Harper Teen, 435 pages
"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 that 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 this other 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 honestly 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."
Unearthly is Cynthia Hand's first novel, and I think she is going to be an excellent author. The book really takes off when Clara moves to her new school to fulfill her purpose. Unearthly has adventure, mystery, and romance all packed into one. There is enough action to keep the reader on his or her feet, but there isn't an overload. Clara's visions are what keep the mystery going. The reader sees them as she does, but her visions are sketchy, and, like Clara's mother, never quite tell her the whole story. In fact, the full story of the vision is kept from the reader up until the very end, when it's basically go-time. The romance definitely kept me reading, and is in the most unexpected places at times, which makes the story more interesting.
Unearthly is written in a first person point of view, from Clara Gardner's perspective. Because of this, the reader gets to know the main character very well, which I view as a plus. It gets the reader quite attached to the book, as well as emotionally invested in Clara.
One of the major necessities of a good YA book is a strong main character, and Clara is definitely that. Clara is strong and dedicated to her duties as a quarter- blood angel, but is also personable enough to have her own internal struggles in the book. Clara has a lot of choices to make because of her purpose, and I can honestly say that at the end of Unearthly, I could not have been more proud of Clara for sticking to her decisions.
The more minor characters in the book also play an important role. Angela Zorbino, who quickly becomes Clara's friend, is an eccentric, sometimes brutally honest character. Tucker adds a lot of humor to the story, and the reader almost can't help but like him. Wendy is Clara's first friend at her new school, and is always there for her.
This book is definitely a great read, and if you're considering reading it, I would suggest that you do. I'm excited for the next one in the series to come out!