Alienated: Review Discussion + Giveaway

February 6, 2014 2 star books, 2014, giveaway, Kate, Kim, review discussion, sci fi or futuristic, Wendy 108 ★★

Alienated: Review Discussion + GiveawayAlienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4, 2014
Genres: paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonIndieboundBarnes & NobleGoodreads
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.

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Hi all! Since Kate and Wendy had so much fun with the discussion review for Secret, we’re doing it again with Alienated! Unlike Secret, though, our feelings turned out rather mixed. A surprise to all three of us since almost everyone we know seems to love it. Come along as we discuss!

~ Kim

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Kim: Oh man, I was so sure I was going to love this. I’d been eagerly anticipating this book for months. I’m a huge fan of the “emotionally closed off/stoic partner gently breaks down through love” thing, as well as paranormal romance. Unfortunately, there was a lot that was just…off with Alienated.

Wendy: Baa baa black sheep. I’m gently butting the two of you in our pen.

Kate: Yeah… It wasn’t what I’d expected, based on the blurb.

Kim: To start off with, I really didn’t care for either main character. I actually like that Cara is ambitious and even does some not so nice things in that ambition. I have a soft spot for ambitious girl characters. That’s not what bothered me. I thought she was just kind of obnoxious. I think Landers was going for a sort of folksy, sarcastic humor, but to me it just grated. I didn’t really care for Aelyx, either. He starts off arrogant, distant, and foolish (I won’t be spoilery, but he’s involved in a supremely foolhardy and foolish conspiracy). He then transitions to caring and, ugh, corny rather quickly. I wasn’t feeling it.

Kate: It was hard for me to get past the fact that from the very beginning, Aelyx was at least as bad as all the terrible, violent protesters (although the tone of the protests fluctuated really weirdly from peaceful to stuff that the cops would absolutely have taken action on but didn’t, like destruction of property). But we should like him because he’s cute?

Wendy: I understood exactly what the author was trying to attempt with all of the characters, but for me, the machinations just showed too clearly and I just didn’t find them charming.

I’ve seen a few reviews, in passing, that have mentioned how Alienated is a book about xenophobia. I guess in the most superficial terms it is, but it’s all done in a very breathless bubblegum kind of way–like the movie version would be a romantic comedy starring a pop princess with a bouncy soundtrack and there would be lots of montages. It’s so interesting feel this way about it, because I enjoyed Alison Goodman’s Singing the Dogstar Blues, which also has an alien exchange student. But that was actually, you know, a science fiction novel, not a romance novel with a few sci-fi elements in it.

Kate: YES. It actually felt, to me, like this would have made an ok middle grade book if they took out the swearing. The combination of trite, juvenile prose and silly characterizations with some serious violence and language was jarring, though. Just really, really uneven.

Wendy: I totally agree. The situations and emotions were all pretty simplistic, and while I like a lot of fluffy books, the overall tone, style, and content of the book skewed too young and immature for my taste. I should add that I would have been fine with a sci-fi romance if I’d actually liked the characters or romance, but…well, you know.

Kim: I really don’t understand how on earth Cara could be signed up for this program, in which she would eventually be traveling across the universe, without her (or her parents??!! She’s 17!!) consent. So much of the plot was nonsensical.

Kate: I laughed out loud when I saw that that was happening, and that she’d been requested by the aliens. There’s also absolutely no way that they would use TEENAGERS–and teenagers of opposite sexes, no less!–as their ambassadors. Teenagers are the worst people on this planet, and surely that holds true on their dumb planet as well. since we’re genetically identical (don’t get me started on the “genetically identical” nonsense).

Wendy: Aside from the ridiculousness of that, the liability issue is insane. There’s been some chatter around the blogosphere lately about teenage bloggers not being allowed into BEA without special permission, and I think people forget sometimes that if you’re a teenager, adults are still ultimately responsible for you. It’s all well and good for mature teenagers in day to day situations, but it just takes one slip in a store or one alien impregnating an earth girl (I KID, I KID, THAT IS NOT A SPOILER FOR THIS BOOK) and then all the sudden there’s hell to pay.

