First sentence: “It’s Friday Morning and, as usual, I’m sitting cross-legged on my unmade bed, balancing a bowl of Lucky Charms on my knees and trying not to spill milk on my laptop.”
Plagued by severe anxiety, Mallory Sullivan has been unable to leave her house in sixty-seven days. Not since her dad left her family without a word. Every time she attempts to go outside, she has a panic attack. She’ll rather stay inside on the X-Files message boards—We Are Not Alone—chatting with other fans. How does a girl with a severe case of anxiety get out of the house? For Mallory, it’s when she’s nominated for homecoming queen.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES
- This book explores anxiety.
It’s the type of anxiety that prevents Mallory from leaving her house. It’s caused by her dad leaving, which I wanted more of this to be explored. I like that she was speaking with a therapist to help her through her anxiety. There are times when she makes progress, but has setbacks. I do wish the people around her—her friends and brother—didn’t dismiss her anxiety because it’s not something Mallory can wish away. Anxiety cannot be dealt with just by forcing yourself out the door to do homecoming activities.
- It has nothing to do with aliens.
Mallory’s thoughts aren’t consumed by whether or not there are extraterrestrial lifeforms out there in the Universe. Sure, she’s into The X-Files, but it doesn’t play a significant role in the book. She visits the message boards and chats with another user, BeamMeUp Alien, where she finds comfort and belonging, but that’s the extent of the aliens you’d assume this book has. Alien, in this book, is about the experiences she has to face that she is overwhelmingly anxious about (like stepping outside the house or facing her peers who think she has a drug problem).
- Mallory has good friends.
The relationship between Mallory and her loved ones made my heart soar. She had such a great relationship with her brother, Lincoln, and her best friend, Jenni. They want what’s best for them, and despite their tactics being quite questionable, it was out of love.
- The Kirkpatrick brothers are the sweetest.
These boys happen to be Mallory’s neighbors. There’s Brad, the Golden Boy and all around jock who’s an absolute sweetheart, and there’s Jake, the quiet older brother with tattoos and rumors that he was in jail or rehab. It’s not hard to swoon over the Kirkpatrick brothers.
Should you read Love and Other Alien Experiences? Sure, Love and Other Alien Experiences is quite a quick and cute read. It might seem like a heavy book about anxiety, but it’s not. It’s quite hopeful. You’ll want to see how Mallory tries to overcome her anxiety disorder and how her support system tries to help her.