After seeing that this book is part of the contemporary-alien genre, I was excited. I love reading genres I’m not very familiar with; it means I can enjoy the book on a different level, without having a lot to compare it to!
‘From A Distant Star’ was definitely a great book, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the genre, or is interested in a slightly strange road trip story.
So, the basic plot for most alien books is an alien comes to Earth and the first person they come into contact with has to help them back to their home planet. No surprise, this was the plot. Like ‘Fire In The Woods‘, this book was told from a first person perspective, from Emma, the girl who discovers the alien.
What I liked about the alien was that the science-fiction meant it could take a human body, kind of like ‘The Host’, rather than being a wrinkly green creature. The alien, Scout, took the body of Emma’s boyfriend Lucas, who was dying from cancer before Scout arrived, so Emma had a serious motive for helping Scout.
Pacing and Cliches
There was a very slow build to this book. Scout/Lucas had to deal with illness, and getting better over a period of time, before they could go on the adventure. I’d say about 40% was devoted to Emma explaining Lucas, their relationship and his family. Something different about ‘From A Distant Star’ was how prominent the parents were to the story. They were like normal parents, anxious and annoyed that the teenagers were trying to escape. It was nice that, for once in YA, the parents played a big part in the story.
The next biggest plot point was the road trip to return Scout. However, I thought this section was fairly repetitive. The couple got into trouble, got help from someone and continued to run away from the authorities. I did like the little twists and connections between the beginning and the journey, but everything just seemed a little…convenient.
I loved the characterisation of Scout, as he tried to understand our planet and Emma’s feelings. It was nice how Scout and Emma both changed each other’s lives in some way or another, and that happy endings were inevitable to both.
I’d say the writing style lent itself to narrative, and I really thought I understood Emma and the strength of her feelings. Although others would write Emma and Lucas’s relationship off as a teen fling phase, I loved her dedication and devoted.
You know what else was great about ‘From A Distant Star’? The girl didn’t fall in love with the alien boy. This has got to be the biggest cliche of the genre, so I was pleased this book didn’t follow through with the interspecies romance. There wasn’t even a hint of sexual tension between them, because Emma was so in love with Lucas, and Scout had someone how loved him back home.
Overall, I’d give ‘From A Distance Star’ 3.5 stars. It was awesomely different and fun to read, though the latter half was definitely more repetitive than the first. In some ways, the journey was predictable, but I liked the ending and felt very satisfied. Totally worth a read!