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4/5 (235 évaluations)
385 pages
5 heures
Apr 19, 2011


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.

Apr 19, 2011

À propos de l'auteur

Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the Unearthly trilogy, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, and My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows). She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, who loves typewriters as much as she does, two cats, two kids, one crazy dog, and a mountain of books. Visit her online at www.cynthiahandbooks.com.

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Meilleures citations

  • There was no fire chasing us. We weren’t saving each other. We weren’t in love with each other. Instead, we were changed. We were thrown for a cosmic loop. I don’t know if I’ve fallen from grace, or if I’m on some sort of Heavenly Plan B.

  • He’s thinking of me, too. He’s thinking about the moment when he wiped the smudge of ash from my cheek, the way my skin felt under his fingers, the way I looked at him. He’s confused, churning, frustrated. He doesn’t know what’s ex-pected of him anymore.

  • He shies away. Then he grabs my hand, the one with the cut. I gasp as he jerks the bandage away.The wound is completely healed. There isn’t even a scar. We both peer down at my palm. Then Tucker’s hand falls away.

  • Well, I doubt that I would have done any damage to your truck if I’d hit you,” I retort. “It looks like the back end is about to rust off.”Wendy’s eyes widen. She seems genuinely alarmed.

  • The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the angels wentto the daughters of men and had children by them.They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Aperçu du livre

Unearthly - Cynthia Hand



In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees. He’s around my age, in that space between child and man, maybe all of seventeen years old. I’m not sure how I know this. I can only see the back of his head, his dark hair curling damply against his neck. I feel the dry heat of the sun, so intense, drawing the life from everything. There’s a strange orange light filling the eastern sky. There’s the heavy smell of smoke. For a moment I’m filled with such a smothering grief that it’s hard to breathe. I don’t know why. I take a step toward the boy, open my mouth to call his name, only I don’t know it. The ground crunches under my feet. He hears me. He starts to turn. One more second and I will see his face.

That’s when the vision leaves me. I blink, and it’s gone.

Chapter 1

On Purpose

The first time, November 6 to be exact, I wake up at two a.m. with a tingling in my head like tiny fireflies dancing behind my eyes. I smell smoke. I get up and wander from room to room to make sure no part of the house is on fire. Everything’s fine, everybody sleeping, tranquil. It’s more of a campfire smoke, anyway, sharp and woodsy. I chalk it up to the usual weirdness that is my life. I try, but can’t get back to sleep. So I go downstairs. And I’m drinking a glass of water at the kitchen sink, when, with no other warning, I’m in the middle of the burning forest. It’s not like a dream. It’s like I’m physically there. I don’t stay long, maybe all of thirty seconds, and then I’m back in the kitchen, standing in a puddle of water because the glass has fallen from my hand.

Right away I run to wake Mom. I sit at the foot of her bed and try not to hyperventilate as I go over every detail of the vision I can remember. It’s so little, really, just the fire, the boy.

Too much at once would be overwhelming, she says. That’s why it will come to you this way, in pieces.

Is that how it was when you received your purpose?

That’s how it is for most of us, she says, neatly dodging my question.

She won’t tell me about her purpose. It’s one of those off-limits topics. This bugs me because we’re close, we’ve always been close, but there’s this big part of her that she refuses to share.

Tell me about the trees in your vision, she says. What did they look like?

Pine, I think. Needles, not leaves.

She nods thoughtfully, like this is an important clue. But me, I’m not thinking about the trees. I’m thinking about the boy.

I wish I could have seen his face.

You will.

I wonder if I’m supposed to protect him.

I like the idea of being his rescuer. All angel-bloods have purposes of different types—some are messengers, some witnesses, some meant to comfort, some just doing things that cause other things to happen—but guardian has a nice ring to it. It feels particularly angelic.

I can’t believe you’re old enough to have your purpose, Mom says with a sigh. Makes me feel old.

"You are old."

She can’t argue with that, being that she’s over a hundred and all, even though she doesn’t look a day over forty. I, on the other hand, feel exactly like what I am: a clueless (if not exactly ordinary) sixteen-year-old who still has school in the morning. At the moment I don’t feel like there’s any angel blood in me. I look at my beautiful, vibrant mother, and I know that whatever her purpose was, she must have faced it with courage and humor and skill.

Do you think . . . , I say after a minute, and it’s tough to get the question out because I don’t want her to think I’m a total coward. Do you think it’s possible for me to be killed by fire?



Why would you say that?

It’s just that when I was standing there behind him, I felt so sad. I don’t know why.

Mom’s arms come around me, pull me close so I can hear the strong, steady beating of her heart.

Maybe the reason I’m so sad is that I’m going to die, I whisper.

Her arms tighten.

It’s rare, she says quietly.

But it does happen.

We’ll figure it out together. She hugs me closer and smoothes the hair away from my face the way she used to when I had nightmares as a kid. Right now you should rest.

I’ve never felt more awake in my life, but I stretch out on her bed and let her pull the covers over us. She puts her arm around me. She’s warm, radiating heat like she’s been standing in sunshine, even in the middle of the night. I inhale her smell: rosewater and vanilla, an old lady’s perfume. It always makes me feel safe.

When I close my eyes, I can still see the boy. Standing there waiting. For me. Which seems more important than the sadness or the possibility of dying some gruesome fiery death. He’s waiting for me.

I wake to the sound of rain and a soft gray light seeping through the blinds. I find Mom standing at the kitchen stove scraping scrambled eggs into a serving bowl, already dressed and ready for work like any other day, her long, auburn hair still wet from the shower. She’s humming to herself. She seems happy.

Morning, I announce.

She turns, puts down the spatula, and crosses the linoleum to give me a quick hug. Her smile is proud, like that time I won the district spelling bee in third grade: proud, but like she never expected anything less.

How are you doing this morning? Hanging in there?

Yeah, I’m fine.

What’s going on? my brother, Jeffrey, says from the doorway.

We turn to look at him. He’s leaning against the doorjamb, still rumpled with sleep and smelly and grumpy as usual. He’s never been what you might call a morning person. He stares at us. A flicker of fear crosses his face, like he’s bracing for horrible news, like someone we know has died.

Your sister has received her purpose. Mom smiles again, but it’s less jubilant than before. A cautious smile.

He looks me up and down like he’ll be able to find evidence of the divine somewhere on my body. You had a vision?

Yeah. About a forest fire. I shut my eyes and see it all again: the hillside crowded with pine trees, the orange sky, the smoke rolling past. And a boy.

How do you know it wasn’t just a dream?

Because I wasn’t asleep.

So what does it mean? he asks. All this angel-related information is new to him. He’s still in that time when the supernatural stuff can be exciting and cool. I envy him that.

I don’t know, I tell him. That’s what I’ve got to find out.

I have the vision again two days later. I’m in the middle of jogging laps around the outside edge of the Mountain View High School gymnasium, and suddenly it hits me, just like that. The world as I know it—California, Mountain View, the gym—promptly vanishes. I’m in the forest. I can actually taste the fire. This time I see the flames cresting the ridge.

And then I almost crash into a cheerleader.

Watch it, dorkina! she says.

I stagger to one side to let her pass. Breathing hard, I lean against the folded-up bleachers and try to get the vision back. But it’s like trying to return to a dream after you’re fully awake. It’s gone.

Crap. No one’s ever called me a dorkina before. Derivative of dork. Not good.

No stopping, calls Mrs. Schwartz, the PE teacher. We want to get an accurate record of how fast you can run a mile. That means you, Clara.

She must have been a drill sergeant in another life.

If you don’t make it in less than ten minutes you’ll have to run it again next week, she hollers.

I start running. I try to focus on the task at hand as I swoop around the next corner, keeping my pace quick to make up some of the time I’ve lost. But my mind wanders back to the vision. The shapes of the trees. The forest floor under my feet strewn with rocks and pine needles. The boy standing there with his back to me as he watches the fire approach. My suddenly so-very-rapidly-beating heart.

Last lap, Clara, says Mrs. Schwartz.

I speed up.

Why is he there? I wonder, not closing my eyes but still seeing his image like it’s burned onto my retinas. Will he be surprised to see me? My mind races with questions, but underneath them all there is only one:

Who is he?

At that point I blow past Mrs. Schwartz, sprinting hard.

