What do you think of when the word “angel” comes to mind?  Personally, I think of celestial beings wearing white robes, sporting huge white wings, playing the harp, watching over the mere mortals below, and worshiping God.  I don’t typically think about fallen angels or the how and why of their fall.  I don’t think about angels serving a purpose here on Earth.  Thankfully, that’s where Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly, comes in.  She has thought about these things, and she’s crafted an amazing story of a girl struggling to reconcile her divine heritage with the thoughts, dreams, and desires of a teenage girl.  I was utterly captivated from the first page, and I hope you will be, too.

Clara Gardner is an angel-blood.  She’s not 100% angel, but she’s got enough angel in her (25% to be exact) that her life is less than normal.  She can speak any language, birds follow her around, she’s smart, athletic, and beautiful, and she has wings.  Clara is also trying to figure out her purpose.  (Clara’s mom, who is half-angel, tells her that all angel-bloods have specific purposes in their lives…the reasons they were created.  No pressure.)  She begins having visions of a fire and a boy, and her purpose, seemingly, has been revealed.

Clara’s vision lead her and her family from sunny California to the mountains of Wyoming.  So, not only does Clara have to figure out her angelic purpose, but she also has to start a new high school where everyone has known each other since kindergarten.  And she has to do all of this without telling anyone that she’s part angel.  (Again, no pressure.)  On Clara’s first day at this new school, though, things immediately begin to unravel when the subject of her vision, a popular guy named Christian, is standing right in front of her…and he’s gorgeous.  Could her purpose be to simply fall in love with the hottest guy in school?  Nah…fate is never so kind.

As Clara tries to figure out her purpose and where Christian fits in, she’s also confronted with some unexpected, and not-so-angelic, feelings for another guy in school, Tucker.  How can Clara be expected to focus all of her attention on one guy, who may hold her entire destiny in his hands, when there is another who could hold the key to her heart.  Decisions will have to be made.  Is Clara strong enough to serve her purpose if it means sacrificing those she loves?  Read Unearthly by Cynthia Hand to find out.

I absolutely adored this book.  Clara’s voice was perfect, and she wasn’t too whiney like so many female protagonists in YA novels.  I also loved how the author highlighted the differences in the characters of Christian and Tucker.  We may have another Edward vs. Jacob type war on our hands soon.  (If that reference made no sense to you, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few years.)  Unearthly ended on quite a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping we’ll be hearing more from these wonderfully divine characters soon.

For more information on Unearthly, the debut novel by author Cynthia Hand, visit http://cynthiahandbooks.com/.

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