Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 335

Received: Library book
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Author's Page
Amazon Page 

Goodreads Page


As a teen working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie spends her days catching and tagging all sorts of paranormal baddies. Never questioning her duties, Evie goes along with the agency’s activities until the arrival of a completely new paranormal changes her world. Calling into question everything she thought she knew, Lend, the hot new paranormal, challenges Evie to reconsider her actions. He also comes with devastating news: Someone has been systematically murdering paranormals, and Evie and her friends could be next.


I loved, loved, loved this book. Loved it. Why? In large part because of Evie. She’s such a super sweet character and so well developed. I could easily see myself hanging out with her. She’s hilarious (really, I was laughing so hard throughout this book), but she’s also sensitive. The story is told in the first person with Evie narrating, so we get to know her really well. She’s light and bubbly, but she also has depth. She’s been raised in a pretty cold environment without ever really having anyone to love her for herself.

At first blush she may seem a little too stereotypical teenager with her love of shopping, teen drama television shows, and pink fashion (all things I think are actually kind of fun). Going deeper, though, you really get a sense of her separation from all these normal teenage things and so her interest in them seems less superficial and more sad. She seems to try so hard to create normality and love around her because the reality of her life lacks all of that. My heart breaks for her, especially as she uncovers the secrets and prophesies throughout the book.

Evie isn’t the only thing I loved about this book. I mentioned the humor, but I really need to reiterate this. I was so darn happy reading this book. I kept smiling and giggling and smirking. I dare anyone to read the first page and not, at the very least, crack a smile. Go on, I’m serious. I dare you. Look, I’ll even give you a link.

Ok, did you read it? Well, did you smile? I read that first page in the library, closed the book, and walked straight to the checkout line. I knew I was going to love the book based on that first page alone, and I was right. Kiersten White’s writing style is so fluid and fun, but she also really knows how to keep suspense high. There was this one scene (don’t worry I’m not going to give anything away) where Evie encountered the big bad of the story and I was all prepared to start screaming myself. It was tense! But also so much fun! I don’t know how White manages to combine the two, but as a reader I am so glad she did.  

But those aren’t the only reasons I loved this book. Yeah, there’s more. There’s all those other characters. Evie is great, but so is pretty much everyone else. Evie’s best friend (a mermaid!) is so sweet and such a fun character. She speaks through a voice translating computer, all monotone and with any curses bleeped over. She was hilarious. I was so glad Evie had a friend like her. Then there’s Lend. He’s a good guy and his paranormal ability is really very cool. I hope we get to see it used more in the sequel. That’s all I’m going to say about him. Don’t want to spoil anything for you. And the big bad? Jeez, I can’t say anything about that one without giving stuff away, so I’ll just say that I LOVE what White did with this character.

And I’m still not finished explaining all the reasons I loved this book. I’m a, how should I say this, I’m a “throw it all in the pot” kind of girl. When I eat rice, for example, I don’t want just plain rice. I want my rice to have a ton of stuff in it. Cranberries, mushrooms, onions, chicken, whatever. Throw it all in and I’m happy.

 I’m finding I also like my books like that. Not with food (then I’m just super hungry every time I read), but with paranormals. I love that publishers are printing so many different paranormal stories: we’ve got werewolves, vampires, mermaids, fairies, and so on. It’s great. Only thing is, they’re each neatly sectioned off into their own little books. Kiersten White took all those major players, threw them together, and even added a bunch more of her own. I loved it! Even better, it all worked. It didn’t feel jumbled or awkward at all.

I especially liked how White made her fairies. They were mysterious and dangerous, seriously dangerous. I liked that so much more than the delicate sparkly fairies of a lot of other series. How am I supposed to swoon over a fairy guy if he resembles body glitter? I love glitter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually kind of obsessed with glitter and anything sparkly (put it on a pretty cover and I could stare at it all day stroking the cover with a dazed expression mumbling “Pretty….” Think a sparkle zombie).