Good, Clara! she calls. And then, a minute later, That can’t be right.

Slowing to a walk, I circle back to find out my time.

Did I get it under ten minutes?

I clocked you at five forty-eight. She sounds truly shocked. She looks at me like she’s having visions too, of me on the track team.

Whoops. I wasn’t paying attention, wasn’t holding back. I’m going to catch some major flack if Mom finds out.

I shrug.

The watch must have been messed up, I explain, trying for laid-back, hoping she’ll buy it even though it means I’ll have to run the stupid thing again next week.

Yes, she says, nodding distractedly. I must have started it wrong.

That night when Mom gets home she finds me slouched on the couch watching reruns of I Love Lucy.

That bad, huh?

"It’s my fallback when I can’t find Touched by an Angel," I reply sarcastically.

She pulls a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby out of a paper sack. Like she read my mind.

You’re a goddess, I say.

Not quite.

She holds up a book: Trees of North America, A Guide to Field Identification.

Maybe my tree’s not in North America.

Let’s just start with this.

We take the book to the kitchen table and bend over it together, searching for the exact type of pine tree from my vision. To someone on the outside we’d look like nothing more than a mother helping her daughter with her homework, not a pair of part-angels researching a mission from heaven.

That’s it, I say at last, pointing to a picture in the book and then rocking back in my chair, feeling pretty pleased with myself. The lodgepole pine.

Twisted yellowish needles found in pairs, Mom reads from the book. Brown, egg-shaped cone?

I didn’t get a close look at the pinecones, Mom. It’s just the right shape, with the branches starting partway up the trunk like that, and it feels right, I answer around a spoonful of ice cream.

Okay. She consults the book again. "It looks like the lodgepole pine is found exclusively in the Rocky Mountains and the northwestern coast of the U.S. and Canada. The Native Americans liked to use the trunks for the main supports in their wigwams. Hence the name lodgepole. And, she continues, it says here that the cones require extreme heat—like, say, from a forest fire—to open and release their seeds."

"This is so educational," I quip. Still, the idea of a tree that only grows in burned places sends a quiver of excitement through me. Even the tree has a kind of predestined meaning.

Good. So we know roughly where this will happen, says Mom. Now all we have to do is narrow it down.

And then what? I examine the picture of the pine tree, suddenly imagining the branches in flames.

Then we’ll move.

Move? As in leave California?

Yes, she says. Apparently she’s serious.

But— I sputter. What about school? What about my friends? What about your job?

You’ll go to a new school, I imagine, and make new friends. I’ll get a new job, or find a way to do my job from home.

What about Jeffrey?

She gives a little laugh and pats my hand like it’s a silly question. Jeffrey will come, too.

Oh yeah, he’ll love that, I say, thinking about Jeffrey with his army of friends and his never-ending parade of baseball games, wrestling matches, football practices, and everything else. We have lives, Jeffrey and I. For the first time it occurs to me that I’m in for so much more than I’ve anticipated. My purpose is going to change everything.

Mom closes the book about trees and meets my eyes solemnly across the kitchen table.

This is the big stuff, Clara, she says. This vision, this purpose—it’s why you’re here.

I know. I just didn’t think we’d have to move.

I look out the window into the yard I’ve grown up playing in, my old swing set that Mom has never gotten around to taking down, the row of rosebushes against the back fence that have been there for as long as I can remember. Behind the fence I can barely make out the hazy outline of the distant mountains that have always been the edges of my world. I can hear the Caltrain rumble as it crosses Shoreline Boulevard, and, if I concentrate hard enough, the faint music from Great America two miles away. It seems impossible that we would ever leave this place.

A corner of Mom’s mouth quirks up into a sympathetic smile.

You thought you could just fly in somewhere for the weekend, complete your purpose, and fly back?

Yeah, maybe. I glance away sheepishly. When are you going to tell Jeffrey?

I think that should wait until we know where we’re going.

Can I be there when you tell him? I’ll bring popcorn.

Jeffrey’s turn will come, she says, a muted sadness coming up in her eyes, that look she gets when she thinks we’re growing up too fast. When he receives his purpose you’ll have to deal with that too.

And then we’ll move again?

We’ll go where his purpose leads us.

That’s crazy, I say, shaking my head. This all seems crazy. You know that, right?

Mysterious ways, Clara. She grabs my spoon and digs a big chunk of Chubby Hubby out of the carton. She grins, shifting back into mischievous, playful Mom right before my eyes. Mysterious ways.

Over the next couple weeks the vision repeats every two or three days. I’ll be minding my own business and then bang—I’m in a service announcement for Smokey the Bear. I come to expect it at odd times, on the ride to school, in the shower, eating lunch. Other times I get the sensation without the vision itself. I feel the heat. I smell smoke.

My friends notice. They stick me with an unfortunate new nickname: Cadet, as in Space Cadet. I guess it could be worse. And my teachers notice. But I get the work done, so they don’t give me too much grief when I spend the class period scribbling away in my journal on what can’t possibly be class notes.

If you looked at my journal a few years ago, that fuzzy pink diary I had when I was twelve with Hello Kitty on the cover, locked with a flimsy gold key I kept on a chain around my neck to keep it safe from Jeffrey’s prying eyes, you’d see the ramblings of a perfectly normal girl. There are doodles of flowers and princesses, entries about school and the weather, movies I liked, music I danced around to, my dreams of playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, or how Jeremy Morris sent one of his friends to ask me to be his girlfriend and of course I said no because why would I want to go out with someone too cowardly to ask me out himself?

Then comes the angel diary, which I started when I was fourteen. This one’s a midnight blue spiral-bound notebook with a picture of an angel on it, a serene, feminine angel who looks eerily like Mom, with red hair and golden wings, standing on the sliver of the crescent moon surrounded by stars, beams of light radiating from her head. In it I jotted down everything Mom ever told me about angels and angel-bloods, every fact or piece of speculation I could coax out of her. I also recorded my experiments, like the time I cut my forearm with a knife just to see if I would bleed (which I did, a lot) and carefully noted how long it took to heal (about twenty-four hours, from when I made the cut to when the little pink line completely disappeared), the time I spoke Swahili to a man in the San Francisco airport (imagine the surprise for both of us), or how I could do twenty-five grands jetés back and forth across the floor of the ballet studio without getting winded. That was when my mom started seriously lecturing me about keeping it cool, at least in public. That’s when I started to find myself, not just Clara the girl, but Clara the angel-blood, Clara the supernatural.

Now my journal (simple, black, moleskin) focuses entirely on my purpose: sketches, notes, and the details of the vision, especially when they involve the mysterious boy. He constantly lingers at the edges of my mind—except for those disorienting moments when he moves blindingly to center stage.

I grow to know him through his shape in my mind’s eye. I know the sweep of his broad shoulders, his carefully disheveled hair, which is a dark, warm brown, long enough to cover his ears and brush against his collar in the back. He keeps his hands tucked into the pockets of his black jacket, which is kind of fuzzy, I notice, maybe fleece. His weight is always shifted slightly to one side, as if he’s getting ready to walk away. He looks lean, but strong. When he begins to turn I can see the faintest outline of his cheek, and it never fails to make my heart beat faster and my breath hitch in my throat.

What will he think of me? I wonder.

I want to be awe-inspiring. When I appear to him in the forest, when he finally turns and sees me standing there, I want to at least look the part of an angel. I want to be all glowy and floaty like my mom. I’m not bad looking, I know. Angel-bloods are a fairly attractive bunch. I have good skin and my lips are naturally rosy so I never wear anything but gloss. I have very nice knees, or so I’m told. But I’m too tall and too skinny, and not in the willowy supermodel sort of way but in a storklike, all-arms-and-legs sort of way. And my eyes, which come across as storm-cloud gray in some lights and gunmetal blue in others, seem a bit too big for my face.

My hair is my best feature, long and wavy, bright gold with a hint of red, trailing behind me wherever I go like an afterthought. The problem with my hair is that it’s also completely unruly. It tangles. It catches in things: zippers, car doors, food. Tying it back or braiding it never works. It’s like a living thing trying to break free. Within moments of wrestling it down, there are strands in my face, and within the span of an hour it usually slides out of its confines completely. It takes the word unmanageable to a whole new level.

So with my luck, I’ll never make it in time to save the boy in the forest because my hair will have snagged on a tree branch a mile back.