Kate: I wish that WAS a spoiler for this book. Hey, why were her parents so into the idea of her going? I was raised by a fireman and a secretary, and we had no money for sure, but there’s no way in hell they’d have signed on to have me go on an experimental trip to space. And Cara’s parents are so weepy about her brother’s being gone all the time. They whine about it constantly.

Kim: My mom wouldn’t let me take the 2 hour trip to NYC when I was 17, so I really can’t fathom a teenager traversing the universe with parents’ blessing.

Wendy: I actually went on a lot of school and educational trips in grade school and high school–what does that say about me? Or my parents?! But space is a whole different story. I wouldn’t want my kid trekking off into space.

Kate: When I was growing up, my dad lived in a different state from me, and I went to summer camp in yet another state, so I traveled a lot, but not TO ANOTHER PLANET. Everyone was super into Cara’s blog, too.

Kim: Yeah they were. I get it being popular due to the fact that she’s one of 3 human ambassadors, but it seems like she was absurdly popular before that. I did appreciate that the comments were horrifically realistic, though.

Kate: It would have been more realistic if she’d had eighteen billion spam comments about freaking Ugg boots.

Wendy: Hah hah hah. But yeah, Cara–sorry, CAH RAH, is super popular and nice and we should love her. She has red hair, you know.

Kate: Cara REALLY likes chocolate, too, huh?

Kim: That’s what hu-mon feeeemales do, Kate. They like chocolate.

Also, the book gets off to a rollicking start with some good ol’ fashioned gender stereotyping humor! A L’eihr elder gives the boy ambassadors a precious stone necklace. He’s “heard that human females cannot resist shiny objects.” *wink wink nudge nudge* Feeeeemaaales. What are you, a Ferengi?

Kate: That was so dumb.

Wendy: Your Ferengi reference is apt, Kim–no one is really developed well, and everyone is really only there as they relate to Cara’s orbit. I wasn’t charmed by the humor.

Kim: What did you think of the characterization of the secondary characters? They all seemed like weird caricatures/stereotypes to me. Tori’s behavior, particularly, was troublesome. There was an almost cartoonish feel. Actually, the whole book had a cartoonish feel now that I think about it. Even the “serious” political elements felt juvenile.

Wendy: Yes, they did. There were a couple of moments towards the end that were better, but most of the plot and characters felt pretty glossed over to me.

Kate: Tori’s characterization leaned racist. It made me really uncomfortable on top of the whitewashed cover (his skin is supposed to be reddish brown) and the “they all looked the same to her” comment about the aliens.

Wendy: The whitewashed cover fills me with rage. Haven’t we had enough conversations and blog posts about this that this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening anymore?

Kim: Seriously. Who do we have to talk to to get this abhorrent practice done with forever?? Obviously, this has nothing to do with the author or our feelings on the book, but it’s awful and should be pointed out. And stopped forever.

Kate: I had a pretty big problem with the female characters in general. They just kind of bummed me out with their lack of agency and not telling adults when they were sexually harassed (TELL AN ADULT) and what-not. Every single female character is defined by a male in her life. And saying there is a female president doesn’t count when you have zero female authority figures in the book. And don’t get me started on Mom’s whining about her book group’s wanting to read 50 Shades of Grey when there is crazy scary shit going on.

Wendy: Did any of the characters have agency, male or female? The aliens were the only ones who seemed to have any sort of plan, and even that was half-assed.

Kate: That plan. Was. So dumb.

Kim: It was really disappointing and disheartening. I was internally cringing the entire time about terribly the girls were portrayed. I just felt awkward and uncomfortable throughout. Not a pleasant reading experience!

Kate: Also, guys, I was pretty excited to see several of our pet peeves! There are two characters who share a lot of scenes named Syrene and Stepha! And the three main dudes are Aelyx (pronounced “A-licks,” which is hilarious), Eric, and Eron. Why not mix up the names, Author Lady? And all the smirking! And the chaffing of hands on arms!

Wendy: Reading over our peevish list made me laugh, because this book hits on so many of the things we talked about being overused. So many things. Aelyx is so hot. Cara has red hair. The comic relief. And on and on and on.

