When They Came is a clean dystopian, young adult novel set in the future after aliens have invaded Earth. The main character, Ana Maria Sofia Barrios, chooses to join The Midnight Guard like her older sister so she can help protect her community.
The book doesn’t have any sex or swearing in it, so it’s fine for teens of all ages. If a character swears it’s written as “I swore from the pain.” or something instead of actual swear words. Ana and her family are very close, which I liked. Her sister is nice and accepting and seems like a positive role model for her. In this world, she definitely needs that. The trope of everyone wanting something in the apocalypse is used in this book, but I think that really would happen in an apocalypse.
The action and the aliens are well described and the pacing is good. While most of the descriptions are really good, like when they’re going to houses or wherever, some fell flat. In the scene where they go outside the walls for the first time, they break into one of the houses and break glass and it’s described as “breaking like teardrops.” It was weird to me. My main issues (as a warning, this part contains spoilers) with the book were that Ana is called by her whole name (or variations of it) all the time and everyone wants to sacrifice themselves for the “special” girl. Also, when getting beamed up by aliens, she actually says “Take me to your leader.” Are you kidding me?!
Overall it was an alright book, but it frustrated me at times. I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads, but it’s really more of a 2.5.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.