Clara, your phone’s ringing! Mom hollers from the kitchen. I jump, startled. My journal lays open on my desk in front of me. On the page is a careful sketch of the back of the boy’s head, his neck, his tousled hair, the hint of cheek and eyelashes. I don’t remember drawing it.

Okay! I yell back. I close the journal and slide it under my algebra textbook. Then I run downstairs. It smells like a bakery. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, and Mom’s been making pies. She’s wearing her fifties housewife apron (which she’s had since the fifties, although she wasn’t a housewife back then, she assures us) and it’s dusted with flour. She holds the phone out to me.

It’s your dad.

I raise an eyebrow at her in a silent question.

I don’t know, she says. She hands me the phone, then turns and discreetly exits the room.

Hi, Dad, I say into the phone.


There’s a pause. Three words into our conversation and he’s already out of things to say.

So what’s the occasion?

For a moment he doesn’t say anything. I sigh. For years I used to practice this speech about how mad I was at him for leaving Mom. I was three years old when they split. I don’t remember them fighting. All I retained from the time they were together are a few brief flashes. A birthday party. An afternoon at a beach. Him standing at the sink shaving. And then there’s the brutal memory of the day he left, me standing with Mom in the driveway, her holding Jeffrey on her hip and crying brokenheartedly as he drove away. I can’t forgive him for that. I can’t forgive him for a lot of things. For moving clear across the country to get away from us. For not calling enough. For never knowing what to say when he does call. But most of all I can’t get past the way Mom’s face pinches up whenever she hears his name.

Mom won’t discuss what happened between them any more than she’ll dish about her purpose. But here’s what I do know: My mother is as close to being the perfect woman as this world is likely to see. She’s half angel, after all, even though my dad doesn’t know that. She’s beautiful. She’s smart and funny. She is magic. And he gave her up. He gave us all up.

And that, in my book, makes him a fool.

I just wanted to know if you’re okay, he says finally.

Why wouldn’t I be okay?

He coughs.

I mean, it’s rough being a teenager, right? High school. Boys.

Now this conversation has gone from unusual to downright strange.

Right, I say. Yeah, it’s rough.

Your mom says your grades are good.

You talked to Mom?

Another silence.

How’s life in the Big Apple? I ask, to steer the conversation away from myself.

The usual. Bright lights. Big city. I saw Derek Jeter in Central Park yesterday. It’s a terrible life.

He can be charming, too. I always want to be mad at him, to tell him that he shouldn’t bother trying to bond with me, but I can never keep it up. The last time I saw him was two years ago, the summer I turned fourteen. I’d been practicing my I-hate-you speech big-time in the airport, on the plane, out of the gate, in the terminal. And then I saw him waiting for me by the baggage claim, and I filled up with this bizarre happiness. I launched myself into his arms and told him I’d missed him.

I was thinking, he says now. Maybe you and Jeffrey could come to New York for the holidays.

I almost laugh at his timing.

I’d like to, I say, but I kind of have something important going on right now.

Like locating a forest fire. Which is my one reason for being on this Earth. Which I will never be able to explain to him in a thousand years.

He doesn’t say anything.

Sorry, I say, and I shock myself by actually meaning it. I’ll let you know if things change.

Your mom also told me you passed Driver’s Ed. He’s clearly trying to change the subject.

Yes, I took the test and parallel parked and everything. I’m sixteen. I’m legal now. Only Mom won’t let me take the car.

Maybe it’s time we see about getting you a car of your own.

My mouth drops open. He’s just full of surprises.

And then I smell smoke.

The fire must be farther away this time. I don’t see it. I don’t see the boy. A hot gust of gritty wind sends my hair flying out of its ponytail. I cough and turn away from the blast, swiping hair out of my face.

That’s when I see the silver truck. I’m standing a few steps away from where it’s parked on the edge of a dirt road. AVALANCHE, it says in silver letters on the back. It’s a huge truck with a short, covered bed. It’s the boy’s truck. Somehow I just know.

Look at the license plate, I tell myself. Focus on that.

The plate is a pretty one. It’s mostly blue: the sky, with clouds. The right side is dominated by a rocky, flat-topped mountain that looks vaguely familiar. On the left is the black silhouette of a cowboy astride a bucking horse, waving his hat in the air. I’ve seen it before, but I don’t automatically know it. I try to read the numbers on the plate. At first all I can make out is the large number stacked on the left side: 22. And then the four digits on the other side of the cowboy: 99CX.

I expect to feel crazy happy then, excited to have such an enormously helpful piece of information handed to me as easily as that. But I’m still in the vision, and the vision is moving on. I turn away from the truck and walk quickly into the trees. Smoke drifts across the forest floor. Somewhere close by I hear a crack, like a branch falling. Then I see the boy, exactly the same as he’s always been. His back turned. The fire suddenly licking the top of the ridge. The danger so obvious, so close.

The crushing sadness descends on me like a curtain dropping. My throat closes. I want to say his name. I step toward him.

Clara? You okay?

My dad’s voice. I float back to myself. I’m leaning against the refrigerator, staring out the kitchen window where a hummingbird hovers near my mom’s feeder, a blur of wings. It darts in, takes a sip, then flits away.


He sounds alarmed. Still dazed, I lift the phone to my ear.

Dad, I think I’m going to have to call you back.

Chapter 2

Yonder Is Jackson Hole

On the road to Wyoming, there are lots of signs. Most of them warn of some kind of danger: WATCH FOR DEER. WATCH FOR FALLING ROCK. TRUCKS, CHECK YOUR BRAKES. TUNE IN FOR ROAD CLOSURES. ELK CROSSING NEXT 2 MILES. SNOW SLIDE AREA, NO PARKING OR STOPPING. I drive my car behind Mom’s the whole way from California with Jeffrey in the passenger seat, trying not to freak out about how all the signs point to the fact that we’re headed someplace wild and dangerous.

At the moment I’m driving through a forest made up entirely of lodgepole pines. Talk about surreal. I can’t get over the sight of all the Wyoming license plates on the cars speeding past, many with the fateful number 22 on the left side. That number has brought us a long way, through six short weeks of crazy preparation, selling our house, saying good-bye to the friends and neighbors I’ve known my entire life, and packing up and moving to a place where none of us knows a single solitary soul: Teton County, Wyoming, which according to Google is county number 22, population just over 20,000. That’s roughly five people per every square mile.

We’re moving to the boonies. All because of me.

I’ve never seen so much snow. It’s terrifying. My new Prius (courtesy of dear old Dad) is getting a real workout on the snowy mountain road. But there’s no turning back now. The guy at the gas station assured us that the pass through the mountains is perfectly safe, so long as a storm doesn’t come up. All I can do is clutch the steering wheel and try not to pay attention to the way the mountainside plunges off a few feet from the edge of the road.

I spot the WELCOME TO WYOMING sign.

Hey, I say to Jeffrey. This is it.

He doesn’t answer. He slumps in the passenger seat, angry music pounding from his iPod. The farther we get from California and his sports teams and his friends, the more sullen he becomes. After two days on the road, it’s getting old. I grab the wire and yank one of his earbuds out.

What? he says, glaring at me.

We’re in Wyoming, doofus. We’re almost there.

Woo freaking hoo, he says, and stuffs the earbud back in.

He’s going to hate me for a while.

Jeffrey was a pretty easygoing kid before he found out about the angel stuff. But I know how that goes. One minute you’re a happy fourteen-year-old—good at everything you try, popular, fun—the next you’re a freak with wings. It takes some adjustment. And it was only like a month after he got the news that I received my little mission from heaven. Now we’re dragging him off to Nowheresville, Wyoming, in January, no less, right smack in the

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  • (3/5)
    How do I start this review? I suppose I'll begin with the characters. I liked Clara. I thought she was very much an average teenage girl who is trying to understand her place in the world. Unfortunately for her, she has the added problem of trying to understand where her angel half fits in as well. Her friendships with Angela and Wendy were cute and believable. Tucker was a sweetheart. Then there's Christian. Perfect, flawless Christian. He was the one character that I really couldn't connect with. I think Cynthia Hand built some fantastic characters, but I feel as though Christian was just too perfect for his own good. Maybe this is setting him up for the next book, I wish I knew!

