Friday, January 6, 2012

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Hardcover, 435 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by HarperTeen

Unearthly (Unearthly #1)In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . . 
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 that 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 deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? 
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

My Rating:  4 - Pretty Darn Good!!

My Review - no real spoilers b/c you should read this book!

Impressive. I was surprised at every turn in a good way. Cynthia Hand continued to surprise me all the way to the end and left me quite eager for Hallowed.

There were a few ideas that felt familiar to me and I expected to be a little frustrated as I read. 

I am not interested in attending high school with the classes, for example, especially prom. But I was drawn right through with light steps, almost floating, touching on important moments and moving on. I expected to be frustrated, but I wasn’t, and that was refreshing. 

Again, there were two guys creating a type of triangle. I had twinges of “no, please, no!” but my fears never materialized because the characters are completely unique and full of surprises. I thoroughly enjoyed Tucker and Christian as well as Angela and Wendy. They are all very interesting.

I really love Clara. She imperfect and well-meaning. I enjoyed her flaws conflicting with intentions. I was very happy seeing her story through her eyes... A book is so much more enjoyable when you like the character's perspective you see from, you know?

Her family is full of tense question marks for me:

What is going on with Clara’s brother, Jake? There are significant clues that something is up, but we don’t see enough of his character to make any judgement calls, and I was sad about that. I would have liked Clara to have paid more attention to him.

When the family first arrives at their new home, they’re so close, which I really enjoyed. I mean, they’re trying and do the right thing, right? They enjoy goodness and rightness. I liked that aspect a lot. But then the mom turns into this introspected mole, blindly ignoring both of her children uncharacteristically (it seemed to me) to everyone’s detriment. Maybe in Hallowed there is more revealing of the Why behind the mom. In this story, she left me quite frustrated. I wanted to shake her awake because she seems to be sleeping when her kids need her most. How can she get on Clara’s case about her Purpose while clamming up over very basic stuff, like conversations, questions, hugs?

Altogether, though, this book felt refreshingly different, unique, and a heck of a lot of fun.

Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand grew up in southeast Idaho (very near the Wyoming border). Currently she lives in southern California with her husband and two small children. She teaches courses in creative writing at Pepperdine University. Unearthly, her debut YA novel, was published by HarperTeen in January 2011, out in paperback on 11-1-11. The sequel, Hallowed, will be released on January 17.

Hallowed (Unearthly, #2)

The covers are pretty, but they doesn't match the inside for me. Clara is so brilliant from her funky-colored hair to her moments of bursting glory. Maybe the idea with the two tone scheme is to show how much more color there really is than what could even be displayed? Pretty, but I have a different picture of Clara in my head.

Speaking of incredible imaginary pictures... here are some more faeries from the Giveaway question of "What would you look like if you were a faery?"  I'm tickled pink to share... if I may be so bold to say it, we book-lovin' types have great imaginations!!

Images of Fairies

ed org moon-faerie fairy watercolor original art painting fantasy