Author: Karen McQuestion
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—believed that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.
Would I recommend? If you like short, fast alien books with some action.
Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆
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I received a free e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review contains my honest opinion about the book, and it is in no way intended to offend the author, the publisher or fans.
I think this book has one of the most stunning covers I have ever seen, so I would like to begin by congratulating the designer for coming up with such a beautiful cover. I do think, however, that the cover is slightly misleading. You look at it and you think this story’s going to be about a young couple, and it’s going to be romantic with a tinge of sci-fi in it. The boy and girl on the cover do have a relationship, but the book itself focuses more on friendship than romance. That isn’t a bad thing at all; I’m just pointing out that the cover may mislead some people.
I’m not a science fiction person. The sci-fi I do enjoy is usually centered around utopian or dystopian societies. Therefore, I’m unaware of how most YA sci-fis work. For me, this book was encompassing too much for it to fit in such a small book. There was so much going on- extraterrestrial life, government plots, action, a little bit of magic, some romance, family relationships. There was so much happening and the hardcover is 272 pages long. I don’t think it was enough.
This book had a lot of potential. The premise was interesting, and there was a lot of action and turns throughout that I wasn’t expecting. It was an eventful, fast-paced story, but it was just all over the place. It didn’t feel like a cohesive story for me.
The story follows a young woman named Emma Garson who’s comatose boyfriend is not expected to survive much longer. In a desperate attempt to save his life, Emma visits the local ‘magician’ who gives her a potion that may save Lucas’s life- but there’s a catch. When Lucas comes to, he’s not the Lucas she knew. With an unidentifiable, otherworldly object Emma founds in the backyard, she comes to the realization that perhaps Lucas’s body is being worn by someone from another world. With suspicious agents asking questions, Emma and Lucas are forced to take these extraordinary matters into their own hands.
The premise of this book was fascinating. I’ve never read an alien book before, so I was interesting in checking this out. It seemed very creepy, slightly dark and gritty. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast the book moved, and it read a lot like a movie, which was good. The shifting perspectives (mainly between Emma and the alien) were interesting because McQuestion often overlapped the timelines; so you saw the same situation from two perspectives. Speaking of, I found the alien perspective very interesting. His innocence provided a refreshing outlook on the world the readers have become so used to. I also loved all the action.
So where was the main problem? Like I said earlier, my main problem lay in this book’s cohesiveness. I did not think this book was well-tied together. It was a little all over the place. Somewhere in between the action, our narrator would start reminiscing about her and Lucas’s relationship which completely broke the flow. I thought that the dilemmas faced by the characters weren’t problems at all because McQuestion didn’t make them struggle, she just handed them a way out, so it started feeling way too convenient and unrealistic. For example, no top-secret facility (hidden from the feds, mind you) can be accessed by two teenagers who walk through the main door. When I would become quizzical about the entire scenario, McQuestion would provide an answer that was little better than “just because I said so.” Seemed a lot like a cop-out.
McQuestion really needs to work on her characterization. I did not like the main character, not even a little bit. It’s safe to say that I hated her from the first couple of chapters. She was selfish, self-absorbed, insensitive, careless, judgmental and naive. From the very beginning, it’s pretty obvious that Lucas’s parents do not want her in their house 24/7, but she refuses to leave Lucas’s side. She constantly disobeys their OWN house rules in their OWN house, and that just made me mad. When Emma talks about her relationship with Lucas, she comes off way too clingy and needy, and even though their relationship wasn’t a toxic one, I found myself slightly repulsed by it. And of course, despite being a terrible person, everybody thought she was a very nice person, with the exception of Lucas’s mom (which is probably why she was the only character I was invested in.) Plus, she makes some pretty horrible decisions throughout.
I enjoyed the alien’s character. I thought his innocent outlook on the Earth was interesting, and I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it had been written entirely from the alien’s point of view. My favorite parts were those from his perspective, and the times he would question Earthen practices.
The secondary characters were just there. I knew nothing about Emma’s parents whatsoever (except that maybe perhaps probably her dad was Middle-eastern), and it seemed like Lucas’s parents were there just so Emma could criticize them and make herself feel good.
The technique was all there, and that’s what hurts me. I hate giving books low ratings if the writing is good, but what can you do? Karen McQuestion can write. She knows when to pause for effect. She knows how to construct effective sentences. The structure was good. The pacing wasn’t bad. But the plot and the characters brought the book down. Shame, because it had a lot of potential.
“People like the feeling they get from alcohol. When you drink enough of it, you get drunk, and it makes the world seem like a better place. Most of the time.”
“Why don’t the people just make the world a better place and then they wouldn’t need to get drunk?”