    In terms of writing, I thought that Unearthly moved along at a very nice pace, and that the writing flowed. I immensely enjoyed the fact that although Hand offers her readers a lot of descriptions, none of them go overboard. She allows you to settle yourself into the scene before taking off again, and I loved that! The best part for me was the romance aspect of the book. I liked that Clara is torn, and that she shows her true colors when she is around Tucker. The inner battle between her angel side and her human side really shows through her time with Tucker, and it makes her so much more deep as a character. This was my favorite part of the book, hands down. If not for Tucker, I would not have been nearly as involved in this book.

    The ending is what frustrated me most, and I'm not talking about just the last chapter. The whole end of the book spirals slowly and leaves the reader hanging on a string. I'm not one to be upset about cliffhangers. In fact, I rather love them! However this book just didn't feel finished. By the end of Unearthly my mouth was hanging open and I wanted to cry. There were just too many unfinished story lines, so many things that weren't tied up. It felt like someone handed me half a book and walked away. Perhaps it's just me, and it may well be, but I was a little upset about that. I know this is a series, but I still felt a little cheated.

    I'm being honest when I say that my opinion of this book was probably influenced by the fact that it was so over hyped before I read it, and that I had too high of expectations. That's not to say that Unearthly isn't a good read. It truly is! It's sweet, and well-written. However there are a lot of books about angels out there, and that makes it easy to fall into a set of rules that make every book seem like every other book. I liked Clara, I liked her story, I just didn't feel like it was anything that I hadn't read before. Add in the feeling of an unfinished storyline, and I just couldn't fall in love as much as I wanted to. I do recommend you give it a try though. Unearthly is the type of read that will leave you a little frustrated at the end, but hopefully wanting more.
  • (4/5)
    Review also posted at The Wandering Fangirl.I've been reading a whole lot of YA recently, most of which seems familiar and uninteresting. Unearthly is leaps ahead of the pack simply because Clara, our heroine, is insanely likeable and easy to relate to. She's not perfect, but she's not so imperfect, either; she falls squarely in the middle somewhere along with the rest of us readers, and that's what I relate to the most. She's that girl who is unsure of where she is in life or what she's doing, but she's trying her best with it all.As for the love triangle that's become so prevalent in YA fiction lately, I found it was done pretty well here. Both boys (Christian and Tucker) aren't as filled in as they should be, but there's still enough about them to see why Clara falls for both. The book summary, which tries to market the romance as good boy vs bad boy, doesn't do the triangle justice. Christian is the sort of boy all of us fell for in school once upon a time. Tucker is the boy we probably had as a friend and never thought of as romantic potential. Each has their own merits and faults, arriving at certain thoughts/plot points in what seems like a natural fashion.That's what makes Unearthly so successful, in my eyes: it's all so natural, despite the decidedly fantastical power Clara has. I also appreciated that for being an angel, the book doesn't come down heavily on one side of religion or another. It simply shows us the world through Clara's eyes.
  • (4/5)
    Read the full review here.Unearthly is a captivating book, with interesting characters and unique angel lore. My favourite part was getting to know more about angels and their Purposes on Earth. The novel starts off by describing the visions that Clara gets to tell her about her Purpose, which involve a mysterious boy. I think the visions are wonderful way to engage readers, especially since each one reveals something new and exciting. I found Clara’s struggles to retain normalcy in her life to be realistic; she has found out she is an angel, and she accepts it, but it is difficult for her to think of herself as not human. Her mother seems to think that Clara’s Purpose, which revolves around saving Christian, means she should not spend time making friends and getting to know other people, which I thought was very unfair on her. The more she finds out about angels, however, the more I wanted to know, and I noted that she slowly grew to accept herself and take initiative to fulfil her Purpose. The characters in the book didn’t inspire empathy; I felt like I was always kept away from their real thoughts and feelings.Wendy and Angela were controlling friends, who only liked Clara when she conformed to their ideas. Although I wanted to like Christian, I felt he held too much back. He was in the periphery of the story, even though the visions and Clara’s Purpose are about him. Unearthly was a great read, and I am looking forward to starting Hallowed to find out more about angels and Clara’s purpose. Young adult readers who like books about angels will enjoy Unearthly because of the fresh spin it puts on the lore.
  • (5/5)
    Really beautiful writing and storytelling for a first novel. This story shows how fickle life can be, no matter how much you plan for something things don't necessarily go as planned. And sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and still feel like crap or make a mess of things no matter what route you choose. This story was far different from any other paranormal books about angels I've read, it was probably the most interesting too. Clara is an angel with a purpose and her teenage life will be consumed with successfully completing that purpose. Destiny has Clara's life in the palm of her hand's and is playing a game of emotional ping pong with her life. And I will say that I am probably more pissed off than Clara is.

    I really like the characters, there seems to be a mystery surrounding everyone, it's like everyone has a secret, and the fact that the book ended with most of their secrets intact is a good sign for what's to come in the next book. I was so captivated and engaged in Cynthia Hand's character and story building, can't wait to see where it goes.

    This is not a fast paced story, but it was so interesting that the tempo was not a problem for me. I think it was more about what would you or could you give up to take the path your heart desires most. And about some angels and other stuff too.
  • (4/5)
    Really enjoyed this one. An angel based YA romance surprisingly well written. Great world building, fantastic characters. Also managed to handle the religious side of the angel theme very well without being annoying and preachy. Really unique on angel powers.

    There was a love triangle, but the turn it took wound up really surprising me! Another great thing about this book was...a YA parent who wasn't clueless or an absentee parent. Clara's relationship with her mom was a breath of fresh air. So great to see a parent who's really involved with her daughter and without being too over protective. Not all smooth sailing, they did have some issues to work through. But it was very well done.

    All in all a fantastic read.