Kim: Is anyone else bothered by “scientific” explanations that make no sense? I was totally fine with just going along with “aliens that look just like humans” for the sake of the story (I mean, I love Doctor Who for crying out loud. I really am fine with it!). Then an explanation is offered up that makes no sense and I groaned. So some humans are descendants of L’eihrs abducted and dropped off on Earth 10,000 years ago, which is why blue eyes exist. Okay, but that does nothing for explaining why L’eihrs and humans are genetically identical since humans have existed for a lot longer than 10,000 years (and also we have a whole evolutionary chain we can trace). I should’ve added “inexplicable, nonsensical ‘scientific’ explanations” to my bookish peeves. It’s probable that most people reading this book really don’t care, but it bothers me tremendously.

black sheep alertWendy: I think I stopped looking for reason in this book pretty early on, so no, this didn’t bother me, hah. Or surprise me. I like that the (sole?) concession to a humanoid alien’s difference to a regular human being is that they don’t have belly buttons, though.

Kate: The schmience in this thing made me laugh. I guess they don’t have belly buttons because they’re cloned? I’d assumed they were still baked in mommy belly ovens, though. I would not be surprised if they explained all this while my eyes were glazed over. I also laughed when Cara explains why she believes in God, and it’s, like, one really dumb and poorly thought out sentence, (“If you believe God’s powerful enough to create the Earth in seven days, why can’t He create other worlds, too?”) and Aelyx goes, “That sounds reasonable.” NO IT DOESN’T. And I hate the mentality that our planet only has one religion.

Kim: But she’s a master debater, Kate! Super good at persuading people! Her points are always good because reasons.

Kate: There’s no way Cara is good at debate. She makes terrible, illogical arguments.

Kim: I will say that sometimes the banter was cute, and I did genuinely enjoy that one hot scene. The one hot scene gives this book its extra half star from me.

Wendy: That is literally the only scene that I really enjoyed and made this book worth reading, imo. And it was strangely well-written and appropriate vs. the rest of the book, full of tension and sexiness and humor. I wish the rest of the book had been written in that way.

Kate: I agree. Really cute.

Kim: If the rest of the book had been like that scene I would have loved it. That was the book I was expecting to read.

Wendy: Yep. I got cute and sexy from that one scene, but I was annoyed throughout pretty much the whole rest of the story. And I know we nitpicked a lot throughout this discussion, but that’s what ends up happening when other things aren’t working for you. It’s too bad.

Kim: Ah, well. It’s unfortunate, but we just didn’t care for this one. I get why people like this, I do. It’s cute and light and there is some serious swoon (mostly in that one scene). This just wasn’t for us.

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Final Thoughts

Kim: 2.5 stars. There were moments that were genuinely cutesy to me, but they couldn’t overcome the juvenile/cartoonish feel and the problematic portrayal of the secondary characters, especially the girls.

Wendy: This is a 2 star book for me. I do think there are a lot of people who will enjoy it, as evidenced by the sea of 4 and 5 star reviews pouring in for it, but I failed to connect with it on almost every level. If I were to guess the audience for this book, I think I’d recommend Alienated to readers who enjoy romance-centered science fiction that’s in the vein of Jennifer Armentrout’s Lux series.

Kate: 2 Stars for me, as well. This is a really bad Disney Channel Original Movie of a book.

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Win a Copy of Alienated!

Well, we had mixed feelings about this book, but we always believe in people making up their minds for themselves. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Does it live up to the hype around the blogosphere? Here’s your chance to find out, thanks to our friends at Hyperion! Then you can come back and tell us whether we were dead wrong.

Just leave a comment below and fill out the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win an Alienated hardcover. Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. Please see the contest form for complete rules. Good luck!

Advance copies were provided by the publisher for this review.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

108 Responses to “Alienated: Review Discussion + Giveaway”

  1. Janis Kay

    Wow! That’s an awesome way to review a book. I heard that it was chick-lit-ish, but it seems like it was highly anticipated. It isn’t near the top of my TBR list, but I figured I’d give it a shot and see how the ride went :)

  2. Hannah Balter

    I’m extremely excited to read this book because I love anything with aliens!

