Starseed by Liz Gruder0
Kaila Guidry has always known she is different. When she meets Jordyn Stryker one day at school, she finds out just how different.
Jordyn was born and raised far from Earth, a starseed, one of six new students sent to Louisiana's Bush High to learn human ways. But Jordyn did not count on meeting a girl like Kaila.
When Kaila is pushed to her limit by high school bullying and cruelty, Jordyn awakens her to a new reality—and to love. But to prove herself, Kaila must look the other way as the real purposes of the starseed unfold.
As the horrific plan behind the starseed visit to Earth moves inexorably forward, Kaila and Jordan, caught in an impossible love, must determine where their true loyalties lie.
I was initially unsure of what to think about this story. It's hard to say that I was looking at the plot subjectively because the subject of aliens has always been an interesting topic. About four days before I read this story, I had actually watched a documentary about the same subject. Well, alien abductions and hybrids and so on. So to say that I was on an alien overload would probably be an understatement. But despite my preconceived notions of where the story was going and my opinion of the topic, I actually really liked the story. It caught me off guard and won me over after the first chapter.
Starseed by Liz Gruder is really about aliens. It tells the story of Kaila who just wants to be normal and wants to fit in. She wants to escape the home she was raised in and all the stupid rules that seem to have no purpose. Once she breaks her family's biggest rule to never take off her hat, they are forced to give into her but only if she always wears a wig lined with this special plastic. A feeling of triumph washes over her until she finds herself being pulled into something she doesn't know anything about. Aliens? Starseeds? Missions? Mind control? Powers? She can't help but be confused.
Kalia is a fun character to read about. She has a lot of similar reactions to situations that I know I would have and so would most teenagers put in her place. It's clear from the beginning that she just wants to be normal even if she is clearly so far from normal that it's not even worth trying. She is rash when she is experiencing high levels of emotion, forgetting consequences and the problems that she faces. Her innocence about the world around her is endearing, which makes me want to hide her away from the danger she so obviously is heading towards. Her passion is inspiring. Her loyalty towards those she cares about plays a huge part in the story. She does things with the intent of helping those around her. It isn't surprising when she gives into the idea of being completely selfish. She abandons her normal life and becomes the person that Jordyn and his friends expect her to be. But is that fair to the people who get hurt in the process? It's her loyalty and passion that keeps her from becoming something horrible and that is what makes her an admirable character.
Jordyn was weird? If that makes any sense. He is a Starseed, a hybrid of alien and human DNA, and his loyalties clearly lie with the alien part of him. He is trained to believe that human emotion is a weakness that will surely lead to his demise or destruction. From the moment he is introduced, it is clear that even if he looks like a human, talks like a human, and acts like a human, he doesn't have the humans best interests in mind. I felt sad for him more than anything. He faces a battle between the fact that he wants to be with Kalia and his trained nature that tells him what he's feeling for her is bad. It's hard to give up something you are trained to believe all your life but he knows that a life without Kalia is worse than breaking rules and having a life with her. I wished I would've been able to see more into his background to better understand his character, his motives, and really everything about him. He was essentially an interesting character that left more mystery hanging in the air than necessary.
Kalia's friends were unique and intriguing. I love the fact that Pia and Melissa were undefined at the high school, neither belonging to a specific crowd or fitting into a specific role. The friendship between Kalia and her friends is so strong that she would rather give up her happiness for the happiness of her friends. Over a short period of time, they create a very strong bond and I admire that. I hardly ever get to see a group of girls undoubtably get along without constant friction or fights.
The Hive. Now, if I thought Jordyn was weird, the Hive makes him look decidedly normal. They are kind of creepy in the sense that they refer to everything as group, there is no personal feelings or actions. It's almost strange to see people so connected and yet unconnected from each other. I could see the battling personalities and responses to situations and yet this group of hybrids clung to what they were trained. They were one and they protected their own. This group accepted Kalia but did not accept the way she behaved, such as feeling emotions or craving to be around Jordyn. They want her to be like them, emotionless and powerful, but who said that she ever wanted anything like that?
The bad guys and the good guys played minor roles in the story because the main conflict really was a personal one for Kalia. Was she going to embrace her alien side or continue life as a human? This is not to say that the bad guys weren't well written, they stood out and often gave me the chills whenever they appeared in the story. The good guys played an even more minor part which was sad and disappointing. I wanted to be able to definitively say that I knew who the good guys were but most of the time I was caught between guessing and lying. I wish they would've played a bigger part.
The plot was unique and it held my attention to the very last page. The writing was good as well. There was some disappointments but a lot of triumphs throughout the story. It was pretty good and completely caught me off guard.