    And a square crossed off for Book Bingo - a Strong parent/child relationship.
  • (4/5)
    I was so, so dubious going into this book. In fact, because of other angel books, I had no intention of reading it at all, until someone who feels similar convinced me to read this because she liked it. And though there were a few drawbacks for me, I'm really glad I read it. This puts the other angel books -- and some paranormal YA in general -- to shame. quote from the middle of the ARC of the book (may have changed in the final):"I won't be that girl who lets the guy treat her like crap and still fawns all over him." Aaaand we have a winner! I'm sold from this line alone... I've got to give it to Cynthia Hand -- she didn't write a fill in the blanks novel. It would have been very easy to follow the expected pattern, and to make everything really angsty and melodramatic, with a lot of Romeo and Juliet-esque vows of lovetothedeathbecauseweweremadeforeachother andnothingcancomebetweennussohelpmegod. The romance that was there felt natural and not over the top. It flowed and grew in a realistic manner, and was more charming because of it. I think the relationship itself demonstrates one of the best aspects of the book: Clara and most of the characters in the novel are *gasp* well-adjusted. I know, it's a novel concept, but it was so refreshing to read from the POV of a character who has a brain that she actually uses, and who considers her decisions and the impacts they will make. I liked, too, that even though Clara is an angel-blood and thus sort of powerful and good at most things, she still struggles to figure things out, and she has to work at some things, as well as still trying to figure out who she is and what she wants, in spite of her angel "Purpose". It made her so much more relatable and likable. The characters may have been a little too easy and perfect at times, but they were more authentic-feeling than a lot of the unrelatable caricatures that generally populate these books. The few drawbacks I had, big as they are, wouldn't keep me from recommending this, sometimes even enthusiastically. I already mentioned that things were a little too easy and perfect at times, and it can leave you with a slightly saccharine taste if you let it. Some key things are far too convenient (and far too recognizable for the plot devices they are), and I always respect an author more when they're willing to make some tough choices in the name of reality; I don't think this book would have suffered with a little more of that. But I think there are hints of darker stuff, and it is almost balanced by it. The biggest issue, though, is that, as good as the book was, in the end I was left wondering what really happened. Vampires and Tofu pegged it when she said "Nothing was really resolved and that left me feeling like I had read an extended prologue instead of a complete story. I think perhaps not every story is meant to be a trilogy." It did leave me wondering if it was originally meant to be a trilogy, or if that was forced on Cynthia Hand. It was like the difference between a TV series and a movie: a movie cuts right to the heart of everything because there's a limited amount of time to make things happen. A TV series, though, can bring you in slowly and let you get to know everything and everyone in bits and pieces, and begin figuring things out yourself. This is fine, but if the first season was just a "getting to know you" season that ended before any of the real drama happened -- well, I'm not sure it would be renewed for a second season... That being said, it wasn't like I felt I had wasted my time reading it. Yes, everything that was built up was sort of undone by the end, and I feel like going into book 2 will feel like just starting the series. But in spite of that, it was still very enjoyable, and I will absolutely be reading book 2, as well as recommending this one.
  • (5/5)
    While I really enjoyed this story about Clara and her angelic powers, I was most absorbed in the message that she had a specific purpose to fulfill. It's a powerful idea for everyone to consider...just what is my purpose? The slow and steady romantic connection between Clara and Tucker is sweet as well.
  • (5/5)
    I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. This was one where I was drawn to the cover and the story, but wondering if it was going to be another one of those teen love triangle paranormal books. Well it kind of was, but it was a really fantastic book that (although there was a love triangle) there was also really neat ideas about angels, predestined actions, etc.Clara has always known she is one-quarter angel. When she starts having visions her and her mother realize that her one true purpose is being revealed. Unfortunately that purpose takes place in Wyoming, not in their current home of California. So Clara, her mother, and brother move. Now Clara is in a school, with all new people and her angelic powers are making themselves known in the most embarrassing ways. The boy she believes she is destined to save is one of the popular ones, and Clara just can't seem to get him to pay attention to her. Then over summer break Clara finds herself falling in love with someone different. Now Clara is torn; will this new found love mess up her one true purpose? This was a fantastic book. I loved Clara and her family. There is just a lot of love and honesty (most of the time) between Clara and her mother; it was nice to see such a functional family setting in a teen book like this. Clara was a very likable heroine; she tries so hard to do what it right and is pretty normal...except for all of the angel stuff. The angel stuff is pretty neat; Clara gains some powers that are really nifty but never overwhelming.Clara's two love interests work very well. Both of the boys have good and bad traits to their personalities. Loved the stuff about the angels and how Clara's crazy smart friend Angela does all of the research to better understand angelic history. I am very curious to see what we learn about angels and their powers/history in the upcoming books because this book just barely scratches the surface of all of that.The books moves at a good clip, I was never bored and really enjoyed reading it. The writing was spot on, super easy to read and beautiful at times as well. The dialogue sounded very natural. The plot was well done leaving enough things mysterious that it really pulled you forward. The book ended well, wrapping up the main storyline while revealing some new mysteries for the next book. There were some crazy twists at the end that I kind of suspected were going to happen; I still ended up being surprised though by the way things worked out. I love a story that can surprise to the end.Overall a really excellent debut in the paranormal young adult genre. Definitely a series I will keep reading and I am so glad I read this book. I basically loved everything about it. So if you like young adult reads and angel mythology check out this series. It is incredibly well-written an easy and fun read; the story will suck you in with the mysterious plot and the engaging characters. Really looking forward to the next book in this series.
  • (4/5)
    f you're looking for a refreshing and powerful read, look no further! Unearthly is here! This is definitely one of the books that really caught my attention. Wow.There's a huge hype about this book and after reading it, I knew why. This is a kind of the book I've never read before. The writing was genuine and almost real. Cynthia will make you feel as if you're really standing on Clara's shoes. Cynthia has her own way of conveying her message from her words straight to her audience's hearts and imagination. Speaking of characters, the characterization is just spectacular! Clara is such a worthy of a protagonist. Definitely one of my favorite heroine. Ever. She's just like any other girl except for the wings and the hair-color-changing-thing. She's funny, tough and she has a strong faith on her own convictions in life which is my favorite thing about her. Another reason why she's perfect is because she's flawed, she's insecure and self-centered. I think she's the real reason why I love the book, Clara, herself. I also enjoyed other characters like Angela, she's weird and hilarious, my ideal bestfriend.The plot was just fantastic. The twists and turns and the unexpected surprises thrown here and there is what makes the book a page turner.Another reason why I love this book is the Christian-Clara-Tucker love triangle. It definitely adds a certain tasteful flavor into the story. Now, if I were to choose between Christian and Tucker...I'm on Team Christian. Although, the first book obviously focused on Tucker and Clara, those brief but cute moments of Clara and Christian are one of my favorites! Honestly, the chemistry between Tucker and Clara did not make a certain impact on me, but what I really like about their relationship was it did not happen instantly. Their relationship has gist. However, I'm still hoping that the second book will focus a little bit more about Christian, especially, after that twist about him towards the end.Overall, I loved this book. I'm giving this a heavenly 4 of 5 stars. I recommend this to those who loves Paranormal romance with an engrossing twist! I'm very excited for the second one.
  • (4/5)
    Loved this series and the setting. It made me want to move to Jackson Hole.
  • (4/5)
    I have mixed feelings with this book. It's not as good as some of the other Angel books i've read but good enough that I'll probably be getting the second in the series. One thing that irked me though is the missing relationship between Angels and God. How are you going to write about Angels that dont pray?
  • (3/5)
    I am officially the odd man out regarding this book. While everyone rants and raves about this series I just sit here mumbling "I don't get it." This is obviously a personal favorite for many readers but it was just not for me. Clara's family is forced to uproot from sunny California to Jackson Hole, Wyoming when she has a vision of her Purpose. As someone with angel-blood running through her veins, she has to complete her Purpose or face the risk of becoming a fallen angel; it just so happens that her Purpose is a really cute boy with a dazzling smile. The plot was okay at most. It played out like a typical teen novel where the main character is the new girl in school, meets and swoons over the most popular guy at school while making an enemy out her best friend's brother who will become a leg in the inevitable love triangle. Nothing really grabbed my attention, not Clara, not her family, not her angel abilities, and definitely not her Purpose. Even though I was not a fan I honestly say that the novel never dragged and everything (for the most part) seemed well-timed. There were plot developments that seemed a little odd like the random encounters with fallen angels (or Black Wings) in an otherwise high school love story setting.The characters were...there? I think the most likeable character was Tucker, the intriguing cowboy who tips his hat and calls ladies "ma'am." Clara did have her moments of weakness which I did not approve of (say ditching her best friend at lunch to go to Pizza Hut to creepily watch Christian from the corner) and continued being very indecisive when it was obvious what choice she should make (or heck, ALREADY made). I'm almost positive that the love triangle made me indifferent to this book. I LOATHE them because they have become to typical that the formula plays out itself with no mystery or originality left. Girl meets Perfect Boy and throws self at boy who is A) already in a relationship or B) wants nothing to do with her. Another boy (usually Perfect Boy's best friend) makes the moves on Girl and they eventually fall head over heels in love. Perfect Boy gets jealous and Girl gets all indecisive for no reason at all, all while struggling to pass Algebra I. I hate it. And I'm taking a stand against it!Mini rant regarding love triangles aside, the writing was solid and used the first person effectively. Clara's determination to complete her task was very appealing and the small bits of information that was dropped regarding the history was angels was very interesting and had me hoping that Hand would reveal more about this mysterious world. While this book was not for me, Hand was a strong writing style with a world that is sure to grow and entice readers. I recommend this book for fans of paranormal romances (angels) in high school.
  • (4/5)
    I have heard so many good things about this book over the last week that I couldn't delay reading it any longer. And while it wasn't the best book I've ever read, it was still fun and enjoyable to read. The author did a good job of building on existing mythology and creating some interesting characters to follow. I particularly enjoyed what little I got to see of Wendy, as I could relate to her a fair bit.I was quite impressed by the way the romantic plot was handled in this book. You expect, right from the first page, that Clara and Christian will be the ultimate romantic couple, having their sappy moments and the on-again-off-again thing that seems so popular in teen novels these days. Instead Clara ends up with more of an interest in Tucker, who was something of a jerk to her in the beginning, and that interest distracts her from Christian. I have to give the author kudos for that one, since even if it isn't unique in the world of teen romance, it's certainly getting to be uncommon.The author's got a good gift for style and pacing, too. The writing is very fluid, and it reads easily and well for a variety of age groups, not just the teenagers for whom it's intended. If she keeps writing like this, I can see big things in her future.My biggest beef with this book is that it feels like only half a book instead of being part of a trilogy. Too much was hinted at but never dealt with, too many times the reader is given glimpses of something that should have at least been thought about more but never was. It isn't always easy to write a trilogy so that all the books can stand up on their own and yet continue as part of a series, but I think this one could have benefitted perhaps from being a 2-book deal instead of a 3-book deal, putting more of the story into each book instead of doing so much hinting. I enjoy a good series as much as the next person, but the way it was done here bugged me a little.Still, in spite of that, a good story was woven and I do want to see what happen in future installments of the series. I have to say this book was definitely worth the good reviews I've been seeing.
  • (5/5)
    I read this in less than 24 hours on a work day :) Loved it!!! The only thing I could criticize is the cliff-hanger ending. I like things to be a little wrapped up while I'm waiting for the next book to come out. But this was a great read. I can't wait to find out what is going to happen next. Tucker or Christian, Tucker or Christian? I'm not even sure what team I'm on, I love them both. Maybe it's a Luke, Lea, Han triangle and it will all turn out happy. Except she's totally attracted to both of them, so that would be a little disturbing. Anyway, I highly recommend this book! I'm going to have to order more for my middle school library because it's going to go viral - 8th graders will eat this up. It's exciting and romantic without anything graphic.
  • (5/5)
    Clara is not only a teenage girl dealing with the usual teenage girl struggles, she's also a Quartarius--one quarter angel. Thankfully for Clara her mother is a half angel and there to help her through coming into her angel-yness (her father's not around or any part angel).

