This was definitely an interesting read! It's been on my TBR since Jacque met the author and sent me this nifty signed mini poster. (Pictured at the end.) I hung this up on the side of the bookshelf, yet I hadn't read the book. #Fail. Thank goodness for the BookNerds who gave me the shove I needed.
Cara Sweeney is the valedictorian of her high school class and has dreams of going to a great college. She is chosen to take part in an interplanetary exchange program with students from the planet L'eihr. She will host one of their best students and then will spend time with the student on L'eihr. At the end, she will receive great scholarship for college. This should all be good, except there is not a lot of L'eihr love in Cara's town. Once her student, Aelyx, arrives, Cara finds herself shunned by schoolmates, fellow townspeople, and even her best friends. Her family is as well. Meanwhile, Aelyx and the other two L'eihr students don't believe in the exchange and plan to sabotage it.
I immediately liked Cara. She had some great lines that I was highlighting while reading. (One was something about someone going "banana sandwich" on her -- lol! What?!) Aelyx was a harder character to like because I knew his plans throughout the story. There were some intensely passionate scenes between him and Cara. *fans self* (PG passionate. Well, PG-13.) The pacing of this book was interesting. It was kind of interesting to start with, then around 57% I was not wanting to put it down. A little after that, I was still invested but only in a "Hmm, I'm curious to see how this ends up," kind of way. I was at 75% for a little bit before I made it to the finish.
Some of the secondary characters threw surprises in that kept it interesting: Eric, Tori, Ashley. I also really loved Cara's parents. I'm sure if I was a teenager I would think they were gross, too, like Cara does. But it's just really sweet for her dad to realize that he almost lost her mom and so to now really cherish her and show love all the time.
Luckily, I snagged the next book, Invaded, at ALA Midwinter so I'm all set to continue the Cara-Aelyx/human-L'eihr saga.
Cara Sweeney is smart, popular, has a boyfriend....everything a typical teenager would hope for. She is approached by her principal to host an exchange student from L'eihr. Where is that you ask? It is on another planet! Three Aliens from an advanced society are scheduled to arrive on Earth to foster a relationship with the humans. Both species have something to gain from the arrangement, but everyone is skeptical and leery. Cara's Mom was cured of cancer thanks to the L'eihrs and her family could use the money to pay for college, so she agrees to host one of the exchange students.
Aelyx is exceptionally good looking, strong, and intelligent, but lacks emotion and tact. He comes off as arrogant at first and puts off a lot of the student body. As tensions build, so does the violence. Cara and Aelyx develop a more personal relationship and you can slowly see them changing. They begin to realize they aren't that different after all and an alliance may be in their best interest, but is it too late?
This book is a fast read with plenty of action and romance to keep the pages turning. I couldn't relate to the way Aelyx handled certain situations, but I understand he was doing what he thought was best. Cara has a very loving and supportive family, but her "friends" left much to be desired. When things began to heat up, they fled faster than anyone. They did redeem themselves slightly in the end, but I don't think I would ever truly be able to trust them again.
The ending left me hopeful and anxious to read the next book. Fortunately, I already have a copy of Invaded (Thanks to Flo) and should be able to get to in within the next couple of months.
I had a chance to meet Melissa at a signing in Columbus and thought she was extremely sweet. There are some great quotes in this book as Flo mentioned, but it was actually Aelyx who made me laugh out loud. He spent a considerable amount of time preparing for his visit, but he gets some figures of speech mixed up and makes some very blunt remarks in key situations that I found to be hilarious.