Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Australian cover

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. (from goodreads)

My review: which I RAVE about a paranormal YA (!)

Mate, how much did I LOVE this book?

Me & the paranormal thing:  Me and paranormal YA usually do not mix. I don't read a lot of the genre and when I attempt it I usually feel very blah about it ~ even popular well-loved paranormals bore me... it's just the way it is :) However, I often feel like I'm out of the loop ~ A LOT of people seem to be having THE BEST time in the paranormal scene, so I'm often on the outside looking in and hoping to one day . All this to say:  I'd seen a lot of good mates REALLY LOVE Unearthly so I started to get pumped about it while still holding my breath in case it wasn't my thing.

So... when I read Unearthly ~ it was just the perfect book for the mood I was in:
  • seamless, well-written prose that's easy to sink into (the pages fly by ~ OKAY, so I got addicted and couldn't put it down...). A main character to love, a couple of fictional boys whom I was oh-so-delighted to be introduced to, and a story that kept me charmed the whole way through. 

You know when you read a book and then later emerge from the pages and feel like you have literally been transported to another place and time? That was me and Unearthly ~ the setting was LOVELY ~ I just soaked it up. It was so easy to become immersed in it: the small town vibe, the high school halls and the forest ~ all beautiful.

The characters are REAL, man. Like contemp characters: fleshed out and interesting and Clara is an MC you will fall in love with. She's spunky and fun, and also a little unsure of herself. I LOVED her brother and her mum and the family dynamic. I liked the semi-complicated girl friendships, and I ADORED the two boys in Clara's life

I LOVE a convincing and anti-melodramatic love triangle. Hand has NAILED it in Unearthly. She has all the right components that make it a compelling, non-cliche, tangled-up swoon-y triangle. AND, the LOVE STORY that emerges in the second half of the book would rival some of your favourite YA couples ~ it has so many funny, fun, genuine, butterflies in your tummy moments. Sigh... I LOVE that feeling of swooning along with the MC and I would DARE you not to swoon in this book :)  Young TUCKER has leapt on to my literary crush list ~ what a guy ;)

The whole VIBE of the book was just refreshing. It's a book you could happily pass on to younger YA readers (the angle lore was done really well, it felt good and clean and intriguing) ~ yet will also appeal to anyone who enjoys a GOOD coming-of age. There was nothing tacky or cringe-worthy about it.

Unearthly also features a pretty STUNNING kind-of twist in the climax ~ which has me SO hanging out for the sequel ~ yet it didn't leave me with a painful cliff-hanger. Perfectly done.

US cover
Recommended: why, yes, yes, yes. You know when Anna and the French Kiss came out ~ and non-contemp readers were falling all over it and in love? Unearthly is (for me) it's paranormal equivalent. I have fallen in love with it ~ I couldn't put it down. I swooned, I found it utterly compelling with gorgeous prose and charming characters.  It's a definite favourite of mine. <3 <3 <3

Unearthly @ goodreads: current rating of 4.38 with 1, 600 ratings.


  1. I added this one to my wishlist because of your glowing review! I usually don't like YA paranormals either but since it seems like we're the same boat, I'm willing to give this a try.

  2. What a review! I'm even more happy now because I've got an ARC of this book on my shelf waiting to be read! :D

  3. Everyone is totally raving about this book and now I am curious. I've stayed away from paranormal for a long time now, but maybe I will pick this up just to see what it is about. :)

  4. I've totally skipped past this book toons of times (b/c I don't mix that well with paranormal either, and come on, that cover is just screams *I AM PARANORMAL LOOK AT THE PRETTY* so I don't look at the pretty and yeah..) But man, you're review was so enthusiastic! I'm totally intrigued now, and I rly want to thank you for including that Goodreads link, that rating is *seriously* impressive. Anyways, I am definitely gonna try and read this one some times. Awesomesauce review naomi!

  5. *your
    i don't usually do these typo-fixing comments but that was a pretty terrible one. :s sorry about that.

  6. The Australian cover is so much more beautiful than the US cover. I wish I could have it

  7. The paranormal equivalent of ANNA? OMG I MUST have this book right now!!!!!!!!

    I love your reviews and everything I have read that you've recommended I have adored, so I am super excited about this one!

    Excellent review!

  8. YESS! So glad you loved this one

    " She has all the right components that make it a compelling, non-cliche, tangled-up swoon-y triangle"

    too true! I love Tucker (can we share him as our literary boyfriend crush? PLEASE?!)

    I can't wait for more from Hand!

  9. I have this one but have not read it yet. My hats off to the author if she got this review out of ya! Hope you're feeling better, mate! :)

  10. Nice review!! I really like both covers!

    And I think I might just pick this one up, I generally don't LOVE paranormal, but I like the analogy you made :D

    Thanks for the awesome review!

  11. Honestly, I was off paranormal novels and now thanks to your great review, I want to read Unearthly!
    An anti-melodramatic love triangle sounds very refreshing!

  12. Just the mention of Tucker makes me swoon! Another brilliant review Nomes :)

  13. Well that settles it I am going out and buying this one today. I mean if you are raving about a paranormal then it is definitely a must read. Too bad I cannot get the Aussie cover as it is much prettier than the US. Great review.