  3. Sarah C.

    Thanks for posting such a detailed review of this one! I was sucked in by the cover, but now I think I’ll save myself the disappointment and just skip it.

  4. Brittany T

    This book has gotten way more mixed reviews than I would have liked it to but I won’t bail on this one. I really love the idea of outer galaxy exchange students. I can’t wait to see the alien world and what they are like. I find descriptions of other species and the world building so fascinating.

  5. Sashana

    I still want to give this book a try. I have such a profound respect for authors who still write YA Paranormal books. It seems like the industry has turned their backs on this genre.

  6. chelsea

    I’m really excited to read this book! Seems pretty interesting and I love the cover!

  7. Cynthia R

    I actually first heard about Alienated from an interview that I saw on youtube. Then I saw the cover and I fell in love with it. Yes, I have a weak spot for gorgeous covers and I can’t help myself! I’ve never heard of a plot like Alienated’s. I’m super excited to read it soon, hopefully!

  8. Peyton

    Is this book the basis for that new CW show Star-Crossed? If not it seems awfully similar. I do want to read it, if anything to see how it compares to the upcoming show.

  9. Danielle B

    I hate when authors try to make adult or upper YA books more “edgy” or “mature” just by putting a handful of swear words in it, when in reality the book is something an 11 year would like more than me.

    I love the black sheep alert :D

  10. Darith L.

    I’ll give it a try, but I’m not expecting much seeing you guys’s reviews. D:

  11. Natasha

    I am excited to read Alienated because I have never read any books about aliens and I have heard great things about this one!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Shayna

    Hey ladies!

    I really enjoyed your discussion here. I was on the fence when I first heard about Alienated. Sadly, it looks like this is not the book for me after reading your reviews. It’s sad to hear about so many factors that weren’t covered or abhorrently covered. Definitely going to leave this one, as I may get too upset and set it on fire. (No, not really. But I might throw it under my bed with all the other junk and never touch it ever.)

  13. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    Oh I loved this discussion SO MUCH ladies! It was definitely more fun than the book. While I didn’t feel as strongly negative about this as you did, now that I’m really thinking of it because of your review, I agree with many of these points. The book definitely was pretty silly.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

    • Wendy Darling

      One of my GoodReads friends referred to this book as “insufferably silly” in her review, and I have to say…I agree with that. It’s totally a taste thing, but I didn’t enjoy this much at all. I feel bad because I know a lot of people loved it, but not everything will work for everybody.

      I saw that your reaction was more mixed to it.

  14. Sesana

    I wouldn’t *buy* a book with a whitewashed cover, but I might *read* it. (Hooray for libraries!) But the gender stereotyping, the lack of female agency, the schmience… Pass. Pass, pass, pass.

    • Kate Bond

      Oh, good call re: reading without giving the publishers money.

      I WILL say that a lot of our blogger friends really liked this book, but Wendy, Kim, and I all had the same reaction while reading without discussing it, so I’m pretty comfortable with my 2 star rating.
      Kate Bond recently posted…The Winner’s Curse: review

  15. Jessica Q

    You may think this is shallow, but ever since I saw the beautiful cover of this book, I knew I had to have it. It is beautiful enough to just put on display. But of course, I love books and have recently become fascinated with fantasy and science fiction, so I think I will really love Alienated. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I pick up books based on the covers ALL the time, so don’t feel bad about that! I think all of us do, those marketing people are there for a reason. Sincerely hope you enjoy this more than we did, we’re definitely in the minority as far as popular opinion goes.

  16. Layla A.

    So, I stumbled onto your website via Goodreads and ah, this is wonderful. Totally validates all of my negative feels about Alienated and brought up some up some new things I hadn’t thought about (yes, the cover is totally whitewashed! that is the worst!). This is what I love about the internet.

    Random thoughts:

    Cara’s terribleness as a debater – ugh, that killed me because the underlying message seemed to be that what makes Cara compelling as a debater is her passion. Not her well-reasoned arguments, because we don’t get to see any of those. And this association (that emotion is evidence) really bothers me because I feel like this is the sort of thing that rears its ugly head politically ALL THE TIME. But also because it follows the sort of gender stereotyping I talked about in my GR review of the book. The debating thing is just another instance of Cara = feelings, not logic, which makes me stabby with rage.

