"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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Summary: An angel-blood teenager fights her destiny and her attraction to a human.

What's your purpose in life? I'm 34 and I'm still figuring it out. But as an angel blood, sixteen-year-old Clara Gardner knows that she must fufill her purpose. It's why she exists. Talk about pressure.

And of top of that, you have high school, prom, college, and a mom who still expects you to get good grades.

Happy and talented California teen Clara is slowly coming into her powers as a Quartarius, a quarter-angel. Her half-angel single mother reluctantly shares details about being an angel, only emphasizing that Clara's purpose, whatever it is, is the most important event of her life (I thought college admission was crucial.).  Together, they identify details in Clara's frequent visions about her purpose. The clues include a forest fire, a license plate, and boy in a black fleece jacket. This leads the entire family (Mom, Clara and younger brother Jeffrey) to up and move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Before you say it, yes, it is reminiscent of Twilight in some spots.)
"Clara, listen to me." Mom leans forward and takes my hands in hers. "You aren't being sent on a mission that you don't have the power to accomplish. You have to find that power inside you somewhere and you have to refine it. ... There is a reason, for all of this."
On Clara's first day of school, she meets her destiny: a handsome football player named Christian, the boy of her dreams - literally. She also slowly befriends two other girls: easygoing, horse-obsessed Wendy, and intense loner Angela. Clara thinks she's finally on her way to her purpose when Christian asks her to prom, until he stands her up at prom to tend to his ex-girlfriend. It's a typical teen angst book for about halfway through.

The book didn't really get great until Clara and Wendy's twin brother, Tucker, start spending their summer after junior year together. With Wendy, Christian and Angela all away for the summer, the two start spending time together alone in the woods. They have a lot of fun together in a wholesome way with underlying sexual tension. The scenes are a thrill to read.
I don't know what to say. This summer hasn't turned out at all the way I planned. I'm not supposed to be standing in the middle of a barn with a blue-eyed cowboy who's looking at me like he's about to kiss me. I shouldn't be wanting him to kiss me.
The romance develops quickly but organically, until one day, Tucker and Clara kiss. This kiss is so magical and intense that Clara starts to glow, her glory showing through and freaking Tucker out a little.

The day of the fire, however, Clara is forced to decide who she must save - Christian; her whole purpose, or Tucker; her love.

This was an enjoyable teen fantasy fiction romance. My biggest complaint though is how the angel wings work with American clothes. Do they rip through the cloth? Do they go around the sleeves? This was never really explained and I wanted to know. The lack of detail was a niggling little worm that kept me from giving this book 5 stars.

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