Monday, October 24, 2016

Teen review: Sci fi and romance both!

by Melissa Landers
344 pages
Science Fiction, part of a series
Middle School reading level and above

Reviewed by The Sacred Basil, grade 9

Cara Sweeny has got everything under control: She's captain of the debate team, valedictorian of her high school, and a star student with her eyes set on a great career in journalism. What could possibly happen? Well, Cara has gotten news that she has been chosen to house a L’eihr, a transfer student from a planet similar to Earth. She was chosen as one of three teenagers worldwide. Not much is known about these L’eihr people since they made made contact with Earth two years before, except that they look almost like humans, they have telepathic abilities, and they have extremely advanced technology that humans have not yet created (like a cure for cancer). Cara is excited about this rare opportunity, because she can start her journalism career by blogging about this alien. Aelyx, the young L’eihr, is, however, nothing like what Cara expected. From the different food choices to the physical contact, how can they get along? Slowly Aelyx and Cara start to care for each other and gradually start to form a friendship until they go outside. They are hit by hostility, xenophobia, and violence from anti-alien groups. Cara and Aelyx try to fight, not only for themselves but for the fate of humanity and L’eihr.

This is the first book in a triology. I thought this book was surprising. When you look at the cover you just think it’s a classic YA novel about two people falling in love, but as you start reading it, it's not. This book has many surprises and turns, and will make your heart start racing. I would totally recommend this for all romance and/or science fiction lovers out there. This book gets a rating from me of 4 out of 5.

Editor's note: I read this book back in June 2015 and apparently never reviewed it here! So I went to Goodreads to recall my impressions. I hope The Sacred Basil doesn't mind my sharing's a picture of some basil, although I don't know if our teen reviewer meant that kind of basil or Basil of Baker Street, or Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! Anyway...

I'm a sci fi geek, and I never can resist an aliens-come-to-earth-and-initiate-relations story, but this was thinly veiled teen romance with sci fi trappings. Here's my question: Why are the aliens always bipedal and devastatingly attractive in these books? One can only posit a common ancestor, given all the similarities, and Landers (the L'eihr) goes there for an explanation, which is good because we need LOGIC in our sci fi.

But despite all the romance (or maybe you won't feel that way if you LIKE romance), this story is a nice metaphor--showing the lunatic fringe of humankind's reaction (not kind at all) to people not like them. With all the gay-bashing and atheist-hating that goes on in our world, perpetuated by a minority that gets all the publicity, the way the L'eihr are treated in this story is right on target. And Cara's urging of the silent majority to finally stand up and do something, rather than let the mean people get away with sabotaging the alliance and therefore the Earth, is something that needs to be said. Loudly and frequently. So kudos for the concepts, Melissa Landers, and I forgive you for the meet-cute romance.

Burbank Public Library owns the second book in the series, Invaded, but I appear to have forgotten to order the third book, so I will do that now!

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