    Also, the horrible science was the worst. And was inconsistent! I can more easily tolerate the former than the latter.

    Finally: what was the one scene you all thought was sexy?

    Anyway, glad I found your blog – your reviews are great. Though I’m still curious about why Alienated is as popular as it seems to be – I wonder what chord it’s touching for other readers.

    • Kim

      Layla! Hiiiiiiiiii!!

      I am so glad you found us! I actually linked to your GR review of this book in a comment down below! I hope you don’t mind.

      You brought up some great points that hadn’t occurred to me. It pleases me much that this was reciprocal. :)

      And you do it again! That is a great point about Cara’s debating “skills.” I admittedly don’t know much about debating but I feel fairly certain that the entire point of it is that passion and emotions do not make valid and/or sound arguments. It is a separate thing to be passionate *about* debating, that’s fine. But offering up her passion as some sort of actual debating strength really makes no sense. And does feed right back into that Cara=girl=emotional point you made earlier. Eurgh.

      The “science” was beyond irritating to me. I would’ve been much happier if they just didn’t even bother trying to explain anything.

      I liked the scene where Aelyx shows Cara whatever the name was for the L’eihr version of making out. And then Cara showed him the human way in kind and they tried to beat each other’s pulse high score. It sounds ridiculous when I put it that way but I liked it when I read it!

      Also, I liked that you point out how Cara’s eyes are referred to as “sapphire” and “cerulean” which is hilarious to me as those are two entirely different colors.

      I am glad you found us and I am glad I found you! :)
      Kim recently posted…The Winner’s Curse: review

      • Layla A.

        I don’t mind at all. Especially with a book as widely loved as Alienated, I’m glad to hear that people think my criticism is on-point.

        Haha, yes! Also, it’s so true that it makes absolutely NO SENSE to choose teenagers as your ambassadors for like, intergalactic harmony. (1) They have all the feels in the world and (2) their prefrontal cortexes aren’t finished developing yet.

        Ohhh yeahhhhhh. I remember that now. Your description actually makes it sound more appealing for me than it was in the book. I think when that happened I was already kind of annoyed with everything.

        Sapphire v. cerulean! It’s just like mad-libbing your character’s description. “Mary Sue’s cerulean eyes flashed in anger as she ran her fingers through her cinnamon-colored hair.”

        Yes! I’ve already grabbed so many recs off your blog! I’m also excited at (I think I read this?) the prospect of you all doing a romance novel blog. YA + romance are my faves.
        Layla A. recently posted…Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

        • Wendy Darling

          Ooo, Layla. Hellooo! Kim linked us to your review and we all thought it was so insightful, and brought up a few things we hadn’t thought of.

          And yes, Kate and I are working on a spinoff adult romance blog. We’re a little behind because we’ve both been busy/sick, but hopefully we’ll be back on track to launch in the early spring. And I see you’ve just reviewed one of my favorite urban fantasies, so now I definitely have to come check out what you thought!

          Thanks for stopping by, we’re pleased to meet another discerning reader.

  17. Gabby

    I don’t really have any expectations for this book, but that doesn’t mean that I think that it’ll be awful or disappointing. I hope that this author had individuality when it came to writing this book, which all the YA book trends. I’m seeing books in which the authors are trying to cash in on a trend, which is disappointing. For example, love interests that are basically a knock-off of Edward Cullen.

    • Kate Bond

      Edward Cullen follows a really classic character type from romance novels, so I think younger people who were introduced to that type of dude through Twilight see similar characters as copies, when Edward is actually an inferior copy himself.

      I agree with you about a lot of the trends, though–especially when it feels like they are shoehorned into a book where they don’t fit.
      Kate Bond recently posted…The Winner’s Curse: review

      • Gabby

        Oh, no, not the idea of an Edward Cullen, but of his appearence and personality. The man who seems beautiful and how his voice sounds like velvet, as I recall him being described.

