Book Review: From A Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

fromadistantstar_mcquestion_skyscapeamazonAfter listening (I listen to “Booktube” while I work) to Jen from TodayinJensLibrary describe From A Distant Star, I spotted it on NetGalley and immediately requested it. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the video to remind myself of why it sounded so good, only the wrap-up video where she gave it 3 stars. And I think that is a fair rating. I had high hopes, tempered by Jen’s review (which I heard after requesting it) and a bad experience with a better known YA alien possession novel. I was a bit disappointed, but will still rate it 3 stars as the story was interesting and I did find some positive points.

Emma is a girl from the “wrong side” and her boyfriend Lucas is the popular, blond football star of their high school. As Emma narrates the story, we learn that she is devoted to him and will go to any lengths to combat the cancer that has left him comatose. When he wakes she is, of course, one of the only people to notice that he is not himself. An alien, Scout, is using his body as a host. And then the men/women in black show up, so the adventure really begins.

What I liked was the consistent and believable portrayal of secondary characters. I also liked that when the narrative changed to Scout’s POV, it was not written in first person. Scout is a rather naïve and juvenile character, so not having him narrate his portions was a fortunate choice. Best of all, this is not really a romance. While affection for Scout grows, Emma stays true to Lucas and never loses the desire to have Lucas back at any cost.

What I did not like? Emma and Lucas. Emma is a milquetoast who wants Lucas to make all decisions, and Lucas seems to get by mostly on charm. I highly doubt that theirs is a healthy relationship and Emma does not engender any sympathy for either of them as narrator. I really did find myself enjoying the brief chapters focused on Scout quite a bit more than those Emma narrates. I never like the inclusion of a witch and potions and there were also just a few too many completely handy things that occurred or were discovered just at the perfect moment which lessened any feeling of urgency and peril.

So, not a book I would recommend or reread, but if you enjoy YA sci-fi/fantasy and the premise interests you, then don’t listen to me. Go and get a copy and judge for yourself.  3/5 stars.

I read an ebook review copy courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. If not for this, I’m not sure if I would have finished reading it as I never felt a desire not to put it down or any urgency to pick it back up again.

From A Distant Star by Karen McQuestion | Skyscape, May 19, 2015 | review copy