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Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

U n e a r t h l y by Cynthia Hand (Twitter)
Release Date: 1/4/11 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult (13+)
Pages: 435
Info: 2011 Debut
Source: NetGalley & HarperTeen
(Thank you!)
Go Buy It: AmazonBarnes&Noble 
Overall Feelings:  Staggeringly brilliant, wildly fascinating, and thrilling!

Synopsis- "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." Goodreads»»
Quick Thinking: Unearthly is a divine read; marvelous, mystical leaning toward heavenly. Its pages are saturated with succulent (guys!) characters whom The Reader grows to love, adore, and connect with, a flourishing, beautiful love, a magical, cryptic history of the angels that fill this world Hand has fabricated, and a sensational, thrilling plot that does not allow for the expected, but instead gives way to electrifying, unforeseen events leading up to a slight resolution that leaves The Reader pleading for more! Watch as Clara Gardner progresses yet struggles with destiny in one hand and herself, her heart in the other...

My Thoughts In-Depth: *Note: May not be spoiler-free.* Unearthly cleverly tugged me into this new world of angels and never really let me out! Once I got passed the first chapter, I was enraptured by this alluring fantasy Hand has thrust us readers into, where a heroine like Clara both charms me and leaves me exasperated all at once, mostly because she's an authentic teenage character.

Paperback edition!
I find that part of the problem with angstier YA paranormal novels is that there's not always enough realism instilled in their characters, their attitudes and personality which later leaves readers with a sense of disconnect with the characters. Take a heroine who's been completely normal all her life, and then abruptly discovers that she's not entirely human and has this huge destiny awaiting her, that should leave pressure on her shoulders, yet her adolescent mindset should remain intact. And I felt like Cynthia really nailed that when it came to Clara. While Clara understood her situation, the significance of her purpose, and seemed to grasp the magnitude of her predicament, she still acted like a normal teenage girl with normal teen worries, like what clothes to wear, worrying over hair and appearance, fantasizing over boys which helped infuse a connection between The Reader and Clara, as well as the other characters in the novel.

Clara's feelings for Christian were only skin-deep in my opinion, which is why I was so glad to see her veer toward Tuck! He's wonderful, adorable, and a living mass of contrasts. Sweet yet gruff would be my attempt at describing him in nutshell. He's a well of love and acceptance, of care and toughness. Absolutely my kind of guy! Wendy is another great character; she's friendly, affectionate, and sly (the best part about her). Insightful too. She was great to read about, only I wish I knew her more. Angela, gives me those I-should-be-keeping-my-two-eyes-on-you warning bells. I felt like she was the withholding too many secrets to make her a trustworthy character, so I'll be paying attention to her in the later novels. I also wish I could've connected more with Clara's mom and brother, as I feel they're pretty essential to the novels.

I devoured the plot easily due to this insatiable yearning to bare all the mysteries inside this novel, unveil all the bits and pieces that would help me put two and two together. I wanted to keep learning more, and not just about Clara but this whole new take on angels!

Perhaps, that's why I wasn't too pleased with the ending. First, I felt the closing came on a little too sudden, instead of flowing it seemed to just pop up out of nowhere. I was left fumbling and confused (which may have been the point), I didn't really get it at first, understand what had happened. I had to absorb it all in again to really process it.

Overall, I loved it! I guarantee that I will be searching out the sequel in 2012.

Best Friend Foreva: Christian
While he's certainly utterly drool-worthy, I couldn't see him as anything more than a friend once I got passed the gloss, the exterior... There's nothing that really pulls at me about him, but I can tell that he'd make an excellent bff.

Wish-He-Was-Mine: Tucker
I do not need anyone else to go on. He's all I need to get through my days. His gorgeous, cowboy looks, those baby blues that make a girl want to tremble, and that bod! *fans self* Tuck is all mine.

Frenemy: Angela
In some ways she reminds me too much of me, and so I'm looking at it as north and north not pulling toward one another but repelling. Plus, as I mentioned before, she's way too suspicious for me.

Bonus Factor: 1) I loved the novel a whole lot more because of Clara's prior knowledge of her angelic heritage and 2) her wings as well as her learning to fly with them.

Loved These Quotes/Scenes: 
"His arm comes under my knees, and he lifts me. My arm is around his shoulder, my fingers inches away from the spot where his neck meets his hair. His smell, a mixture of Ivory soap and some wonderful, spicy cologne, washes over me. I look up into his green eyes, so close that I can see flecks of gold in them.
'Hi,' he says.
Heaven help me, I think as he smiles. It's just too much.
'Hi,' I murmur, looking away, flushing to the roots of my loose, very-orange hair." (36)
"Try to tell me you don't," he murmurs, so close his breath is on my face. I look up into his eyes and see the beckoning heat in them. I can't think. His lips are too close to mine and his hands are drawing me closer.
'Tuck,' I breathe, and then he kisses me." (197)
Extra [Cynthia Hand] Linkage: WebsiteHand's Blog

Thanks for reading!


Mariya said...

I really need to read this soon. It sounds amazing and all great reviews. I love the other cover better than the US. I like them both, but I just love the other one more. It is lovely =D

Lynn said...

I totally agree with your review in all respects and I loved this book - and Tucker.
Lynn :D

Marathon said...

Isn't Tucker just gorgeous!

Glad you enjoyed the review, Lynn!