    • Kim

      The less expectations going into this the better. Perhaps you’ll even end up enjoying it much more than we did! And yeah, I’m sure we can all agree that just trying to cash in on a trend is annoying.*sigh*
      Kim recently posted…The Winner’s Curse: review

  18. Lucy

    I enjoyed your entertaining review discussion and the black sheep alert :) I can tell from your discussion that this book is not for me. Thanks for taking one for the team!

    • Kim

      I’m glad we can affirm you in your choice to not pick it up. I feel very confident in saying if it doesn’t seem like your thing then it is not at all going to be your thing.
      Kim recently posted…The Winner’s Curse: review

  19. Tabitha the Pabkins

    haha…UGG Boot spam!! Ok so I have a copy of this but yeah…it never was on my big radar to read for some reason and now …I’m not interested at all. Maybe when I’m retired and 50. Honestly I had forgotten the plot/description and when that happens you know it didn’t put a stamp on my brain. Totally fun discussion!

    And yeah pet peeves galore would have me throwing the book. Aliens will really not look like humans.
    Tabitha the Pabkins recently posted…Wicked Valentine’s Read-a-Thon Starting Line!

    • Kim

      Hahaha. Retired and 50. Yeah, pretty much that. The pet peeves were annoying but it was the terrible stereotyping that really got my goat. I expect better out of my books, you know??
      Kim recently posted…The Winner’s Curse: review

  20. Amy

    I’ve been looking forward to reading this. I’ve been put off by all the comments but still mildly interested in seeing how I would feel about the book myself.

  21. Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    First off, I adore these discussions! :) Secondly, though, I really am so happy I never read this. I have an ARC but wasn’t sure if it would be for me and, clearly, it isn’t. I’m always disappointed when authors gender stereotype or when their characters lack agency, which seems to be the case here. Although I love a good romance – which seems to the be the only highlight of this book – it can’t get me through the rough patches. Thanks for such an honest, helpful, and entertaining discussion post, ladies!(:
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh my god, this is SO not a Keertana book. If my fluffy brain can’t take it, I know your logical one would probably blow a fuse if you tried to read it! I don’t often say this to other readers, but….back away. Back away quickly.

      And hah, thank you. I think this discussion might’ve ended up being a little longer than strictly necessary, but we were all caught up in the “can you believe it?” type feelings.

    • Kim

      Oh I was so sure I would love it. The same premise but with less of a bubblegum feel and cartoonish characters probably would’ve gotten a high rating from me. Eek. Well, I hope you like it!

      Also: HI FELLOW KIM! I am always excited to meet my sistren. (shut up, spellcheck. it was a word in the middle ages, okay? and i am making it one now.)

  22. Larissa

    This book honestly doesn’t sound like it’s for me. From the frankly demeaning and stereotypical portrayal of woman, laughable explanations of everything and the characters. I’ve been trying to read this book for awhile, but I’ve been stuck on this one page. So I put it on hold, indefinitely. Meaning I probably won’t up reading it at all, that’s the fate most books have received on that shelf.

    Great post, you all touched on some excellent points and brought up interesting things. :)
    Larissa recently posted…Review: Mafia Girl by Deborah Blumenthal

    • Kim

      Thank you, Larissa! :)

      Yeah, I’d say if all of those things are ticks off on your “no” form then skip it. Actually, they should be ticks on everyone’s “no” form. It seems like you already weren’t feeling it so no love lost here. It’s better this way.

    • Wendy Darling

      “Demeaning,” YES. I love our readers, you guys always understand exactly what we’re trying to say. I’m still really annoyed with this book a couple of weeks after finishing it; if I hadn’t committed to this review discussion, I wouldn’t have finished this one either.

  23. Neyra

    Oh wow, neither of you loved the book? Jesus. Okay, I’m staying away from this. I’ve read enough books to piss me off for a lifetime, don’t want to add another one to my list. If I keep this up I’ll never get out of this rut. LOL Great discussion ladies, I have taken enough from all of you to know this wont be for me :)
    Neyra recently posted…Review: Vengeful in Love by Nadia Lee

    • Kim

      Yay!! I’m glad you like them!