  14. Mmm, Tucker. I agree this was a fantastic book. I can't wait for the sequel.

  15. Paranormal isn't usually my thing, either, but I do like the sound of this one!

  16. Yay! I loved it too! I can not wait for the 2nd book.

  17. I'm with you on this one, Nomes. Love, love, love it! It's the best book I've read in ages! I'm also in love with the Australian cover. I need to get a copy of that one as I much prefer it to the US cover.

    I just bought Anna and the French Kiss, so looking forward to reading that one soon.

    Great review! :)

  18. Time to take this off my shelf and actually read it. With a review like that, it MUST be worth it :)

    Oh and I love the Aussie cover. The US cover looks like an ARC cover, something to make it look YA until the real cover is ready. Well ok maybe it's the purple/blue-ness of it. If it was in real colour it would probably look awesome.

  19. YAY! I absolutely adored this one and went in not expecting much since angel YA books have not been my favorite, but this one sucked me in. Couldn't agree with you more on the convincing love triangle aspect - so well done! I can't wait to read the second book, fantastic review!

  20. Thanks for commenting on my top ten post! I keep seeing fabulous reviews for Unearthly but since you're not normally such a big paranormal fan and you loved it, you've really convinced me. I am not huge on paranormal YA either, though there are exceptions, and there have been so many angel books recently that I'm wary of those now. But this one sounds like a real stand-out in that genre.

    Love the way you reviewed this one and showed exactly why it wowed you without spoiling anything - much appreciated! :)

  21. Fantastic review! Especially the "Mate, how much did I love this book" just made me giggle :D I have heard positive things about this!

  22. Awesome review! I was so sick of angel books - thought they were all getting a little "samey" until I read this and it's just so refreshing. I agree with you about the realness of the characters and particularly about the non-love-triangle-triangle. I only got a review e-galley of this book and have been planning to buy a hard copy. Having seen the hugely superior Australian cover I shall certainly be trying to get hold of a copy! So much better than the US one!

  23. Nomes, you may have just done the impossible: made me want to pick this book up.

    the cover, title and blurb scream twilight/fallen wannabee (and they were too horrid to contemplate).

    i'm picking it up next time i see it. beautiful, engaged review.

    uncommon nonsense

  24. Love this review! Paranormals and I don't mix, either, but this sound really great, and I love love love the Australian cover. So gorgeous!

  25. agh! kicking myself now, I was at the shops today and ALMOST bought this but chose something else instead! Right, must buy this tomorrow. Also, I love the Aussie cover, much prettier than the US one, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, I'm often seduced by a pretty face when it comes to books. PS - yay for paranormal :-)

  26. "You know when you read a book and then later emerge from the pages and feel like you have literally been transported to another place and time?" YES! This book...gah! Just made me want to close the final page and shout, "I love books!" Okay, is that nerdy? Yes. But you know what I mean! It's a great feeling. Loved your review!

  27. Just ordered this from the Book Depository and can't wait for it to arrive! Great review, it's made me even more excited to read it.

  28. Ah, mate!

    I'm glad you decided to give this one a try and found yourself surprised by it. That is the best sort of feeling, no?

    I'm the opposite kind of reader, heavily into PN, while barely discovering contemp, and I've enjoyed what I've read so far of the genre. Good to know these characters have a contemp feel to them.

  29. Solid review! I want to read this one. your blog! I am a new follower!
    Check me out at

  30. AWesome review, Nomes. I can't wait to read this now. It's on my list, though I'll probably have to wade through the other 20 books I have borrowed/bought already.

    I finally ordered the Tomorrow series (the first two because I can't find the others - I'll have to order those directly from Scholastic I think). AND I'm reading The Spell book of Listen Taylor right now. Feels a bit more like an adult book because the character focus is more on the sisters and the teacher. Wasn't expecting that. It's interesting, though I haven't figured out how it's all connected yet. Guess that's the cool thing about Moriarty - you never know how it all connects until the end, and i know that somehow it will. I'm in serious writer envy with her. Okay, I'm going off on a tangent now. Hope you're feeling heaps better!!


  31. I was positive I'd already left a comment on your review but I must have been having a duh moment! I absolutely adored Unearthly, and I'm so with you on the ending, on everything actually LOL.

  32. I was one of those non-contemp readers who swooned over Anna and the French Kiss, and now I'm starting to branch out into the YA contemporary genre so much more. So it just goes to show what trying new things can do for you.
    I'm glad you liked this one - I've heard wonderful things about it and I really need to read it myself! Wonderful review Nomes. :)

  33. See, I wouldn't normally pick this up because I'm a bit cautious when it comes to paranormal romance, but someone else raved about it to me. I think I'm going to have to check it out.

  34. love your blog!!

    i have the same problem with paranormal romance, i try to stay away for them, but... i had to write a review about unearthly for a spanish magazine. so i read it and like you, fall in love with clara and tucker... and i even ordered a second copy in hardback so that the cover match the one for the second book which i'm going to pre-order as soon as it can be pre-orderd, crazy, isn't it?? xDDD

    now i just have to write the review in spanish... wish me luck!! :)

  35. Clara knows what she is. She has had her first vision and is excited to fulfill her destiny. Finding her way to her purpose, Clara discovers it is not as easy as it seems. Clara is faced with a new town, people and is suddenly struggling to fit in. When an unlikely person takes notice on her, something breaks.


Thanks for the commenty love :)