“Your long, shiny hair, healthy skin, and bright eyes show that you’re well-nourished.”
“Uh, thank you?”
“You’re clearly intelligent.” Then he felt the need to add, “For a human.”
“But Eric was probably most attracted to your waist-to-hip ratio.” For a split second, Aelyx resembled a human boy as he leaned back and peered at her caboose. “Hips of that width are likely to pass live offspring without complications.”
Oh, please don't stop. I'm swooning already.
This book is not sci-fi. It is mindless, brainless, no-thinking-required fluff of the Earth Girls are Easy type. It is the sort of book that gives YA fiction a bad name, because it is so completely frilly in nature. There is no depth to this. There is zero creativity. There is nothing within this book that garners it to be anything other than brain floss.
The main character keeps a blog. She blogs about her experience hosting an alien. She's concerned about how many hits she gets. She's worried about her number of followers.
The only good thing about this book is the fact that it has no insta-love. Everything else was just terrible. This book is so insufferably silly. It's a shit ton of stupid high school relationship drama and not much else.
The teenagers in this book are caricatures. This book is so utterly juvenile, and it shows in the characterization of its teenaged characters---which is to say, they have no character at all beyond that of lacrosse jock, slutty queen bee, fiery backstabbing best friend, and dumb freshmen girls with stars in their eyes. Everyone is a stereotype, down to the lecherous, overly amorous French boy.
This book is a joke. I can't imagine it was written in earnest, because it was completely, utterly laughable in every way. This isn't fucking sci-fi. A Frenchman would be more foreign, more alien than anything that the mockery of what passes for "aliens" within this book.
u>THE ALIEN WORLD: JUST LIKE OURS!!!!!!: Fuck creativity, really. Why be creative when you can just---by pure coincidence, such luck, really, have the aliens' world and food be pretty much the same as ours! Oh, wait. They're different. They have no belly buttons. The plot is simplistic, it doesn't really compel the reader at all, there's supposed to be some sort of "I WILL SAVE OUR SUPERIOR ALIEN RACE" shit, but it just got lost somewhere in the telling.
This book is fucking simplistic, and it is an insult to the readers' intelligence.
Am I asking so much in wanting the aliens to be a little more...imaginative? Is the teenage mind unable to process the fact that aliens might NOT look like us? That their biological system and etc. as well as their planet can be anything other than what humans define as "habitable?" The planet of L'eihr is just like fucking Earth.
It is monochromatic. All the animals are furless, the temperature is maintained at a calm, nice 70 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 21 degrees Celsius to the rest of the world). Because why should aliens have different standards of comfort than our own, eh? Because surely, human standards for everything translates universally. Fuck that shit.
They eat meat. They have similar creatures that they use for meat. Aelyx (the alien boy)'s favorite meal is PRETTY MUCH THE FUCKING SAME AS A MEAL ON EARTH.
...his favorite meal—tender, juicy meat braised with root vegetables.
Choose a word for a thing on earth. Replace that word with an "alien" sounding one. BOOM. You've got the language of the L'eihr.
“Usually t’ahinni. It’s a basic grain and protein dish made with larun, my favorite flatbread.” Aelyx sighed, remembering the nutty, slightly smoky flavor of warm flatbread, freshly baked and crisp from the oven. He could almost taste it.
T'ahinni, eh?! Well, it's a good thing that you clarified that word to us, because otherwise I would mistake it for tahini.
How fucking convenient. Why bother with the concepts of aliens at all when you can have a foreign exchange student from a persecuted country of which the US isn't a fan---say, the Middle East and have him be similarly shunned by his classmates and peers. Why fucking bother with the concept of aliens if you're to inject no fucking creativity into it whatsoever?
Alien DNA?! JUST LIKE US! REALLY?! WHY FUCKING BOTHER?
“But if you don’t count evolution, L’eihrs and humans are practically identical. Our DNA is almost the same. What’re the odds that two species light-years apart would be so similar?”
“The odds are infinitesimal,” he said with a grin.
Well isn't that just fucking convenient. Infinitesimal, you day? I call that deus ex fucking machina.
The Aliens' Appearance: Why be creative with aliens when you can just make them JUST LIKE HUMANS. Why fucking bother? In a nutshell, the L'eihrs are Vulcans. You know those creatures from Star Trek? The ones who have no sense of humor, who have no emotions, who dress in dull, brown colors, who think themselves superior to humans? Whose intelligence supercedes that of humans?
Boom. You've got the L'eihr.
All of them, men and women alike, wore their shoulder-length light brown hair tied neatly behind the neck. It blended perfectly with their russet skin, and when combined with the tan uniforms, they were a monochromatic solid wall of brown. Like walking paper bags.
Take humanoids. Give them "russet" skin colors, and then for some fucking reason, make them beige.
...at least his complexion had transformed from green to beige.
and then have his skin be bronze.
The fitted ivory shirt he’d chosen highlighted his bronze skin while clinging to the contours of his chest
Same guy. Different skin tones every time. It seems like this book can't make up its mind what color the aliens in this book are. Oddly-colored alien eyes, "silver". Why the fuck do they always have fucking silver eyes?
It was his eyes that’d left her stunned—not brown like the rest of him, but the most exquisite shade of silvery gray. Holy crap, did they selectively breed for looks, too? That just wasn’t natural.
How about purple? How about orange? How about multi-colored swirlings of every imaginable colors? Why always fucking silver, man?). Give them an alien world that's exactly the fucking same as Earth in every way, only have it be, you know, just a little different. Have it be monochromatic and shit. AND NATURALLY THE ALIENS HAVE TO BE SUPER HOT. To be fair, Spock played by Zachary Quinto in Star Trek is pretty hot, but do they really all have to be tremendously handsome and beautiful?