      Although, I wouldn’t say *don’t* read this. You never know, you might like it! I am honored by your trust, though. :)

        • Kim

          Okay so yeah. I agree with you. I actually just saw this one review and it pointed out some things that I think were bothering me but were escaping me somehow:

          1) That Cara and Aelyx’s relationship actually ticks off a lot of the abusive relationship checklist. It’s not that I think their relationship was abusive (I mean, Aelyx didn’t intentionally isolate her from her friends, for instance). But nevertheless these are the hallmarks of an abusive relationship and I am very sensitive to such things. Especially in YA.

          2) It’s troublesome to me that Cara, the girl, represents the “emotional” and “passionate” side. Whereas Aelyx, the boy, represents the “logic” and “reasons” side.

          This is the review I’m referencing:

          So, upon reflection of those things, and what we discussed above, I find myself increasingly annoyed and irritated with this book.
          Kim recently posted…Alienated: Review Discussion + Giveaway

    • Kim

      Oh, I’m so glad you liked it!

      I really like fluffy, feel good reads too! The problem here, I think, is that there is an attempt to address very serious issues. It just doesn’t fit with the overall fluffy tone of the book, you know? I also couldn’t get over the problematic portrayal of the girls and, like Kate said, somewhat racist portrayal of the best friend. Blah. Sad times.

      The cover gets eternal side eye from me.

      Still glad you enjoyed, though!

  24. Kara @ Great Imaginations

    I’m reading this right now, and I agree with a lot of what you ladies are saying. That said, I also think your chances of connecting with this book depends on what kind of sense of humor you have. I think parts of it are laugh-out-loud funny and I’m totally okay with comic relief. That said, I totally am finding parts of it very hard to believe. Your points about this never being done with teenage ambassadors is a really big one to me. It’s just utterly ridiculous. Also, the science behind the Leihr’s and the 10,000 year thing I also found stupid. I wish that had been left out because it totally does not get to replace evolution and earth’s scientific findings. I think this will probably end up being a 3 star book for me. I am enjoying parts of it, but it’s very far from a perfect book for me. It provided entertainment value and that’s about all I can see.

    And what about the L’osers burned into Cara’s front lawn?? There were cops right there and no one got arrested for that? S’tupppiiidd.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

    • Wendy Darling

      I think you’re totally right about the humor, Kara. It’s such a subjective thing, and the humor is such a big part of this book that how readers respond to it probably depends on that a great deal. Great point.

      “S’tupppiiidd” is my FAVORITE thing you’ve ever said. :D :D :D

    • Kim

      Yeah, I agree with you on the humor point. For me it was just ultra corny and, at times, grating.

      I thought the vast majority of it was hard to believe. The science bothered me soooooo much. So much. The 10,000 year thing was so dumb. Just leave it out of there. Offering that “explanation” up was, to me, worse than not offering one. Are you a secret creationist, Melissa Landers!? I kid, but come on.

      There were definitely entertaining parts but I couldn’t get over the problematic aspects. Sad times.

      • Kate Bond

        Yeah, I agree. The humor bothered me because it was kind of juvenile (I don’t mean that as an insult–I think juvenile humor can be AWESOME), and combined with the serious subject matter it was…confusing? I guess? I don’t know. It was just all very weird tonally.
        Kate Bond recently posted…Dress the Part: Uninvited (plus giveaway!)

        • Kim

          Yeah, I think it was really the combination of the serious subject matter + juvenile tone that made things “off” for me overall. It was just weird.

  25. Kim

    Oh it set mine right on edge, Mary. Girls just obviously love shiny things and chocolate, but makeup and high heels are bad? This book had weird, confusing things to say about femininity. I just didn’t understand.

  26. KatC

    This was such an interesting way of reviewing something ! It’s too bad this book dissapointed, it sounds kind of campy based on the descriptions and cover.

    I really like that image of the black sheep, I may have to borrow it next time I find myself going against the tide.

    • Wendy Darling

      “Campy” is another really good word for this, Kat. It’s interesting to see the reactions to this book for sure, I’d recommend reading some sample chapters to see if you like the writing style. I think you can tell pretty quickly whether it’s the book for you.

