Title: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA paranormal
This title will be released in January 2011. I received a free electronic copy from the publisher through netgalley.com.
Synopsis: Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago. But now she is finally getting visions of what her Purpose-a rite of passage for every part-angel-is to be, and it happens to involve a gorgeous guy. Of course, there is the raging forest fire surrounding them, too. When Clara's Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, Clara finds the boy of her visions, Christian, but complicating her mission are her growing feelings for another guy, Tucker. As the day in her visions draws closer, Clara discovers that her Purpose may play into a larger struggle between angels and Black Wings-fallen angels who spread sadness and misery wherever they go. But when the fire erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?
Review: Most of the YA books these days focus on vampires, werewolves, and witches. This was a refreshing twist. It was a fast read and the characters were incredibly believable.
Clara's mother is half angel, Clara and her brother are a quarter angel. Her mother has kept them from knowing what they truly are until they are in their early teens when some of their unearthly powers start to manifest. But Clara's mom holds a lot of information back. Keeping Clara and her brother at arms length when it comes to knowing a lot about being an angel and what this whole purpose in life is all about.
When Clara is 16 she starts having visions about her "purpose". These visions lead to the family moving from California to Wyoming. Moving to a new city is hard enough but when you find yourself struggling to balance a normal high school life and finding the object of your purpose in life who just happens to be the most popular boy in school, life can be very complicated.
Cynthia Hand does an excellent job of putting us right back in high school. All the pressures to conform, the secret crushes, the desperate need to fit in. Imagine all this while hiding the secret that you have wings and can fly! I was a little worried that this book would be religious in nature due to the fact that they are angels but it really isn't and no matter what your religious views I think you would enjoy this book. Its more about the characters, figuring out your place in the world, making decisions that could effect you for the rest of your life and whether or not there is choice in fulfilling your destiny.
I was so invested in these characters that I was extremely disappointed when the book ended. I'm glad to discover that this is only book one of a trilogy.