‘From a Distant Star’ by Karen McQuestion follows Emma as, after her boyfriend returns from the brink of death, she discovers that all is not quite what it seems. Instead of her boyfriend, it is an alien that meets her in his form. Emma strives to return Scout to where he came from and regain Lucas, the love of her life.
As a young adult novel, this book does an excellent job of writing about aliens in a way that is both understandable and enjoyable. The book is easy to read with excellent pacing and characters that you can get invested in.
One of the highlights for me was that the book started from the perspective of a dog. This instantly grabbed my attention and drew me into the book, despite (somewhat unfortunately) Mack’s perspective not being used again. I also really loved how rather than the typical romance often found in these types of books, ‘From a Distant Star’ focuses on the friendship between Scout and Emma.
I did have trouble getting behind the relationship between Emma and Lucas however. I found it quite hard to believe, especially given the intensity of it and that it was told rather than shown. I think part of the reasons why I had trouble believing it was due to the fact Emma had no life beyond Lucas – her future revolved around him, she had no friends outside of Lucas’s and was fairly selfish in her attitude towards his cancer – not being able to see why his family should spend more time with him than her. This turn me off her character at the beginning, but there is a lot of growth on her part throughout the book, especially in her interactions with Scout, which kept me engrossed in the book.
As well as this, the book did take a while to get going and did fall prey to clunky wording in places. It did pick up pace in the second half of the book and things got dangerous and exciting. Some parts were predictable, but there were definitely some surprises, both hilarious and frightening.
This book is definitely one that you can get into and enjoy. It successfully combines the alien concept with life on Earth, with Scout’s learning of being human particularly enjoyable to read. It’s quick and entertaining. I would definitely recommend it as a holiday read – it captures that hopefulness that holidays brings, explores the nature of humanity in a light-hearted manner and features aliens and a road trip. What more could you want on holiday?