Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

publisher: HarperTeen

release date: January 4, 2011

hardcover, 435 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: ARC, traded



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.

Review: This book was astounding. No, not astounding for a debut novelist---I mean astounding for any writer. I picked it up two days ago, had to force my self to put it down so I could sleep, and couldn't wait to pick it up the next day. The following night, or morning rather, at 3am, I turned the last page. Sure, I paid the price the next day at work...but it was worth it. :)

I honestly can't pinpoint what it was that I loved so much about this one. The writing flowed perfectly. Both the story and the relationships between characters built up naturally. There was adventure and love and moral dilemma and evil and was all there, but paced in a way that felt like you were just living a chapter in the life of this angel, knowing that the meaning and purpose of your life is predestined and wanting to succeed at what you've been put on this earth for, but also wanting so much more . Somehow, Cynthia Hand made being one of heaven's angels a completely relatable experience.

I loved the mother-daughter relationship here. Clara regarded her mother with this perfect blend of awe, respect, and teenage angst. Unlike so many mothers in YA these days, her mother was accessible but firm, level headed but loving, and could pull off a fierce "protective mama-bear" with the best of them. It was refreshing to see. Despite being what they are, this little family of three, Clara, her mother, and her brother, Jeffrey, really seemed to pull off "normal" quite well.

The story rose up and down and constantly had me wondering how the conclusion would play out, but it was definitely exciting and surprising! I assure you, you don't want to pass this book up!

A word about the cover: So...I'm going to be waiting until book depository carries the AU version of Unearthly to purchase a copy for myself. Why? Well, because it's gorgeous, of course...and because I love that the girl's hair is actually orange, which Clara's hair is for a good part of the story. Her orange hair is actually quite significant to the story itself, so I love that it was accurately portrayed that way on this cover. Nothing against the US cover, it's very pretty and I do love the pretty periwinkle color!

AU cover: click to see it larger! :)

Visit Cynthia Hand's site here.

Purchase Unearthly at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository



  1. Awesome review! I am so excited for this one now. I must get my hands on a copy. I will admit that initially I wasn't sure about this one b/c angel books have disappointed me lately, but I've read so many great reviews, including yours! I am convinced that I need to read this one. I'm so glad you liked it!

  2. Amen. It was astounding. I can not wait for the next one and I absolutely LOVE the Australian cover.

  3. This sounds so great! So excited to read this! I love your description of the relationship between Clara and her mother. I agree, this would be very refreshing to read in a YA series.

  4. I loved this one too - everything about it is amazing. I'm so glad I picked it up! :)

  5. This sounds so good! And dang, the AU cover is incredible!

    I have a quickkk question. I love the little cupcakes you have for your rating system and I'd love to change my rating system around so I can have little lady bugs, butterflies, or anything else cute in that way. The problem is, I have no clue where to find any little pictures like the kind you have lol. Do you by any chance remember where you got yours?

  6. Awwww it's such a great review I can't wait to receive this book :D !