Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand 
Young Adult / Paranormal
2011-04-19 (HarperTeen)

Rating: A+
Heat: Sweet

Heroine: Clara Gardner – Part-angel, Teenager 
Hero: Tucker Avery – Cowboy, Teenager
Setting: Wyoming, USA


It took more than five months on the TBR shelf for me to give this book a try. I was skeptical about all the praise it had received. And, once you've read a few awful YA's, or even just enough YA's, it all begins to blend together and none stand out. But this book, this series, definitely stands out.

Where to start. And what to say... Because this is a series that shouldn't be spoiled and it feels like even the littlest detail could be a spoiler.

It took me a little while to get into it, probably because it's been such a long time since I've read a YA. But once I hit the 20% or so mark, I was hooked. Totally engrossed.

It starts out focused on Clara, who narrates, and her mother and brother. Clara, as an angel-blood, has a purpose. A reason she was put on earth. Sometime between 16-20, angel-bloods begin to have visions of their purpose. Clara's involves a boy in a burning woods. Her visions start out vague and gradually grow with more details until she's able to identify exactly where the boy is. Wyoming.

Now that Clara knows where her purpose takes place, her mother packs Clara and her brother up and they move. Leaving the only home she's ever known. Which takes its toll on her and makes her brother angry and resentful.

When Clara finally meets the boy who is her purpose, Christian, she becomes a little obsessed with him. He is her purpose after all. But for many reasons, it's not easy for her to get to know him.

But she does get to know a few other people. Wendy, for one. And her twin brother, Tucker. He steals the show every time he shows up on page. And Angela, eventually. Cynthia Hand does a fantastic job with each of the characters. They're so fleshed out and indivualized. And they don't feel like token stand-ins, substitute characters for when Christian isn't there (ala most YA's). Each character introduced has an impact on the story.

And Clara's mom is important too. To Clara and to the story. And she's actually present. And she acts like a mom, even if she is a cool mom.

Another thing that is different with this book and series - there is a plot. A strong one. And it's interesting. And full of mystery and questions. Lots of questions.

There is a love triangle... But it felt natural. I fully understand why it would happen to Clara. And the way it plays out, it is handled extremely well. Clara is mature, while still being a teenager, and she is strong and not at all wishy-washy. She's no wilting violet.
And the guys. Holy moly, will you swoon. There are no hot a-holes in this series. They don't walk the line of emotionally abusive. And yet they're not written as a romantically idealized version of a teenage boy. My heart did little flip flops throughout. Sigh.

The angel mythos is very well done. Cynthia Hand knows what she's writing about. And there are so many facets to it. It's revealed bit by bit. The more you read, the more you know. And it's not predictable. I've guessed some things, but others - not so much. It has been really refreshing.

After I finished this book, at 2am mind you, I immediately bought the next book. And finished it the next day...

Favorite Quote:

"What did the fish say when it hit a concrete wall?" he asks me.
We're sitting on the bank of a stream and he's tying a fly onto my fishing rod, wearing a cowboy hat and a red lumberjack-style flannel shirt over a gray tee. So adorable.
"What?" I say, wanting to laugh and he hasn't even told me the punch line.
He grins. Unbelievable how gorgeous he is. And that he's mine. He loves me and I love him and how rare and beautiful is that?
"Dam!" he says.


Thoughts While Reading:



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