      And yes, feel free to borrow the black sheep! Just so long as you link back to us with credit, of course. :) You might see different versions of that sheep in the future, hah. I had fun playing around with it.

    • Kim

      Yeah, it is pretty campy. Guess that’s not my thing, whoops!

      Wendy did a wonderful job with our little black sheep friend. I am fond of him. That’s probably not the last we will see of him either! ;)

      • Wendy Darling

        Oh god, this is probably true. The sheep will make himself known before long, no doubt.

        Ooo, should I make a white sheep, too? In those cases where we LOVE something that no one else seems to.

        • Kim

          The Infamous Midnight Garden Sheep of DOOM!!!!!!!

          Yes, go for it! I think it’s much more interesting when you like something that everyone else seems to dislike. It’d be interesting, I think. We’ll see.

  27. Kate @ Ex Libris

    I did enjoy this book the way I enjoy all guilty pleasure books – with a grain of salt. (a bag of it.) I went back and forth a lot. I like some things and I didn’t like others. I did chuckle when I saw people trying to make it into an issue book about prejudice. Overall I liked it, but I can’t say it challenged me. Good point about it making a good MG book.
    Kate @ Ex Libris recently posted…Bright Before Sunrise By Tiffany Schmidt

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, bag of salt. :P I totally get it, sometimes all you want from a book is a fun, lighthearted read. Sometimes I wonder if I went back into books I disliked in a different mood, if I’d like them more.

      Goodness, that was a terrible sentence, but I’m too tired to edit it.

    • Kim

      This might’ve been a victim of my high expectations, I’ll admit. I was just dying to read this one for a lonnng time.

      Yeah, this is not an issue book. And I thought the combination of its juvenile tone along with the serious subject matter it attempts to address just strongly contributed to my “meh” feelings.

  28. Jenni

    Wow it seems that there is so much in this one that didn’t work for you guys. I am so over whitewashed covers, why is this still happening?? It’s interesting that Kate mentions that it could make on OK middle grade novel, move some things around and it might work, that says a lot about the tone of the book to me. I think I will be staying away from this one, the reviews seem to be rather middling all around from what I have seen, though I admittedly haven’t read too many of them.
    Jenni recently posted…Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

    • Kim

      Yeah, I think the MG observation was especially astute. It really does convey the tone and feel of the book. I felt just sort of cringe-y and uncomfortable throughout reading and this might have been why. That it just read so much younger than YA. *sigh* Oh well!

    • Kim


      Forever raging.

    • Wendy Darling

      SO much that didn’t work for us, Jenni. It skews very juvenile (and not in a charming, light way) and knowing your taste I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up in the naughty sheep pen with us, too. I think the majority of reactions have been very positive overall, actually, which is partly why we all thought we’d like this so much.

      And UGH, I know. How hard is it to adjust the color settings for the boy’s skin? You know these things HAVE to be discussed ahead of time, I cannot believe any of this still gets by. It needs to stop.

  29. Natalie Crown

    I wasn’t planning on reading this one anyway, as it just doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.

    But I still really enjoyed reading this discussion! Great points made and it was funny to boot.
    Natalie Crown recently posted…Cinder – 5/5

    • Kim

      Haha, I ‘m glad we could amuse, Natalie. At least there is that, even though this didn’t meet our expectations.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, thanks Natalie! It’s hard to figure out what a book is like just from a blurb, so hopefully the discussion gives you a bit of a feel for the book. I’m glad you enjoyed it, we always like doing stuff together.

    • Kim

      It sounds like you’ll enjoy this one a lot more than we did, Ann! The one hot scene is really nice. Though it did make me sad for the book I *wish* this had been.

    • Wendy Darling

      That scene really was hot. I kept hearing about how swoony some of the scenes were and I didn’t believe it, but that one got me.

    • Kim

      Oh it set mine right on edge, Mary. Girls obviously love shiny things and chocolate. But makeup and high heels are bad? This book had weird, confusing things to say about femininity. I just didn’t understand.

    • Wendy Darling

      The oversimplified way that girls were portrayed irritated me so much. SO much. I can’t even tell you in a coherent manner.