Monday, January 3, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

By Cynthia Hand
January 4, 2011
HarperTeen, 448 pages

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.

— description

If you're thinking, "Oh, no, not another angel book," stop it right now.

Okay, so, yeah, it totally is another angel book. And that's definitely what I was thinking too. But shush and listen for a second.

I spent half of the book forgetting there was any supernatural business going on. So much of the book felt like a sweet contemporary romance that it's sure to appeal to the paranormal-wary.

The story was very well-crafted, with breadcrumb hints of future plot points scattered throughout to make it a page-turner from start to finish. And, oh, that finish! I could not stop thinking of this book for a day after I'd read it. There is a sequel on the way, but who can wait that long?

Beyond the romance (which, duh, always comes first), the best part of the book for me was the setting. Nature almost became a second character at a certain point. Cynthia Hand beautifully described the story's Wyoming setting, from the looming forests to the crisp ski slopes. The attention to detail here made the scenes pop in my imagination. Beautiful.


Now, I have to share my mental casting, because it was so clear to me throughout: Brando Eaton as Tucker and Darren Criss as Christian. Thoughts from anyone who's read Unearthly? Can you see it?

If you like this book, you might also like: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, another paranormal book that felt like so much more to me!

PS: Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for my review copy of this book.

Anna Reads young adult book blog


  1. Oh, this is awesome that you liked this book! :D I was seriously just about to pick it up and read it within a few mintues, haha. :) I love attention to detail, and the book sounds very sweet, so I'm curious to see how I'll like it. I'll definitely let you know once I've read it! :D (And what I think about your casting ;P) Great review ♥

  2. Okay, I was super wary of this and was going to avoid it by all means, but maybe I will pick it up one day, thanks to your good review. :)

  3. I was just commenting on another blog that I was a bit wary of this one based on the jacket copy but when I got into it I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the romance and the angel lore wasn't too overwhelming. Glad you liked it as well.

  4. Such a nice review! "Shush and listen to me." lol :) The cover alone makes me want to read Unearthly, but you just gave me an extra push. Aaaand, I LOVE Wyoming! We spent a lot of time there last summer, so I'm guessing that's an aspect of the book that I'll love!

  5. I was a bit wary of this one b/c I had seen it mentioned SO much through out the blogosphere.. and I usually like to take my time with books like that. However, YOUR review has made me want to purchase my own copy :-) and what's that I see? it comes out tomorrow? Yippee!!

    P.S. I totally trust your opinions again.. you have redeemed yourself after Delirium lol!

  6. I keep hearing rave reviews for Unearthly, and I often find angel stories either too cliche or too, well, sacrilegious. This sounds good though...great review, Anna :)

  7. It is amazing how many people were actually wary of this book. I was included on this. I haven't had the best luck yet with Angel books. I mean, I love the concept, I'm not one of those who doesn't like Angels and it's a nice mix up but the ones I have read, while I have enjoyed the ANGEL characters, were ultimately hot messes regarding the human characters and plots.

    Anyway, great review and I TOTALLY see the resemblance. Oh how I love Tucker *Swoon.* I especially loved the twist at the end with Christian and Tucker and with Clara and Christian. I totally wanted to see it early on, I kept praying for some sort of miracle to not go the way I was sure it would and to my amazement nothing was set in stone with a certain situation- I'm sure you know which I talk about since I adore Tucker and all.

    Great Review. I totally can't wait for book #2 which is crazy since the first isn't even out technically, yet.

  8. I posted this comment on another review, but I'm going to say it again. I loved this book and also the setting. After I finished it, there was an article in a magazine that I read about the Grand Tetons, and there was a picture of the arches made of antlers in Jackson Hole. Took me right back to Unearthly! It was neat to see them in real life, and know it wasn't made up.

  9. Okay, first off. Hello, celebrity boys. I don't care what book it is. I don't care if it's a Sesame Street book. If you show me that picture over and over with The Count stating "TWO gorgeous boys... AH! AH! AH!" I will buy it and love it and read it everyday.

    Secondly, I cannot wait to read this one. I'm so glad you loved it. I'm heading out to Borders in a few to see if they have a copy out a day early. FINGERS CROSSED.


    Okay, so I was so thinking "not *another* angel book" and really? that cover just does not do anything towards swaying me to buy the book. This review, however, does. so BRAVO. x

  11. Great review! I have this from Netgalley - it's next on my to-read list!

  12. I'm literally starting this book in 5 minutes. Now I'm even more excited to read it!

  13. I've been wanting to read this one for awhile, so I'm so excited that it finally comes out tomorrow! I think I'll have to swing by the bookstore after work to pick this one up :-)

  14. I have been looking forward to this book for ages and ages - I am happy to hear it does not disapoint!

  15. Great review! I have to admit I was a bit weary about this book when I first heard about it, though I was so glad when I gave it a chance and read it. Also, I can kind of see the actors you picked playing the roles of Christian and Tucker.

  16. Yay! So glad you liked this one as well, I absolutely adored it even though I haven't had much luck with the past angel stories. I just loved Tucker and Clara:) And I quite enjoy your casting choices!

  17. Oh I could not agree more. I fell totally in love with this book.

  18. Love the review, and your casting suggestions! Putting this one in the roundup!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

  19. Gah! You like Darren Criss! It is now affirmed that you are the coolest blogger EVER!!!

  20. amazing book..i just cant get over it..and yeah i like ur casting but who do u think should play the role as clara n others too??

  21. Great Review! I was completely hooked and finished it in 2 days :) (same with the 2nd one, Hallowed, which gets even better!!!!) I love Brando for Tucker. He's perfect for that cowboy-ish look. But, I think Darren is too mature looking. I think Josh Hutcherson would make a good Christian. But anyways, great review, and amazing book :) everybody should read it--and coming from a person who's read like 3 angel series, this one is VERY good!


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