But on a hot guy? I may be kind of old school here, but I want my men to be described with words like “rugged” not “disco ball.” Likewise, if you'd use a word to describe a ballerina, then I don't want that word used to describe the guy I'm supposed to find attractive. Reth, the second love interest and a fairy, might have been gorgeous (and I’m so not complaining about that), but he was in no way, shape, or form delicate. Um, can you tell I liked this character? I hope and suspect we’ll see a lot more of him in the second book (Sorry Team Lend girls, I loved Lend, but I’ve got a thing for the bad boys).

Finally, the last thing I loved about this book is the mystery. We’re fed little bits and pieces as the story progresses. A hint here, a cryptic statement there. I know Reth was bad news for Evie and she was right to try to avoid him, but I really just wanted her to tase him until he spilled the beans…in clear and complete sentences! He was such a tease with all of his little sly statements. Jerk! (I loved him.) Eventually most of these tid bits add up to an interesting conclusion that I really wasn’t expecting at all. Actually, there were a number of curve balls thrown here that I didn't see coming. I can’t wait to see how this is developed in the sequel.

 I still have a ton of questions I’m hoping will be answered in the sequel (Supernaturally, coming out much too far away in September 2011), but this first book did wrap things up well. I hate it when I’m left hanging right in the middle of a storyline with zero answers. Paranormalcy didn’t do that. We get closure in a lot of areas, but significant parts of the storyline are still left open. Fans of Lee Nichols’ Deception (my review) will love Paranormalcy (and if Paranormalcy sounds good to you, then be sure to check out Deception if you haven’t already read it!)
 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

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Another review of Paranormalcy posted today by Mizz Yasmin


  1. Awesome review! You know, I was super worried about reading this one because I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype, but it was SO fun! Evie and Lend were amazing characters, eh? :)

  2. Great review! My fave is the whole Bleep part. That totally crack me up!

  3. Wow, what a fabulous and thorough review! I loved this one as well, and I was the same as you, smiling like an idiot the whole way through because Evie had a great sense of humor. And her fairies were fabulous, very different and mysterious. I'm ready to find out more about Reth:)

  4. You loved Reth?!? I mean, I am pretty much all over bad boys, but in this book I seriously could not stand him. And you are totally right, she should have just went at him with Tasey and got him to tell her the whole story... And i love your description of the rice- again, you mailed it on the head... I love when authors throw in all of the different magical races and whatnot (I loved "Bitten" by Kelley Armstrong when it only had werewolves, but I loved "Stolen" when it had werewolves, but shamans, demons, witches and everything in between)...

    Anyways, great review!
    Have an awesome weekend!

  5. Melissa, Thank you! I was so worried about the hype too, but that first page pretty much dispelled any worries I had. It just kept getting better from there. Evie and Lend were great!

    Savannah, Thanks! Those bleeps were bleeping hilarious!

    Jenny, Thank you! Smiling like a idiot is a perfect description. We have ways to cover up bad book covers, but I think I may need to invest in a mask for those, "Grinning like an idiot" books when I read in public.

    Avery, Haha, yeah, I loved Reth. I'm not sure I'd like to *date* him myself, but as a character, I loved reading about him. I think there's a lot more to him than we saw in the first book (from Evie's perspective, mind you). I have a feeling he's going to be like Damon from the Vampire Diaries, guy's got layers.

    Take the whole glowy fire thing: he was trying to help Evie. Granted, in a weird and cryptic manner, but he is a fairy after all.

    Glad you liked my rice analogy! I was writing it thinking, "Rice? There's got to be something better to compare this to!"

  6. Can't wait to read this one for myself! From the excerpts that I've read, it sounds super funny. And I just know I'm going to like Evie from the description of her. I prefer my faeries dangerous, as well!

  7. I don't usually comment on (or read) reviews, but this one was so fun! You made ME laugh, so thanks for returning the favor!!

  8. I pretty much agree with everything you said here - I think we enjoyed all the same things! I loved Reth too, I spent most of the book trying to figure out why exactly when he is selfish and evasive...but I just did, LOL.

    And I agree, White did a good job of having a story arc within the novel that still leaves some room (and unanswered questions) for a sequel.

    You pinpointed just about everything I enjoyed about Paranormalcy in this review - nice job!