Where's the creativity?
Oh, want to insult the aliens? They're from the planet L'eihr, right?! Let's just put L' in front of normal swear words because it would be so insulting to them. L'assholes.
NEWS FLASH: ALIENS MAKE CONTACT WITH EARTH. SUBHEADLINE: MOM IS MAKING POT ROAST FOR DINNER: The aliens' arrival was announced so matter-of-fact in the book that it made no impact whatsoever. We don't know what year it is, but it's vague enough to be a present-day setting. 2 years ago aliens landed on Earth, and...that it. They shared some cancer-curing technology with Earth and, um.
That's IT?! Could you PLEASE be any less dramatic?. The proclamation of aliens landing on Earth was made with all the impact of a girl telling us what she had for dinner last night. It was anticlimactic, it was simple, it was thoughtless. All of a sudden, we have riots on earth and fanatical societies called HALO who want to eradicat the aliens' presence on Earth and send them back where they came from. There is no background, and it doesn't endear me any more to the main character, a thoughtless, mindless teenager with nary a thought to anyone but herself and her blog and how many followers she has.
Vulcans? Not Quite: The premise of an unemotional Vulcan-like race...fails. Supposedly the aliens suppress their emotions. Aelyx? Not so much. Well, his emotions are just OVERWHELMED ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE like a fucking 17 year old boy when confronted with his first love. Try again. If you're going to have unemotional aliens, follow through, for fuck's sakes.
Don't have him fall in love so fucking quickly. Don't have him wear his heart on his sleeve whenever his girl's around.
Aliens Slut-Shame Too! Really, for such a progressive society, there's a shit ton of gender stereotype going on in Aelyx's head. He frowns upon a married couple for showing affection, looking like they're "copulating," he passes judgment on women's appearance, how provocatively they dress.
She’d cut her long hair last week and now wore it cropped at an angle that followed her jawline. A revealing skirt had replaced knee-length gym shorts, and she’d rimmed her eyes in jet-black goo, no doubt in an attempt to attract a mate.
Female Friendship? Fuck that: The majority of the females in the book are portrayed as blank, empty-headed girls whose main purpose in life is to attract a handsome boyfriend.
Of course Brandi would want to move in on Eric—he’d become popular practically overnight after joining the lacrosse team, and the little social climber hadn’t made it to the top of the ladder yet.
Cara dug a fingernail into her palm and smiled sweetly. “Go for it. I’m sure he’s looking for an easy rebound.”
They are all stupid, they are all gullible. They are all mindless fools who fall for just about any bullshit Cara the Brilliant throws at them.
“Oh, no!” Cara pushed Aelyx farther back and shielded him with her body. “Don’t you know the chemicals in hair dye are toxic to L’eihrs?”
“What? I never heard that.” The fan girl bit her bottom lip and wrinkled her forehead.
Shaking her head, the girl backed away and rejoined her friends. “I’m so sorry!”
Thank God for gullible freshmen.
The teenagers in this book are complete caricatures of every single high school stereotype there is out there. There is nothing to the characters in this book.
Cara: Cara is supposed to be brilliant. Perfect.
Winning. Cara Sweeney had made it her business, and business was good. Honor Society president? Check. Young Leader Award? Check. State debate champion two years running? Double check. And when the title of valedictorian had eluded her, she’d found a way to snag that, too.
Only she's not. Not for a single second in the book does Cara demonstrate any amount of maturity and thinking that I would have expected from a so-called valedictorian, a brilliant, driven girl. She doesn't focus in class. She barely studies. For someone who values going to Dartmouth so much, her education scarcely deserves a mention in the book, and her activities within Debate Club are just laughable because she's got her mind firmly stuffed up Aelyx's bronzed chest.
The Romance: For a book that tries to be progressive when dealing with differences in others, this book follows a completely straight line of gender steoretyping. The main character is a girl who is headstrong, fiery, prone to outbursts. The male, Aelyx, is rational, cold. It just follows a line of gendered thinking that is altogether traditional and offers no depth whatsoever.
The High School DRAMA: There's a lot of drama in the book about the existence of Aelyx and the persecution of aliens...that's fine, the bigger problem is that the book itself is overwhelmed by a tremendous amount of teenaged drama. Who's breaking up with whom? Who wants to get into whose pants? Heartbreak, backstabbing, high school boring drama bullshit. If I wanted to read that, I'd reach for a contemporary. It just makes this book incredibly silly. The majority of the book is peppered with teenaged hysterics; I know that it's an YA book, but there is such an overexaggeration of drama that I could hardly prevent myself from rolling my eyes.
“This explains your little transformation.” Cara swept her hand, indicating Tori’s haircut and makeup, including Gritty in Pink. How many times had Tori kissed Eric with that stolen gloss on her lips? “And how you got over Jared so fast. Who are you?”
“This,” Tori said, tugging at her clothes, “had nothing to do with E.”
“Oh, gag! You’re calling him E now?”
“Maybe I just wanted someone to look at me the way Aelyx looks at you!”
Some books can stand the test of time. This isn't one of them. I can't see myself reading this book 50 years down the road to my grandchild...well, maybe I can, but we'd both be laughing hysterically at the histrionics and utter hilarity within this book.
And I'd probably have to explain why the main character is so concerned with getting hits and followers for her blog.
This book is just so tremendously silly.