Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Otherworldly Goodness

Just because you know who you are, doesn't mean you can understand your purpose. For Clara in Unearthly, knowing who she is makes her life even more confusing. But Cynthia Hand isn't afraid to throw a few curveballs, even to a divine being (or quarter of a divine being).

Clara knows that as an angel-blood, she has a purpose. All angel-bloods have a purpose, even if they are only a quarter angel. They live to serve their purpose, and Clara is no exception. When she starts to have visions, her half-angel mother tells her the visions are leading her to her purpose... even if that means abandoning California for Wyoming. But in Wyoming is Christian, the boy of her visions. And her purpose is clearly tied to him and the fire that chokes her visions, which start come with increasing frequency. 

But as Clara settles into her new school, she realizes she isn't comfortable living life just for her purpose. She makes friends, has a crush on a boy, and starts to realize there is more to her than a girl who glows from her hair and sprouts wings on command. As Clara gets to know Christian and the brother of her best friend, Tucker, she is torn between what she should do and what she wants to do. but it is difficult to make a decision when one side is determined by God. Even if going against God means a totally wonderful cowboy named Tucker!

There are lots of angel books out there these days, so a new one is always a comparison to the previous stories. In this case, I have to say this was quite an enjoyable angel book. I really appreciated that the angels weren't hidden for 75% of the book (like Hush, Hush), or doled out in tiny little bots, feather by feather, if you will. It was apparent from the beginning that Clara was angel-blood, as were her mother and brother. All the secrets weren't splayed out immediately, of course, but you were given enough upfront to keep you from reading through that foggy confusion. 

Clara was an interesting character who wavered between a girl who wanted more than she was given and a girl who felt responsible for the gifts she was given, even though she didn't totally understand them. I liked the added angel history that added to the story and will certainly keep the story going into the series. This is a great story for strong middle school readers into the young adult readers. It is very clean and interesting, and should appeal to a great deal of readers. I can't wait to find out what happens to Clara, Tuck, and Christian!

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