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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)
by Kiersten White
Harper Teen

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Even though I'm normally a little hesitant about books that have really pretty covers and lots of excited squeeing attached, when this came out last year, it went straight on my wishlist.  To balance the squeeing, I did see some pretty thorough reviews from trusted people, so I figured there was a good chance I would like this one, despite the pretty cover curse.  So imagine my delight when the Polish Outlander sent it to me for Christmas!

Just after Christmas, I was in a little bit of a reading funk.  Even though I have a lot of great stuff that I'm excited to read, and even though I know there are a lot of books on my TBR that I'm fairly sure I will like (some even love), I just couldn't seem to find something to suit my mood.  In fact, I couldn't even figure out what I was in the mood for; it was just one of those listless funks you go through every now and then.  On New Years Eve, I was sick in bed but wide awake, and I really wanted to read something, so I grabbed a big stack of books and decided I would read a page of each, and whatever captured my attention would be the one I'd go with -- first book of the new year.  Flash-forward about 5 hours, when I'm still wide awake with no idea of the time (really, really late), laughing aloud as I tear through Paranormalcy.

I'm always hesitant to write a purely glowing review.  Even amidst all the good of a book, there's generally something that I caution people about.  But when I think about Paranormalcy, I'm hard-pressed to come up with negatives.  It was the perfect funk-breaker.  The world Kiersten White creates is a lot of fun, and there is great room to grow over the course of the series, which I love.  Evie is an absolutely delightful character.  She's fun and fresh and youthful in such a great way, but she's rounded enough -- she begins to question and doubt enough -- to make her more dynamic and fully fleshed out.  And she's a great narrator to have leading you through the book because she's got a really enjoyable voice and great sense of humor (which means White has a great sense of humor; it shows throughout the book).  It's a really refreshing read, and I think Evie is really relatable in such a great way, even when the circumstances she is in are not.  On a purely for-fun level, I think you can do a lot worse than Paranormalcy.

But what's great is that there is more to it than that.  I sense more to the story for each character that's introduced.  I know there's something lurking in all of their pasts, and I love that we don't get to see all the cards.  It adds depth to balance the lightness of the story.  Also, White doesn't shy away from showing some heartbreak.  In spite of all her kick-ass attitude and abilities, Evie has had a very lonely, sad type of life.  She never really gets to be a girl, or to be care-free, and occasionally you can see the strain it causes.  And there's more, and I have to be careful here, because I don't want to give anything away, but I do want to mention that I absolutely Loved (with a capital L) Evie's interactions with Vivian.  A lot of YA authors -- debut ones, especially -- would have gone the easy route and made everything black and white/good and bad/right and wrong.  But life is never that easy or clearly defined, and White knows this.  I get Evie, and her actions and motivations, and I get Vivian's as well.  The scenes with Evie and Vivian, especially towards the end, and the sadness that pervades them was really authentic and beautiful to me.  Even more so because of the fact that I wasn't expecting it in such a funny-sometimes-silly book.  I think Carrie Ryan captured it completely when she said "Kiersten White creates the perfect blend of light and dark."  She really does.

Very nicely done; I will certainly be keeping an eye on Kiersten White.

Here's my teaser, in case you missed it:

Or go here to see the book trailer (there are a lot of cool fan-made ones, too!)

You can also check out Kiersten on her blog, Kiersten Writes.


  1. Excellent review and I agree with you. I couldn't find anything negative to say about Paranormalcy and think that it is the perfect book to introduce this genre to a young/teen reader. I look forward to the future works of Mrs. White.

  2. I agree! I loved Paranormalcy. It's perfect. Wonderful and funny characters. Awesome writing. Great supernatural world. Paranormal meets science.

  3. I love this review! This book sounds intriguing and hilarious--it needs to be bumped up on my pile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Aw, shucks, guys. Thanks! And yes, Liz, bump away!

  5. Ditto on the great review! Ms. White is a local from my state. I've heard good things from others...I think I'll make room for it in March.

  6. So glad you liked this one! It truly took me by surprise. The one thing that bugged me was the constant descriptions of the sighs, especially in the beginning. I'm glad those tapered off. But that was it. No other complaints. I'm really looking forward to the next one in the series.


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