    Clara has started to have visions--well a vision, multiple times. The vision is there to tell her her 'purpose'. Every angel or angel-blood has a 'purpose', something they were put on Earth to do. After a while Clara is able to piece together the clues in her vision and knows where the event is going to take place.

    Soon, the family-Clara, her mother and her brother Jeffrey are moving to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to help Clara fulfill her purpose.

    On the first day of school she meets Christian--the boy at the center of her vision and their lives become linked. There's also Angela, the girl who possibly gives Clara a strange look during the classes' '3 Unique Facts About Me' exercise, Wendy--one of the self professed Invisibles who pretty much instantly becomes Clara's friend, and Tucker, Wendy's infuriating twin brother.

    And, of course, there's Clara's need to learn how to be a Quartarius, to learn what being an angel-blood entails and just how she's meant to fulfill her purpose. All while being the New Girl at the same time.

    Unearthly being about angels automatically made it different than the other, current paranormal stories, but Cynthia Hand's writing and imagination made it a different worth reading. Each of the characters had their own thing (or things) going on that made them interesting to read about and great additions to the story. I really loved that the setting was so fully utilized in this story, they didn't just live in some town because, the location inspired events in the story and was used almost as a character itself.

    And I can't say enough for my love of the romance in this book. It was not solely a romance but the romantic relationship in Unearthly was better written than most I've read in books where there was no supernatural element or other plotline. Hand created two characters I was rooting for from the beginning all the way through to the end. I loved both of them and I loved them together.

    The first few chapters of the book had me thinking it was just a really good book, but then when I picked it up again and it really got going, the story sucked me in and I couldn't put it down. (I had a cold and I kept thinking, 'Just a few more pages,' until I got up to take my cold medicine but the only getting up I did until the ending was to turn on a light!

    The development, pacing, characters, plot, and mythos of Uneartlhy are all brilliant. I really can't wait to read more from Cynthia Hand and I applaud her for this fantastic debut.

    a glorious 10/10

    (read this both via NetGalley egalley and a print ARC I won from PitchDarkBooks)
  • (4/5)
    Bubblebathbooks.net (aka Bubby and Sissy) found Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia Hand to be truly riveting and emotionally engaging books about love and choices and consequences. Amongst angels and humans, in fact. Set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, these first two books in the Unearthly Trilogy were so good that Sissy had to actually stop being a cheap skate for a minute and pre-order book three, Boundless, which comes out on January 22nd. Bubby read the first two books and then had actual deep and ponderous thoughts. That is not to say that these books are too heavy or serious, but they do make you think while you are completely engrossed in them. To read our full review, go to bubblebathbooks.net
  • (4/5)
    Angel books seem to be on the rise and this book definitely shows promise fora wonderful series. This angel book is slightly different from what you would expect in that Clara knows she is an angel and the revelation is not the focus of the story. Instead the main story line follows her as she must try and fulfill her angelic "purpose"of saving Christian from a fire. In order to do so Clara and her family pull up roots from Mountain View, California (and I was so excited to see that she was living in city just 20 minutes away from me!) and moves to Wyoming because that is where Clara and her mother finally figure out Christian lives.As expected Christian is the hottest and nicest guy in school but inconveniently is dating a popular, mean girl who has it in for Clara. Can I just stop and say I'm getting a little tired of these nice guys always dating the bitchy girl. I know some authors do this so the reader doesn't blame him for dumping his current girlfriend to fall in love with the new girl but come on! If you are so nice I'm sure there are other nice girls the guy could be dating and somehow work out a nice way of them splitting up. But back to the story, there is also the handsome guy, Tucker, who also falls for Clara and Clara has to figure out who to choose. Honestly, I did not feel all that much for Christian but I loved Tucker! The romantic tension was thick and you could feel the chemistry zinging between Clara and Tucker.This book leaves you with a lot of questions but definitely shows promise to be an awesome series.
  • (4/5)

    So many of these book covers are so repetitive..They all look alike....The girl, in a dress, looking down, up, far off or what ever other way they can face her. (I know, the author has little to no decision in the cover-from my understanding that is.) But, one thing I can say I love about the book is the color...I love the purple...And the dress! (yes, another typical flowing dress, but I just love it)...The young lady on the cover almost looks like a black and white type of photo places on a purple background...but, when the dress hits the light, you can see the deep purple...Which made me love it even more...And I do love the design of and around the word, Unearthly. I love the binding...When the cover is not on, even the book itself is pretty...


    Well, I'm disappointed. It didn't end the way I wanted or expected. Although it was a good book, not great, but good...I was just frustrated because of how it ended.

    I Love the two male characters in the book equally but for different reasons. One, was perfect, a little too perfect in my opinion...Something has to be wrong with this guy..I mean seriously! Then the other, although he seems perfect, you can just tell by how he acts and responds to many situations that there's something underneath it all that he's not saying/showing. But, I can say that although it didn't end how I expected in the relationship thing with the people in her life, it also didn't end as I expected with one of the characters she interacts with. And that's the one part of the ending that I loved.

    Clara's two best friends, well, one, I love, but not quite sure how much I trust her and what role she will play in the future...The other, is a little too jealous and pushy...Yes, I said jealous!!

    I can't really say too much without giving away the story.

    I may go on to the next in the series...It will be a while before I do because this one is so hard for me to get over.

    If you like books about Angels and being thrown for a loop...or two...then this one is very much worth the try in reading.

    Well, I guess that's all I can say, without giving away too much and end up with a bunch of spoilers. So, on to my next little adventure and trying to figure out who's live I will invade next!

    Happy Reading!! :-)
  • (5/5)
    Unearthly is a delightful read, focusing on Nephilim, or as they prefer in this book angel-blood. The writing is paced wonderfully and the story gripped me right away. Cynthia has created likable and easy to relate with characters, that I was emotionally invested in. Clara, the main character, is a great narrator- I could easily understand where she was coming from with her actions and emotions. I liked that she wasn't fully informed on the whole angel world, and that I got to learn with her, and that I was questioning everything just like her. I was able to relate with her- her insecurities, fears and doubts. She isn't a perfect character and I love her for that- I can see growth in her, and I feel more connected to her through her weaknesses. Not that she is a doormat- she has some fiest in her, which is commendable. She has to face some hard situations- choosing between love and destiny. Her friends, Angela and Wendy are fantastic- I would take them as my besties in an instant. They are funny, supportive, and they both have their own personalities. They both help Clara to grow in different but important ways. Wendy also pushes her brother, and Clara's love interest to her, and helps it to develop. There is a love triangle, which is very well written. One is her love, and one she has a crush on to begin with but it seems that he is her destiny. I am firmly on team Tucker, but I can see the appeal of Christian as well. I like that Tucker and Clara's relationship grows through friendship first, unlike with Christian, even though she sees him in visions, it seems to be an automatic thing, built more from physical attraction. It is hard to judge there though, because Clara does have a bigger purpose- and she doesn't know all the details, even at the end. The end is a cliff-hanger but it is not the worst I have encountered. We get some closure and the main theme of the book has happened, even though not fully resolved. Overall- I really liked this book and would recommend to pick it up when it releases or as you have a chance.
  • (4/5)
    Despite having read and been disappointed by a number of these paranormal series books, I still get really excited for every single one. Unearthly was no exception, except in the sense that this one proved not to be disappointing. Although this may not be a book I actually add to my personal library, I did love almost every minute of reading it and figuratively cannot wait for the next in the series.

