In Paranormalcy, Kiersten White weaves a tale that feels utterly realistic, yet fairy-tale fantastic all at the same time. Her heroine, Evie, has the most authentic teen voice I've read, and is completely lovable with her sweetness and sass. Her importance to the Agency is oddly empowering and debilitating at the same time. Evie knows how to take care of herself (courtesy of her pink taser, Tasey), but she is under the strict control and monitoring of the Agency, her home and her job -- which is frustrating for both Evie and readers, who will cheer her on as she struggles for independence. She is surprisingly street smart, though she can be a little dense when it comes to faery commands. Yet, despite proving herself time and time again, even her mother figure, Raquel, works hard to keep her in the dark.
This is only the beginning of the Agency's questionable practices. Paranormalcy is surprisingly rife with questions about just what makes humans special in a world populated by the supernatural, and what right we have to treat paranormals like animals. Evie herself begins to feel some righteous indignation about the place she's always called home, which makes her character beautifully complex. Evie is wonderfully vibrant and alive, the kind of girl everyone will want to befriend.
The banter between Lend and Evie is sweet and flirty -- full of the uncertainty that comes with the first stages of a crush. White allows readers to see the bond between the two teens grow, and to enjoy the lightness and thrill of infatuation. The relationship isn't rushed, and watching them have fun together rather than launching into the burning passion of love is a nice change of pace which works perfectly with this bright and sparkling novel. Lend is unbelievably cute and absolutely perfect for Evie -- but not in a cheesy or annoying way. Readers will fall in love almost from the first moment they meet this unusual, vulnerable boy.
White builds a world of intricate hierarchies and complex philosophical questions of prejudice and discrimination, a serious streak that counterbalances the quips and quirks of her dazzling heroine. The descriptions are imaginative and unique, painting a vivid picture in the reader's mind of creatures both familiar and foreign. This world is populated by not only the ubiquitous vampires and werewolves, but also an incredible, original mythology of creatures who have no name. White's eclectic mythical menagerie and stunning imagination will leave readers in awe.
Click here to purchase Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.
Part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.