Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White


Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.


A very distinctive, concise voice, beautifully developed and invigorating characters, and a brilliant plot pull together to make Paranormalcy a very stunning debut. The fluid voice comes off from the first page, slipping the reader into Evie’s mindset instantly and smoothly. Intrigue begins just as swiftly and is maintained throughout, helping to keep the reader both involved and amazed at White's natural writing talent.

Evie is a character most anyone will be able to relate to and appreciate. She has a well defined history which is revealed throughout the book, garnering sympathy and understanding. As the plot moves and her view on things begins to change, Evie’s character grows tremendously. The manner she handles things is incredibly true to her age, despite the childhood she’s had. Her general view of the world shifts according to the events surrounding her, showing maturity but White does a phenomenal job continuing to keep Evie as a teenager- she is still flawed, has her moments of weakness and fear, and doesn’t immediately see and put everything together. She is perceptive but not in a way unbefitting of her age and the times when she shifts into simply being a teenager provide a flowing comedic relief.

Even more notable, White blends the world of a teenage girl with working for a major organization. Even within the Center, Evie behaves like a teen and has her own shining personality. Her substitution of bleep for swear words, her love of pink, and her obsession with a teenage drama show keep the voice strong. As events progress and her circumstances change, this real/fiction, teen/adult blend becomes even more prominent and played out magnificently.

Lend is absolutely adorable and as idiosyncratic as Evie. The two contrast each other fantastically and the way he falls into the story progresses smoothly. His character and history are revealed as effortlessly as Evie’s, sometimes the two coming out concomitantly. He is bashful and awkward, also holding a perfect blend of supernatural and realistic teenager. His responses and motivations are clear to see despite the story being told in Evie’s perspective. The two understand each other in a soft manner, both being similar yet completely different.

The entire world has been weaved together in new, innovative, and surprising ways. New takes on commonly used supernatural creatures and even some additions of not often seen ones help bring out the brilliance and refreshing nature of this book. The creation of an entirely new kind of creature helps spark it to life even more, making many aspects of this book stand out as highly original.

The writing is incredibly strong and well defined. Evie comes to life in a brilliant way and her snark and sass fly from the pages. She is intelligent and witty, both of which are pulled off without a hitch. The banter and dialogue is also well written, as is the narration. White easily writes a young adult voice, making it highly realistic but still pitching it in a way any age group will be able to understand and appreciate. Everything is streamlined, maintaining a rich voice without being overbearing. The descriptions are vivid and the reader is able to imagine the events and settings as they crop up.

The plot is brilliant, filled with unpredictable twists and turns. It will pull the reader in from the start and keep them engaged and involved with each page. Small things come back later to mean something and huge things end up having a simple yet unforeseeable explanation. Minor characters become something extraordinary and the way the reader will view not only these characters but the world in general shifts along with Evie’s take on them. The primarily mystery driving this plot is wrapped up by the end, leaving the reader in a comfortable closing spot while still hinting at what could come and leaving innumerable doors open for the next installment.

The thought and effort White poured into the entire first book is very clear and her mind just might be a little bit of a weapon of mass destruction. White has a very promising and fantastic future as a writer and many great things can be expected from her both with the future of this series and her clear, inherent ability to write young adult. I firmly believe her skills can transfer to other characters and even other genres, both of which will come across as fluidly as in this book.

Overall, this is a masterfully executed debut with a stunning plot that is unlike many other supernatural books. A perfect blend of romance and teenage emotions mix with the pressing events and unknowns that come up throughout to pack a powerful punch. This book is highly memorable and extremely well written, with the exceedingly distinctive voice being one of its most prominent features. White did not simply try to write a teenager- she nailed it. Evie is a lively, original character with some fantastic eccentricities the reader will find endearing and humorous.

A wide range of characters- both revamped and newly original- and some inventive and imaginative settings and events combine to make this book a well deserved five star read. The reader will crave more of these loveable, developed characters and their minds will spur numerous questions about what lies ahead for Evie but this specific plot is predominantly wrapped up, everything tying together beautifully at the end. This is honestly one of the most original, beautifully executed books from the YA supernatural genre I've come across in awhile.

Source: Signed ARC received from author as part of an auction prize pack
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 21, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061985848
ISBN-13: 978-0061985843


  1. Great review! I've heard such great things about Paranormalcy. I've been wanting to read it for so long and your great review definitely just bumped it up to the top of my wishlist! Release day can't get here soon enough! :)

  2. Um, wow. If anyone wasn't planning to read PARANORMALCY, they sure will now.

  3. great review and must get this book like today ..

  4. Wow! I'm even more excited to read this book now.

  5. Loved the review. This is such a beautiful book. I can't wait to read it!

  6. Awesome review, Kari! I'm even more excited to read it now :)

  7. I agree with everyone else- now I'm even more excited for this one! Thanks for the review :)

  8. Ahhhh! I want to read this so bad it hurts! I'm so relieved to hear that it's an awesome read. I hate it when I look forward to a book for so long and am then disappointed. Thanks for the review/ preview!

  9. Great review! I'm anticipating this one even more now!

  10. I can't wait for this one and this review made me even more anxious for it! It just sounds pretty amazing! Love the review!

  11. I am sooo jealous you got a copy of this already, but thank you so much for sharing your review!

    I am so excited to read this, the few people that have read it so far all rave about it. Release day cannot come soon enough!

  12. fantastic review! i love reading your reviews. they're always so detailed and wonderful :) paranormalcy sounds great. i can't wait to read it!

  13. Great review!!! I soooo want this book
    : )

    HAPPY readings!!!

  14. Wow! I am just jealous that you were able to read Paranormalcy before the rest of us. Thanks for that well thought out review. I'll start counting the days until it's release now :)