9.5.15

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion


From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

Goodreads 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.


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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, what a beautiful cover. I absolutely adore it. The colours and the stars really put you in the right mood to read this novel. I am a sucker for alien stories. I have always been a huge fan of X-Files, so this book sounded like it should something I loved. And thankfully it was. Probably because it ended up being so much more than just an alien story. Honestly, there was something for everyone in this novel: romance, mystery, adventure, and best of all aliens.

Plot
I really liked the plot and the structure of it. I liked that it was introduced through Mack's point of view (and I also enjoyed that Mack did not die because that would have crushed my soul). I think the decision to have it narrated from Emma's point of view, with a couple chapters here and there from Scout/Lucas made the story flow properly. 

There were some obvious homages to other pieces of work (X-Files being the biggest one) but it made the story seem more plausible. It made it teeter on the edge between contemporary fiction and fantasy fiction, which is exactly where a story about alien contact should be. 

The first couple chapters were slow moving, but they were still necessary in the story to get the ball rolling. But once the action picked up, it didn't stop. The action sequences didn't seem forced or too poorly written, but I would have enjoyed it if they were longer and maybe had a bit more detail to them.

Characters
I will start with Scout whom I really enjoyed as a character. It is always hard to write an alien life form because we don't know what they are like and they tend to get stuck into stereotypes and tropes. In the beginning half of the novel, I didn't like Scout. I found him to be selfish and really uncooperative with Emma, who seemed to genuinely trying to help ... well help Lucas anyway. But I think his turning point was the "road trip" and the questioning period that Emma and he shared along the way. This expanded his character to have a broader range of emotions and knowledge, which made him more well-rounded as a person (alien?). I would love to see a spin-off/epilogue about how he is fairing back at his home planet.

Emma, our protagonist, was extremely selfish at times. I do believe she genuinely loved Lucas, but I still thought it was awkward that one of the main plot points was that she and Lucas were disappointed because he was sterile and they couldn't have kids together. I mean, they were only 17/18. And they could have adopted. There was no reason for her to not continue with the emails she was sending him. 

I wish there had been more of Eric in the novel. He was the only character I found myself really drawn to and interested in. For being 14, he had a good plan of action and knew how to make it work. He was creative and fast-thinking, something that no other character in the novel was (maybe with the exception of Mrs. Kokesh who was all kinds of badass). I am just really glad that it wasn't one of those novels where the one brother is dying so the girl hooks up with the other one. I probably would have torn my eyes out.

Honestly, Mrs. Kokesh was super awesome. I loved that she just happened to have a gun laying around to give to Emma and didn't hesitate to try to warn the kids about the federal agents. She even made Star Wars references. I hope I am like Mrs. Kokesh when I am older.

I would have liked more of an epilogue to get to know Lucas a bit more because we don't see much (any, really) of him as a character and I would have loved to have been able to get to know the Lucas that Emma loves so much that she risks it all for.

Overall: 4/5 stars. I loved this book and I highly recommend you pick up a copy when it comes out on May 19th!

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