Kate Gilmore is the author of several novels for young readers, among them Remembrance of the Sun and Enter Three Witches. Her research for The Exchange Student did not involve interplanetary travel, but she did visit primate houses and zoos in many cities and talked with scientists about binturongs and fennec foxes.
The book in one sentence: Fen the Chelan alien visits the Wells as an exchange student with a mysterious mission unknown to the Terran family.
Who would you recommend it to: Animal lovers with a taste for fantasy.
OK bits: The futuristic setting of the story.
Boring bits: Most of the characters, the protagonist notwithstanding.
Verdict: Admittedly I’m not a big fan of the science fiction / fantasy genre, but I couldn’t like this for some reason. While Fen the alien was pretty interesting, I did not like the Wells family. And the ending was a bit anticlimactic, despite being a happy one, given the reason for the ‘secret’ mission the Chelan alien was given.