    Angel books can be really awful, even in the context of how bad some of the teen paranormal romances can be. When you bring in the whole pesky religion business, which is somewhat unavoidable with the whole angel thing, a story can go from fun to preachy in less time than it takes to cross yourself. Hand does a good job with this delicate subject: she does not ignore the issue, but nor does she dwell on it. The book feels like fantasy not like an allegory or disguised lecture on the one true god. Maybe she's got an agenda with her angel story, but I don't think so.

    One of the things I appreciate about Unearthly, which falls into the realm of spoilers is that, even though there is a super perfect guy, she does not go for him. The boy in her purpose, Christian (for serious, she went there) is the super sexy guy with no faults who is dating the hot bitchy girl. She describes initial encounters with him thus: "And so far in the span of two weeks, the stars align exactly three times and he ends up in the desk next to mine. I smile and say hello. He smiles back and says hi. For a moment, an undeniable force seems to draw us together like magnets. But then he opens his notebook or checks his cell phone under his desk, signifying that our Nice weather we're having chitchat is over." It begins in a barf-worthy place, but then goes to a more realistic, this-magic-emotion-is-all-in-her-head-place. In another story, Personal Demons for example, he would feel drawn to her and she to him and no obstacle could possibly stand in the way of their monumental and immediate love. I really appreciate that Hand did not go that route, at least not yet. Just because the guy is a dreamboat and perceived as perfect (or even is perfect) that does not mean that he is perfect for the heroine.

    The other thing I loved a whole lot were the pop culture references weaved in. The one that sold me was the nickname given to the main character by the guy that was not Christian. That is a reference (and hopefully an intentional one) to Anne of Green Gables, which made me, from first use of the nickname, root for that guy wholeheartedly. Her chapter titles are also frequently references, such as "My Purpose-Driven Life" (I burst out laughing reading that one). The song from the post's title is also referenced. For me, pop culture references = win, both because I love pop culture and because it's good not to take oneself or one's story too seriously.

    Paranormal YA fans, find yourselves a copy of this one as soon as it's published and get a-reading!
  • (4/5)
    ***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***Clara is a Nephilian, a Quartarious to be exact, meaning she was born one quarter angel, the blood of the angels running through her veins. Her mother is a Demetrious, a half human-half angel who passed the blood down to Clara upon her birth. Each of those with the blood of the angels is born with a calling, a destiny that comes to them in visions between the ages of sixteen and their twenties or so. Clara receives hers at the beginning of the novel. She gets reoccurring visions of a boy in a burning forest fire. The visions occur day or night and with each she seems to gather a little more information about where he is and where she needs to be to save him. When the glimpses lead her to Wyoming, the entire family picks up and moves to the small town of Jackson Hole Wyoming so that Clara can fulfill her destiny. Only meeting one's destiny isn't as easy as it sounds. The boy is Christian Prescott, the dream guy at school who has an extremely possessive and witchy girlfriend. His social status makes him pretty much unapproachable. She only manages to make two friends and the twin brother of one of them becomes the bane of her existence. When things start to change and the bane of her existence becomes the boy she falls in love with Clara must choose between her destiny and her heart, and neither decision will truly make her happy.I really don't like rating books, I like writing reviews, giving my opinions of them, but it so hard for me to decide on an accurate rating. I debated between three and four stars with this one. It wasn't a bad book, in fact I'm curious about the next in the series, but it also wasn't one of those novels I could see myself rereading many times. I decided to go with a four stars because the positives about this story outweighed the negatives and probably deserved the better rating.The first thing that bugged me from the start was the entire story is first person, present tense. I don't mind a well written first person novel, but reading it in the present tense is just abrasive to me as reader. I have trouble connecting with books written in first person present tense, and find reading them a little jarring. I didn't have trouble relating to Clara as a character, we had too much in common, not that I've got super powers or anything. But I felt sorry for her from page one, ending up with a name like Clara since I narrowly avoided the name Clara Belle as an infant, my mother loved the name, my father fortunately talked her out of it. I will be forever grateful not to have the same name as cartoon cow. Additionally the more I got to know this character the more she took me back to my teenage years, unfortunately not in a good way. Do you remember the awkward stages, and the constant mental obsession with those awkward teenage social faux pas? The part of your teenage years that you do your best to forget when you grow up into an adult and leave high school behind you. This is the part of my teenage years that this book, this character, connected me back to. I'll admit I wasn't really comfortable with that. I had to keep putting the book down to get past that feeling of mortal embarrassment every time a scene of this nature occurred in Clara's life. In a way I guess this is good because it says that Hand has created a main character who grabs you, but as a person that developed all sorts of defense mechanisms to stay away from that feeling I can't say I was comfortable with experiencing it again through Clara's eyes.The leading character was well developed with believable flaws and attributes considering she has angel blood. The same can't be said of most of the other character. It's not that they don't have flaws, it's that other than Tucker, Hand doesn't really let us in to the other characters beyond the facade they present to the world. Without being able to see beyond the social veneers of the other characters it's difficult to relate to any characters other than Clara and Tucker. Another thing that bugged me is that outside characters seemed to be constantly telling Clara that is wasn't always about her, the thing is the situations where this occurred in my opinion never warranted that comment. I didn't see her character as all that self-centered and it seemed odd to me that the writer kept throwing in other characters accusing her of being so. Maybe if she behaved as a self-centered person I would have understood, but that really wasn't the case with this character.The ending was a bit of a let down, I just figured with all that build up there'd be a little more to it, but other than that I don't really have many complaints with the plot. The book had an intriguing plot that draws you in and you keep turning the pages to discover what will happen next in this interesting story. It's exciting, emotional and filled with teenage angst. Overall I'd recommend the book with the warning that if you don't want to be pulled back to those awkward teenage moments in your life where you wished you could bury yourself under a rock, this book may not be a comfortable read. If you can get past that connection with the leading character however it's definitely worth picking up and reading.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed reading Unearthly. The author builds a modern, believable world containing characters that are realistic, interesting, and easy to invest in. I thought Clara is a wonderful character throughout the book. She is faced with choices, decisions, and responsibilities that are challenging and have dire consequences - difficult for anyone - almost nearly impossible for a teen. She works through these issues throughout the book; always trying to do the right thing for everyone while still attempting to fulfill her purpose and stay true to herself at the same time. Christian is wonderfully mysterious, but a little on the "not the guy you want him to be" side. I found myself wanting him to be so much less and so much more at the same time. I think he is one of the most well created characters. Tucker - what can you say about Tucker...he is truly my favorite character from the book. The mother was harder, she is too closed up for much of the book for me at first. I found myself wanting, like Clara, so much more from her mother. She does, throughout the book, redeem herself in my eyes. The theme that I found throughout the book - the very noticeable missing parent or parents of the characters who were angelbloods - was well thought out and well played. A major plot point - THE PURPOSE - was somewhat under-represented I thought. I am sure that this was the intention of the author as it was the main idea of the whole story, but I didn't really get the amount of information about the reason behind it for my comfort. I didn't feel that Clara's mother gave her enough information about her purpose, but I didn't get the impression that any of the other angelbloods had any real idea of their purpose either. I would have liked more on that...and I can't help but wonder - one specific incident is their whole life's purpose? I am hoping for a sequel that answers many of these questions for me.Well worth the read - be sure to check it out!
  • (4/5)
    I fall in the "not a fan of angel books" camp, but keep seeing that this series is enjoyed even by those of my ilk.

    I grabbed a stack of books at the library the other day and started reading....and yep. I enjoyed this one. The explanations of the fantastic elements worked for me, I bonded with the characters, loved the scenery, and yes, I have some new book crushes.

    Thankfully this first did not end on a cliffhanger, although the love triangle might end up being annoying. I'm withholding judgement on that point.