  9. Fabulous review! It was so fun to read! I started reading this book before finals set in and ruined my life, and now I want to drop everything and just go finish reading! =)

  10. I loved Paranormalcy too. I remember reading it on the bus and subway and just wanting to laugh out loud. I couldn't do that though or I'd just look like an insane person :)

  11. Loooooved this book too! It was so fun and light, still totally captivating and a great plot! The book totally surprised me and I was afraid (just like Melissa) that I wouldn't like it as much as everyone else !

    And... this is an awesome Review, one really feels that you totally loved the book which is why I enjoyed this review so much!

    Can't wait for the next book!

  12. Ahh! I really want to read this book. I read an the first chapter on my kindle (free) but its on my TBR list. It looks so good! Thanks for the amazing review.
    Hope you have a great weekend :)

  13. I so need to read this book. Everyone keeps talking about how amazing it is. Consider my arm twisted. :)
    Oh and I am also obsessed with sparkly things!

  14. I really really really love your review!
    I've been eyeing this book for a while but never read the synopsis or read a review, but your's makes me wanna run and get it :D
    Great review:)

  15. This book turned me off right away because the cover seemed too lean to much towards science fiction. If I'm going to read something like this I need it to be light. After perusing your review, though, I've had a change of heart. This holds promise with humor and character strength. I might just have to break down and add this to my ever growning list of "to read" (someday - hopefully soon.)

  16. I'm afraid I'm in the minority. I liked Paranormalcy but I didn't love it *ducks for cover* LoL. The MC was awesome but the story moved really slow for me and I thought the MC was way too trusting of Lend in the beginning. I mean she barely knew the guy! I am looking forward to reading the sequel though.

  17. What a wonderful review. <3
    I laughed a lot too when I read this. :D

  18. Great review- I loved this and can't wait for the sequel :)

  19. Aylee, super funny! Yay for dangerous fairies!

    Kiersten! You’re very welcome, but we are so not even. Between your book and your blog I’ve laughed about a bazillion times. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I’m glad I made you laugh :)

    Danya, Yay for Reth! I’m so glad you liked my review :) I think he’s less selfish than he maybe seems at first. He had Evie’s back for sure. I think he just seems kind of not so nice because he’s a fairy and they’re not like humans. Plus, we only got to “meet” him through Evie’s perspective, which is a little biased. I think (hope!) we get to know him a little better in the next book. I think there’s more to him.

    Casey, Thanks! Aw, good luck with your finals. I always did my best reading during finals because I am a Procrastinator with a capital P.

    A Canadian Girl, Haha, yes! The thing is though, if I ever saw someone laughing at their book, I wouldn’t think they were insane at all. I’d just be really curious as to what they were reading. Then I’d look at them and smile knowingly all like, “Yes, I too laugh at my books.” It would be like a readers’ bond. Uh, or maybe that just makes me sound insane!

    Danny, I’m glad you liked my review! I love it when I can really feel the reviewer’s feelings through their review. I don’t think I could have held back my excitement for this one if I had tried.

    Caroline, Read it! :D

    Logan, Yes, you so do need to read it! Big yay for sparkly things! If I could find a way to make my blog sparkle, I would.

    Lauren, Thank you very much! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it. Go, run, get the book!

    Gina, oh, no, not sci-fi at all. I like this cover, and in some ways it really fits the book, but in other ways I think it makes the book seem a lot more serious than it is. There’s a lot of depth to the characters, but it’s also really light and fun, which I don’t think the cover represents at all.

    Laura, Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t love it. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to duck. :) Evie was really trusting of Lend, but I think that works for her character. She seemed so starved for affection and Lend offered her so much. If I were in her situation, I don’t know if I could hold myself back either, even if I knew I should. I mean, he’s super sweet, attractive, a curiosity, someone her own age, and something different from her sheltered life.

  20. I have been wanting to try this book for a while now! MUST get my hands on it!!

    Hopped by

    - Kylie

  21. I've been hearing so many great things about this book. I can't wait to read it. Definitely sounds interesting. It's on the top of my list of books to be read.

  22. I loved your review for this book it's awesome. Very peppy and fun! :) I also enjoyed the book alot. Although I think I was more for Lend.


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