Catalyst, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Tachyon Publications, 2006)

Kaslin unexpectedly initiates first contact with a strange alien race dwelling below the surface of the planet Chuudoku, when he’s forced to flee from a teenaged bully. However, both he and his nemesis, Histly, will have to make a fragile peace when the aliens change them, for better and for worse. A bizarre tale of alien intelligence, human emotion, and adolescent evolution as only Nina Kiriki Hoffman can deliver.

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