    Now, to find the time to get to the library to get the rest of the series!
  • (5/5)
    Unearthly offers a completely different new take on the typical angel love story. Not only that, but it was a very fresh and new story plot with funny and likable characters.Clara is a Quartarius, daughter of a half-blood angel and a human. Like every other angel, she has a purpose, a thing she must accomplish to fulfill her duty as an angel. To find out about their purpose, angels have vivid visions of what their purpose consist of. For Clara, those visions always include a boy in the burning forest, but she cannot seem to fully understand what she must do. When she and her family move to finally find out who this mysterious boy is, things get a little unexpected when the boy turns out to be very handsome and popular Christian Prescott.I will leave you with that, because the rest you will have to read about, and trust me you really want to read Unearthly.Clara was a super likable character, I really enjoyed reading from her point of view and seeing how she progresses throughout the book. Clara is the sort of girl (or angel) I would love to be friends with. The rest of the characters, weather they were good or bad came alive by Cynthia Hand's writing.For example, Tucker being one of my favorite characters of Unearthly, was such an original and alluring character. He will be added to the "literary boyfriend" list and will stay there possibly forever.The story plot also came alive with Cynthia's beautiful writing. Every scene was not overly descriptive but not vague either. The story seemed to have an easy flow, very easy to follow. Well, until the end comes, where you will have a temporary "What just happened?" moment and it will leave you wanting more.If you think that angel books are not your thing and will not read any, please consider making Unearthly the exception. You will not regret it and I will showered with e-mails of gratitude.
  • (5/5)
    Wowwww! I haven't come across a book that swerves from typical YA cliches for so long! This book is unique in its own way and no matter how the plot flowed, the twist in the end was perfectly handled! Unearthly is not the average angel meets boy/girl plot. There is so much more contained and the narration is perfect; I still have to speculate on either Tucker or Christian. Clara hasn't come across as one of the Mary-Sue commonly found in many books. She is actually interesting and easy to relate to. Thus, the author has created an endearing character that's sure to please. Now all this is to stay hopefully in Hallowed...This is one of the most entertaining books filled with such an interesting concept. It's definitely one of the rare YA books that's so mesmerizing...everyone should read it!
  • (4/5)
    UNEARTHLY, Cynthia Hand's debut novel, offers a unique take on angel mythology, a strong heroine, and a love triangle that has the potential to upset destiny.I'm a bit divided when it comes to 'angel' books. Some of them I really like... and some are almost too formulaic. Hand, however, doesn't fall into this trap. I liked that Clara was the character that has to deal with the power, secrets, and choices, rather than the human girl who falls for the dark, gorgeous, tortured supernatural being. Don't get me wrong - I like this formula if the writing and plot measure up, but it's definitely nice to see something different.When it comes to love triangles, I don't see the point unless there reader is actually going to be torn between the two candidates. By the end of the novel, I thought I'd picked a side, but Hand does her authorly duty and keeps the reader on their toes. It isn't just about personality and looks with this situation... I'm curious to see what other twists Hand will throw into the next couple novels... and if I'll stick with my choice for Clara.In this first installment, we start to explore the world of the Nephilim. What ended up being mostly background information in UNEARTHLY looks like it's going to be at the forefront of the plot for the next book. I find Clara's mother particularly intriguing. She withholds a lot of information from Clara and I'm hoping we find out more about her past in book two.All in all, UNEARTHLY is a well-written, suspenseful novel that is sure to find fans among those with a taste for supernatural romance.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book, the story was great. The only (small) complaint I have is that ending left me with so many questions, I haven't stopped thinking about the book so I guess that was the intent? Can't wait to read more about Ellie and Christian!
  • (5/5)
    I love, love, loved this book. Unearthly was not at all what I expected. I went into this book thinking it'd be the same as all the other angel books out there and anytime a majority of the YA book market shifts into the same subject, i'm usually drawn away. I'll admit this made me hesitant to read the book, and the beautiful cover was what won me over. But, boy oh boy!, the content is so unbelievingly better than the cover. Cynthia Hand found a way to revive a seemingly repetitive topic - she know's just how to create a delectable new dynamic for a common topic. Most angel books on the market feature a centuries old angel. In Unearthly, Clara is a young angel and still learning. This is the first book i've read where you get to experience everything right along with the an angel protaganist; from questioning the new lifestyle to learning how to hone supernatural skills. Let's not get too caught up in this whole angel thing though, because that's just the cherry on top if you ask me. The best part is the romance(s) involved. WOW. I'm going to try and not give too much away by not mentioning the names of the two boys. You can relate so well with Clara, that you're absolutely absorbed in both of the boys when they're mentioned. I thought I knew from the beginning which boy I was rooting for, then everything gets turned around, and thrown upside down so that I could care less about the previously mentioned boy. The second half of this book introduced me to what i'd call the perfect boy, definitely met me book boyfriend. Which is why I hate love triangles! Just when things are going well, there's always something to complicate it. For Unearthly, Clara's angel duties swing back in full force. She's torn between what her duty is to her kind, and what her duty is to herself and her heart. Being an angel not only proposes problems for her romance, but for her family life too. The ending is action packed and secrets are revealed about her mother's past and danger to come. That's another thing that was so great about Unearthly. Clara's mom had such an impact in this book, it was refreshing to see a mother-daughter duo that genuinely not only love but like each other as well. I've read so many books where the parents are basically nonexistant, and it was great to see so much admiration between the two. This was defintely one of my favorite books, and I can not freaking wait for the next book. There's so much more left to learn, and I just know the next book will be as amazingly awesome as Unearthly was!
  • (3/5)
    3.5 stars
    In my neverending quest to find good angel books, I picked this one up. I was very turned off by the cover, but just decided to read it based on reviews that said it was not another eye-rolling ya PNR, and was probably one of the best in its class. I agreed with them. It was actually a pretty cute story and I liked it.
  • (4/5)
    Unearthly is a refreshing novel in a genre that is overrun with cliches. I thoroughly enjoyed the well-developed characters, the complex story line, and the idea of an angelic purpose. However, the novel is in present tense, and you all know how I feel about that. Furthermore, I feel that a few of the characters could have been a bit better developed and that certain scenes dragged a bit. Over all, though, I really liked this book. Clara, her mom, and brother, have to move to Wyoming from Northern California to fulfill Clara's angelic purpose. Clara is a likable narrator, and I couldn't help but relate to her quest to find and fulfill her destiny. I think we all feel like that at some point in our lives, though maybe not to the extent Clara does since her destiny is an angelic calling. If she doesn't fulfill her destiny, she risks becoming a Black Wing, which is a miserable, evil fallen angel. That point could have been made a bit clearer in the beginning, but by the middle, I got the gist of everything. Throughout the book, the reader learns the rules of the angelic world as Clara does. This sometimes leads to confusion on the reader's part, but over all, I think it works well. The characters, for the most part, are very well-developed. The only two that I feel are lacking are her brother and Wendy. Wendy is absent a bit much to be well-developed, though I get a pretty good sense of who she is, and Clara's brother is kind of a cookie cutter teenage boy. However, the rest of the characters are unique and dynamic. I especially enjoyed both Tucker and Christian. This is the first time in the history of YA love triangles that I actually LIKE both love interests, and I'm actually pulling for the human and not the supernatural. There's just too much to love about Tucker NOT to be on his side. While Christian may be all dark and broody and pretty, Tucker is bright and caring and adorable. Both characters are genuinely good people, that much is obvious, but Tucker is just such a good friend and boyfriend to Clara that I decided that I like him the best. Angela is okay, but for some reason, I don't full trust her. She didn't DO anything to make me not trust her. I just don't. Whatever. Maybe I'll find out later what my problem is, haha. Clara's mom is a good mother, that much is obvious, but I wonder what all she's hiding. The pacing for the story is excellent, and once you start the book, there's just enough action to make sure that you finish it very quickly. Things aren't always constant action or drama, but there's enough mystery surrounding Clara and her purpose that it keeps you engaged in the story. I also really liked the descriptions of Wyoming and all there is to do there. I never thought of Wyoming as being a particularly interesting state to live in, but it seems that if you're the outdoorsy type, then it would be heaven. I've seen pictures of the state, and it is beautiful. I'd love to visit one day, even though I'm not at all outdoorsy. There are bugs outside, you know. Over all, I'd recommend this book to anyone 12 and over. It's a pretty PG rated read, and the story is enthralling. I am looking forward to reading Hallowed next.