Saturday, December 18, 2010

ARC Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication: HarperTeen (January 4, 2011)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: I liked this story very much. I liked the different mythology about angels. Clara's mother is half angel and Clara is one-fourth. She was told by her mother that she was part angel when she was about twelve. She was told that she would someday have a purpose. So, when she turns sixteen and begins having visions, her mother uproots the family and they all move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming because that is where Clara's purpose leads them. 

Clara begins school and meets Christian who is, literally, the boy of her dreams. However, Christian has a girlfriend and he is the star of the school. He is the kind of guy that all the girls dream of but no one thinks they will ever have. He is nice and polite to Clara but doesn't really form a relationship with her. He seems detached and keeps a lot to himself.

Meanwhile, Clara makes friends with Wendy who is a ranch girl and Angela whose mother runs a local dinner theater. Wendy has a twin brother Tucker who likes to tease Clara. Angela reveals that she is half angel. She was born after her mother was raped by a Black Wing - the dark angels. Clara had never heard of Black Wings. Her mother doesn't tell Clara very much more about being an angel than that she has a purpose. Clara learns a lot from Angela who has made research into angels a priority in her life. 

Christian breaks up with his girlfriend and, somehow, he and Clara attend the prom together. But, when the girlfriend has an emotional meltdown at the prom, Christian ditches Clara to take the old girlfriend home and Clara is left to go home with Tucker. Christian and Clara do form a tentative friendship after that shaky. On Clara's part, it is because of the visions that she sees about him. She believes that her purpose is to save him from a forest fire. 

When summer comes, the friends scatter. Wendy goes to a veterinary apprenticeship; Angela goes to spend time with her family in Italy (and to do more research about her angel heritage); Christian goes to New York to intern in a bank. Clara is left at home with Tucker. They become close friends and they fall in love. But her mother doesn't know about her relationship with Tucker. She is determined to push Clara at Christian because he is her destiny. 

Clara is conflicted between what she sees as her purpose and her relationship with Tucker. When Tucker finds out she is an angel, he is first frightened of her but he adjusts and accepts her as Clara. Tucker is the one who really knows her and likes her anyway. But her visions keep showing her having a relationship with Christian and saving him from a forest fire. When the fires come and Clara has to make a choice, what choice will she make?

I have quite a number of questions that weren't answered in this book. What was her mother's purpose? Why is she keeping so many secrets about angels from Clara? What in the world is going to happen next after the ambiguous ending of this story? When will the sequel be out?

This was an emotionally engaging story with well-drawn and likable characters. I recommend it to young adults who like paranormal stories and love triangles. I thought the book was well-written. I highlighted lots of memorable quotes on my Kindle. This book should be on your wishlist!

Favorite Quote:
Her wings extended like they were literally catching the air and pushed down once. The sound they made was like a single heartbeat low in the earth. My hair blew back with the force. She lifted off the ground slowly, impossibly graceful and light, still glowing all over. 


  1. OMG !!! I can't wait to read this book !! The cover is gorgeous (I love the gril's dress) !!

  2. I have enjoyed the angel based stories I've read thus far and this one was no exception. I thought the mix of Angel focus vs. "real life" was excellent and made it a quick interesting read.

  3. I am really looking forward to this one - especially after your review. Loved the quote!


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