was really interesting and I wanted to know more about them. The descriptions of their home world piqued my interest, but we didn't really get to see this at all in the book. We see their home base briefly at the end of the novel. I have a feeling we get more of this later on in the series.
This is another one of those books that I just think is "okay." I didn't hate it, but there were just things about it that didn't work for me. I think the romance was a huge issue for me that I just couldn't get past. I think it is just unfortunately another series I will pass on finishing.