Sunday, April 17, 2011


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (NY: HarperTeen, 2011).

Clara Gardner's mother has already told her that Clara is one-quarter angel blood, but she's still awestruck by the intensity of the visions when they start: a boy, the orange cast of a fire-lightened sky, the choking smoke and searing heat, the tragic sadness pressing on her heart. Her half-angel mother tells Clara she's seeing her purpose, her reason for existing. As Clara sees more, the information leads her family to move from their home in California to a new place near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Clara immediately sees the boy, named Christian of all things, from her vision at her new high school. While she's drawn to him and knows she must fulfill her role in his life, she's also becoming friends with the brother of her friend Wendy.

Unearthly is an excellent read on all levels. The angel lore is intriguing and propels the plot, but the romance and conflict make the story truly compelling. Clara is a realistic teen who happens to be part angel, unlike some of the other angel fiction so popular right now where angel gimmicks dominate the plot, making the characters take a back seat and overshadowing the human drama. Family and friends play a natural role in this novel, and Clara's relationships with her mother and brother are particularly well drawn. Highly recommended for teens, ages 13 & up. Some intense situations.

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