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Paranormalcy by Kierstan White

September 24, 2010

I will say, right off the bat, that I loved this book. Evie is my kind of heroine. She’s girly, she’s plucky, she’s smart, she’s into popular culture, she’s funny and she knows when she’s in over her head.

In the beginning of the novel, Evie comes off as a little naive, perhaps a trifle stupid and not exactly a deep thinker. It’s not that this is all a facade. Evie is a bit naive. But until she was eight, she was a child of the foster system, shunted around from family to family. When she was eight, the International Paranormal Containment Agency (though at that time it was the American Paranormal Containment Agency) found her. They took her in because of her unique ability to see through glamors. Since then, she’s grown up at the Center and been raised to “bag and tag” various paranormals: werewolves, vampires and hags, to name a few. Moving to the Center was like heaven for young Evie–it meant stability and familiar faces she could see every day. It meant Raquel, the Center’s director, and the only mother figure Evie’s ever had. It also meant meeting Lish, the mermaid and her best friend. But, basically, she’s lived in isolation since she was fairly young. All she really knows is that Center is better than the life she had before.

Paranormalcy opens eight years after Evie has come to live at the Center. She’s now sixteen (in case you can’t do the complex math) and is not, perhaps, as content at the Center as she once was. More than anything else, she wants a normal life. She wants to go to high school and have a locker and get her driver’s license. This isn’t on the table for her, though, since the Center’s underground and she’s not exactly supposed to leave. Evie’s dissatisfaction with her life comes to a head when she captures a shapeshifter searching through her boss, Raquel’s, office. Evie sees through the boy’s shapeshifting glamor and “tags” him with a containment anklet. It turns out that the boy is Evie’s age, a rarity in the center. Immediately, Evie makes friends with the boy (Lend). She’s ripe for a crush, especially since the last guy she almost went out with has turned out to be creepy/stalkery and violent to boot.

I mentioned that I loved Evie. She learns a lot in this novel, including one of the hardest lessons in life: you shouldn’t believe everything you’re told. But Evie learns from the mistakes she makes and doesn’t repeat them. They make her wiser. I also loved that, despite everything that was going on in Evie’s life, she was still a teenager. I loved that being with Lend allowed her that. Evie likes to shop.  She likes pink. She has a pink taser named Tasey and only carries a silver knife because it has a pink handle. She wants to go to the prom. I know that these are shallow things, but Evie doesn’t have a lot of shallow in her life. For her, these things–pink and prom and lockers–represent normalcy. That’s Evie craves so badly and I really, really wanted her to have it.

Lend was also great. I liked that he and Evie were given lots of on-screen time to develop a friendship before the romance started. Lend is a good counterpart to Evie. He likes her and he takes her seriously, despite her quirks and love of pink. He gets that Evie wants normalcy–and believes that she should have it. He’s also funny. My only problem with Lend was that I had a hard time picturing him as Evie saw him. What I imagined was kind of like the figure that rises out the water in a superhero movie. Evie calls him Water Boy–and that’s the way I picture him. Like a human sculpted in rippling water. Which I thought would be way, way too creepy to look at.

The plot kept me going through the novel. It mainly concerns the true purpose of the IPCA, why Lend came to the Center in the first place, and why is Evie so important she isn’t allowed to leave? The mystery of Evie’s special ability to see through glamor and her faerie ex-boyfriend’s fixation on her kept me turning the pages. I had a few things figured out but I was anxious for Evie–so many Teen Paranormals end badly these days–and I couldn’t get to the conclusion fast enough. That doesn’t happen too often, I’ll tell ya.

What I liked best about this novel happened toward the end. Instead of keeping an awful, burdensome secret, Evie confides in Lend. I was so glad when this happened. I could see where the author was heading and I really didn’t want to read another story that could have been resolved by the main character–gasp!–actually confiding in someone. So, thanks Kierstan White! I realize the novel ends with Evie having yet another secret, but I’m okay with that. After all, there are two sequels in the works. I’m looking forward to seeing how things work out with Evie, Lend, Raquel, Lend’s dad, David, and his mom, the–oh, wait, I can’t tell you! That would be a spoiler!

Just trust me–you should read this book, especially if you like lighter Teen Fantasies and Paranormals. And you should visit my blog if you like writing with lots of exclamation marks!!!!!  !                       !

I’m just saying.

Oops, I almost forgot the description:

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

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