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Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
Winter's Light
M.J. Hearle
Cynthia Hand
Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments
Gina Perry
Fall of Night
Rachel Caine
Between the Lives
Jessica Shirvington
Eat, Brains, Love
Jeff Hart
Unearthly - Cynthia Hand Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is the first debut YA novel I have read for 2011 and I can say it has already burned a hole through my heart. It was just so amazing. Not just the characters, or the plot with its many twists, but it was the superb descriptions of the scenery of Wyoming that made me fall in love with the writer. The mountains, ski slopes, the woodlands, fires, and even the rivers. It all blended so well together. This is probably because of first-hand experience and history of living that Hand had had in this scenery. Also I loved this refreshing take on the angel lore (white wings, black wings and the in-between shades of grey), as well as the full-angel, half-angel and quarter-angel aspects.****Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago, but only now is her Purpose - the crucial rite of passage for every part-angel - becoming clear to her. Clara's Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, where, amidst terrifying scenes of a bush inferno, she finds the boy of her visions, Christian. He is everything she could wish for - so why does she also have feelings for her enigmatic classmate Tucker?Clara discovers that her Purpose is only a small part of a titanic struggle between angels and their destructive counterparts, the Black Wings. And when the fire of her visions erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?From debut novelist Cynthia Hand comes a riveting tale full of supernatural powers, forbidden romance, and the choice between fulfilling your destiny or following your heart.****Unearthly follows Clara, a teenage angel, as she moves to Wyoming to find her Angelic purpose, rescuing a popular boy named Christian. Clara's friends consist of another teenage angel named Angela whose research has given her more knowledge on their kind than Clara's mother has, and Wendy whose brother Tucker becomes very important in Clara's life, and ultimately a sacrifice in which she has to make in the end which could severely compromise her given purpose.What I really loved besides the setting, the fresh angel lore and the twisting plot, was that Clara has this purpose. Myself being a few years older than Clara, has really connected with this single aspect of her. She has found this purpose and wants to fulfill it, and teenagers these days struggle through the years trying to find their own purpose. Your purpose is what shapes your life, and experiences will alter it. This is what I have just gone through and I have found my purpose, just as Clara had by the ending of the novel although it was nearly compromised.Clara although struggling with adapting to life in Wyoming and being the new girl after moving from California due to this purpose of hers, she maintains her down-to-earth and easily likable attitude. Throughout the story, Clara's angelic powers or manifestations are slowly revealed, but revealed in the way in which Clara learns about them for the first time. This is where her innocence shines. Jeffrey her younger brother by a year or two, feels constantly in the shadows of his sister because it is a time when it is all about her. However he finds it easier fitting in at Jackson Hole High School than Clara did. Clara's mother Maggie/Margaret/Meg, although a one-hundred-and-eighteen-year-old half-angel that looks not even over the age of forty, is a wonderful parental role in Young Adult Fiction. Her relationship with Clara is breathtaking and her subtle essence, or presence, makes reading this book more worthwhile. Each character was very dimensional, having a personality or life more than what they actually act. Kay, the school's bad girl who though had some serious hate for Clara, is really a sympathetic and hurt person whilst the paranormal bad guy had his reasons for doing things and has a reason to feel sorry for him.Although there is a love triangle, it doesn't take away from the true essence and plot of the story. The ending isn't such a giant cliffhanger that it should be off-putting to anyone afraid to read a book meant to be a series (like Hush Hush =) ), but there are also enough loose threads here to make fans of continuing stories happy too. Unanswered questions about the mysterious actions of Clara's brother Jeffery (also a half angel) and what the appearance of the Black Wing who tried to kidnap Clara means are more than enough to justify picking up the second book. Like I said, each character has more than they actually put on, and I can't wait to find out about them. I give this novel a ★★★★★. Mainly because we see some fishing happening and I love fishing. With Clara trying to for the first time with Tucker, she understands and realises she can't be perfect and best at everything. Like it says in the initial pages about her fast healing, can speak every language like Swahili and "could do twenty-five grands jetes back and forth across the floor of the ballet studio without getting winded".There's so much more I can say, but I'll just leave it there for everyone to read. Thanks.