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Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

December 11, 2010

January 4, 2011

Publishers: Harper Teen

Publication Date: January 4, 2011

Format: Galley

Status: First in the Unearthly Series. The second book, which does not yet have a name, will be published in 2012. Noooo!

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Teen, Paranormal, Angel

Location: Briefly, California. Most of the action takes place in Jackson, Wyoming.

Other Info: This is Cynthia Hand’s first novel. Her blog is called Writing Angels.

Description (from Goodreads):

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place–and out of place, at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make–between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

It’s Saturday and I’ve had a long day of shopping in the midst of the Christmas rush, so I’m going to keep this review short and sweet.

I might be overreacting after the disappointing reads I’ve muddle through this week, but I really enjoyed Unearthly. I didn’t really expect to. Angel stories aren’t my favorite, though I don’t hate them. This, however, was an angel story I could get behind. The narrator, Clara, is likable and far from perfect simply because she has angel blood. I also really enjoyed that the book took place in Jackson, Wyoming. Not a place you see featured in much teen fiction. I was pleased that the action moved pretty swiftly from California to this less well-known part of the US. After all, part of the fun of reading is armchair travel.

So, what did I like about it? Well, Clara for a start. She’s refreshingly flawed and this makes her a relate-able heroine. I also enjoyed the twist that Hand plays with the soulmates theme that pops up so often in Teen fiction. The whole book basically reflects on the question of what you’re supposed to do when the person your fated to be with doesn’t feel the same way? That’s a bit spoilery, but not too much, I think.

Clara’s two love interests are equally interesting, though I admit that I was rooting for Tucker the moment he sauntered on screen. Christian, the boy who features in Clara’s visions is the guy she moved to Wyoming to find. She’s understandably obsessed with him. Unfortunately, he’s got a girlfriend. No surprise there, since he’s the hottest guy in school. Things get even more complicated when Christian proves hard to get. I liked that as soon as Clara moved to town, he didn’t just forget his girlfriend.

The other love interest is Clara’s friend Wendy’s twin brother, Tucker. He’s good-looking and a hard worker. God, I liked that. He’s one of the have-nots in the socioeconomically divided Jackson, but he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder about it. He simply finds work that gets him enough money for his needs. It’s probably the adult in me that found that so sexy. But, really, I liked Tucker and was rooting for Clara to get over mooning for Christian and notice who was right under her nose.

Hand had me racing to the end of the novel. I really, really wanted to see the outcome of Clara’s purpose and what all her visions meant. More than anything, though, I really wanted to know more about Clara’s mom. It’s clear from the get-go that she’s holding something back. There’s a lot about being an angel-blood that she’s not telling Clara–either because she can’t or she won’t. We don’t find out the answer in Unearthly–but breathe easy. There’s going to be a sequel. I can’t wait for it to come out.

Did I say something about short and sweet? Woops.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2010 3:29 pm

    I haven’t found a YA angel story that I like either. I’ve got this one on my reader from netgalley, so I’ll have to move it up on the priority list.

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