Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Type: Paperback, won
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.
I didn't expect to love this so much.
I know, I know. That's what everyone says! The cover, the pitch, the genre itself--they're all so very, very misleading. But me, I read this over a year after publication. I'd already seen the reviews claiming that this wasn't your typical angel book, that this was different, fantastic, sheer awesome, etc. So I wanted to love it. I wanted to fall for this as hard as everyone else.
But at first, I wasn't certain that would happen. At first, it seemed fairly stereotypical. Girl with supernatural abilities, new school, hot guy, the works. I was nervous.
Then, when I saw that I'd stayed up till two in the morning reading this, I realized just how very awesome this novel happens to be.
This book looks down at a sea of PNRs and laughs in their faces. And why?
There is family. No conveniently disappearing parents, an actual sibling with actual importance. Real interactions with real relevance to the plot, family dynamics that are wonderfully realistic despite their supernatural abilities.
There are friends that you don't want to constantly punch in the face. Friends that aren't the stereotypical I-just-drank-ten-lattes-and-I'm-also-ridiculously-gorgeous creatures one tends to find in YA today. Friends that don't just disregard everything that leaves the MC's mouth, but also don't put up with their bullshit.
There is angel mythology. You know, actual angel mythology? Not just whatever random rules happen to fit your PNR? So often nowadays, authors decide it's a good idea to just create their own versions of angel mythology, where fallen angels are good and hot and "good" angels have nothing better to do than fall in love within the span of three seconds. Cynthia Hand doesn't make that mistake. Her fallen angels make sense. They can make themselves appear beautiful, yes, but they're evil, and weighed down by a constant grief that comes from disobeying god. And the angel-bloods? They have a purpose, a reason they were put on this earth. That is what angels are. So thank you, Cynthia Hand. Thank you very, very much.
There is an actual romance. Not a guy and a girl who see each other, find one another insanely attractive, make googly eyes, and fall "in love" before they've even spoken five words. I won't even attempt to deny that one of my favorite parts of Unearthly was Tucker and Clara's relationship, because I felt it. Because I felt that they genuinely knew each other, cared for each other, fit together as a couple should, and when they finally kissed, the butterflies in my stomach just about exploded.
There is Clara. Clara, who can be self-centered, brash, awkward. Clara, who cares about her friends and her family and doesn't pretend she's anything close to perfect. Clara, who felt more like a real teenage girl than almost any purely human MC I've ever read.
So, I adored this. Because of the beginning, and the fact that the writing tripped me up several times throughout the book, I can't give this five stars, but it is most definitely more of a 4.5 . Highly recommended.