“Keep Your Enemies Close” by H. S. Stone
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
First, the probes arrived. Then the mother ship landed. Then Lia’s world changed forever.
With the alien invaders’ arrival, Lia and her best friend, Bryn, sign up for military duty to protect their town. When the aliens attack, however, Lia and her comrades are helpless to stop them. Worse, after the attack, she discovers that several of the townspeople, including her family, were abducted. Despite Lia’s pleading, no one wants to save those taken by the aliens.
Desperate to rescue her parents and her little sister, Lia turns to the only source of help she can find… a captured alien invader.
YOU GUYS, humans are the aliens in this story. (No, that’s not a spoiler. It happens in the first few chapters.) I don’t know about you but I found that idea absolutely fascinating. I haven’t come across that much in anything I’ve read or watched before so the idea was still original for me. I particularly loved how subtle the revelation was. I had to read the reveal a few times before I got it. Even after that, you’d almost forget about the others not being human except for the blue skin and other odd things.
As you’d expect in any us-versus-them type of story, we soon find out the aliens (Tolusians) are surprisingly human. You can’t help but sympathize with them because we, the reader, are seeing the invasion from their point of view. We understand how terrifying it is to have cities destroyed and hundreds of your people taken by strange aliens.
I liked the dual narration in the story. We’re able to see both points of view. You understand why the Tolusians are scared but we also slowly learn that they’d be willing to live peaceably with humans. You understand that humans are just trying to find a new planet to live on but are doing it in a terrible way. It makes you start to wonder who really is the “alien”. It kind of reminded me a bit of the Spackle in Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness because of the grayness in what to do.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the fact that there was NO romance between an alien and a human. That’s pretty much unheard of in YA books. There was some romance between other characters but nothing in your face about it.
Since I read this as my Self-Published square, I’m happy to report that this book didn’t scream Self-Published at all. There weren’t spelling or grammatical errors. The book was nicely edited and polished. In fact, it’s one of the more interesting science fiction books I’ve read in quite a while including all the traditionally published books I read.
The bottom line? Fascinating science fiction book.