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.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first book in a fantastic YA science fiction series. I loved it!
Cara Sweeney is a wonderful character. I really liked her. She is sixteen years old who is kind and determined to succeed. When her family is asked to host an exchange student from the planet L'eihr, she sees it as an opportunity to find out all about these mysterious beings that appeared two years previously. As she gets to know Aelyx, she realises that she has feelings for him. But when danger threatens, Cara is torn between two worlds.
I have mixed feelings with regards to Aelyx. I didn't like him much at first as he comes across as cold and detached but as the story went on, I grew to like him. He resents being sent to Earth to live with a human family and is determined to sabotage the peace between L'eihr and Earth. His resentment leads him to do something rather stupid (and dangerous) in my opinion. But, as he gets to know his host family, and Cara in particular, he realises he may have made a huge mistake.
I heard about this book from a blog I follow and bought a copy of the book in 2014. Unfortunately, due to my rather large reading list, I haven't been able to read it until now.
The story is told through the eyes of both Cara and Aelyx. I started to read this book and was quickly hooked, I didn't put the book down until I had finished it. However, I felt that the L'eihr were a little one dimensional to say they are meant to be a more advanced race. Granted, this could be because they are described in bland shades - they like bland food and wear bland colours. Having said that, I really enjoyed watching Aelyx's character growth as he grappled with the sensory overload of bright colours and general strangeness of culture shock.
Along with Aelyx, the reader is introduced to two other L'eihr students that were also part of the student exchange. Their names are Eron and Syrine. All three of them are best friends/roommates/family. It is difficult to describe their relationship properly as they were all brought up together. I really liked Eron and his sense of humor, but thought Syrine was a bit of a b**ch at times. As for human characters, I liked Eric and Tori, Cara's best friends at first, but as events unfolded, I found myself wondering at their abrupt changes of attitude.
This story takes the reader on a roller coaster of action, danger and romance. There is a lot of emotional triggers in this book: bigotry, xenophobia, bullying and a lot of teen angst. However, this gave the story a more realistic feel. Some of the dialogue came across as a little cheesy at times, but this also lightened the mood through some dark scenes. I must admit that I found myself giggling when Cara and Aelyx first meet, it made me wonder what was going through his mind at the time. I also found myself shedding a few tears in a couple of places. When I reached the end of the book, I felt a little unsatisfied with it as, although it doesn't end on a cliffhanger, it ends with several unresolved issues. I am hoping that Invaded, the next book in the series, will tie up the loose ends and look forward to reading it as soon as I can.
Melissa Landers has written a wonderful YA science fiction novel. I enjoyed her fast paced writing style and the flow was wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more of this author's books in the future.
There are no scenes of an explicit nature. Therefore, I highly recommend this book to teenagers aged 15 and above, and to adults who love to read YA science fiction or romance genres. - Lynn Worton
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