Unearthly

8633957930 325b1107df UnearthlyBuy Unearthly
Special $7.89 (Regular price: $9.99)
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on January 20, 2011
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees.” Ever since Clara Gardner learned that she was an angel-blood, she’s been waiting to understand her “purpose.” She might be faster, smarter, and stronger than human beings, but that doesn’t mean that understanding the-who-what-where-and-when of her vision will be a walk in the park. Her visions depict a raging forest fire and an attractive stranger, and they draw her to a new school in a new state. There she meets Christian, the literal man of her dreams, but just when things seem to be getting easier, they get harder all over again. Just when she’s supposed to understand what she’s meant to do and who she’s meant to be, her attraction to another guy makes her question everything. When the sparks ignite into the fiery blaze of her destiny, will Clara be ready to face it?

I haven’t read many angel books, despite my frequent forays into the paranormal teen fiction genre. The few that I have read focused on the dark side of the angels on earth, and while they were enjoyable to me, they didn’t appeal to everyone who’s read them. By contrast, I’ve only heard good things about Cynthia Hand‘s debut YA novel. Sometimes the hype about a new book can be overwhelming, but I for one have to agree with the majority on this one. Unearthly is a moving portrait about one girl’s struggle to make sense of her feelings of love and her sense of duty, which I think will appeal both to teen girls and adults alike.

It’s not that Hand’s characterization of Clara is the only thing worth speaking about; I really enjoyed the plot and the novel’s pacing as well. In fact, there is only one way that I could accurately describe this novel — it’s unputdownable. Whereas a lot of paranormal novels depict a character coming to terms with who she is and all the angst associated with it, Hand made a great decision when she started the novel two years after Clara learns just how special she is. Don’t expect to get weighed down by that business because it just isn’t there. While Clara does have to learn a lot (about Christian, her purpose, how to fly, etc.) in a relatively short period of time, it never feels like merely a knowledge dump; it, like the main character herself, feels real.

So, you’re wondering how could a supernatural tale truly have the believability of a contemporary YA novel? First, despite her supernatural powers, Clara doesn’t want people to look at her life she’s a god of some sort. She may know why she was sent to earth, but that doesn’t mean that she wants to draw attention to herself or to rub it anyone’s face. Second, she has a slight rebellious streak, which many teens and adults who once were teens will understand as her developing sense of self. Finally, she’s not infalliable. Her purpose may have been revealed to her, but that doesn’t mean she blindly follows the rules, which means that sometimes, she’s far from perfect. She acts the way any normal teen would act, but it just so happens to be angel-blood.

Clara is just so refreshingly real that readers of all ages will not only get into her character, but also they’ll get into Unearthly.

Buy Unearthly today and save 21% off the regular price!

  • http://twitter.com/javaintheam Kristie

    I loved this one too. The problem with a book this good is that the next three I read will seem mediocre in comparison. Sigh.

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    I think I know what you mean, Kristie. Fortunately, I’ve read one book and started another, and this one didn’t affect the way I felt about them. Hopefully, you end up feeling the same way. :)

  • http://recoveringpotteraddict.blogspot.com Aylee

    Wow, I’m totally loving Clara from your description of her! She sounds like a great character.

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    She really is a great character, and the other good thing is that even though my review focused on her, she definitely isn’t the only character that you will like. :)

  • Terra Mae

    I am reading this right now. I totally, as of right now, have the BIGGEST crush on Tuck. *sigh*

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Hehehe…not sure if it’s stated in the book (possibly it suggests otherwise), but I picture him as a redhead. ;)

  • Alicia

    Sounds like a great read. I’ll have to add to my TBR list for sure.

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Hope you love it as much as I did, Alicia!

  • Basma Aal

    Awesome review

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Thanks, Basma! Glad you liked it!

  • http://leenaslibrary.blogspot.com Eileen Leckenby

    I just read and reviewed this one too- I completely agree with your take on Clara. This book was just a breath of fresh air- not at all a typical, angsty supernatural romance. I can’t wait to read more from Cynthia Hand :)

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Yes, my thoughts exactly. I can understand why a teen might enjoy angsty paranormal romance novels (not all, but a lot of them would identify with that sentiment), but for me as an adult, I just can’t get into that. Books like that just feel…heavy and not in the cathartic way. The wait till 2012 when the second novel in this series is due out will be long and hard, but I’m definitely excited to check out the next book and anything else this author writes as well. :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RCBPMDR24R34RRNJLZAD4KPO4I Alicia

    Finished it, LOVED it and have already passed it on…. my friend cannot put it down. She’s also been to Jackson Hole so she’s texting me like every 5 minutes telling me she knows exactly where Clara is at. I just don’t know how I will be able to wait until Jan 2012 for Hallowed!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RCBPMDR24R34RRNJLZAD4KPO4I Alicia

    I think he has like sandy blonde/light brown hair??

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Yay! Glad we’re on the same page with Unearthly! I cracked up when reading that your friend is texting about Clara’s locations in Jackson Hole – but at the same time, I have to admit that it’s amazing to know that the place is described so accurately in the novel. I haven’t been there, clearly. ;)

    I know! It’s definitely going to be a long, long wait for Hallowed.

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Very possible – clearly I have a way of letting my imagination speak for itself. :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RCBPMDR24R34RRNJLZAD4KPO4I Alicia

    She has an album on Facebook with photos of Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the antler arch while they were there… it’s pretty neat. The night I lent her the book she was wearing her Jackson Hole, WY sweatshirt.. I told her that she’d love the book instantly just because of that!!

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com/ Melissa Montovani

    Yeah, I can imagine that it would be. Authors can describe a setting so well, but as they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words, right?

    Ha! It’s coincidences like that which make life fun!

%d bloggers like this: