Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal
There's been a lot of hype around this book, and I've discovered it is well-deserved! Once I got into the story, I didn't want to put it down. It's a compelling read, with great characters and a great plot. (And an exceptionally great cover!)
Clara is an angel-blood, daughter of a half-angel, which makes her a quarter-angel. She knows she has a purpose, and when she begins getting visions foretelling what her purpose will be, her mother decides they have to move from California to Wyoming in order to be in the place where the vision happens. Clara finds Christian, the boy she is supposed to save and is totally attracted to him, but nothing goes as smoothly as it could. Christian has a girlfriend, and Clara seems to only be able to watch him from afar. Meanwhile, though, she becomes friends with Wendy and her brother Tucker, and with Angela, another angel-blood who investigates details about angels that Clara's mother refuses to tell her. By the time Clara's purpose rolls around, everything has changed and the purpose is no longer as simple as saving Christian...
I love love love the book! It's all about the detail and the natural feel to every part of the book - the characters, the plot, the setting - everything!
All the characters are so real and the interactions between the characters are amazingly authentic. They sound like real teenagers, even when they're talking about supernatural stuff. I kept laughing at some of the things they said and did because the true-to-life quality made it like an observation of actual teenagers. And of course, when things aren't so happy or funny, I felt right along with the characters because every emotion was portrayed so beautifully.
I especially love the relationship between Clara and Tucker. It develops so naturally, and those were the parts where I laughed the most. Tucker himself is a really great character, and the way he talks to Clara and how he deals with her is so awww. (Sorry for that, sometimes you just gotta get mushy!) Christian is an interesting character, but I have a feeling there's a lot more to him than is revealed in this book. The "love-triangle" gimmick (I call it that because it's used so much these days) actually works really well, and is an essential part of the plot.
The plot works really well, too. When I analyzed it, I realized that some points could have ended up sounding forced and contrived, but nothing does. One event follows the next naturally, to the point that you could even take away the chapter separations and still follow the flow of the story. Not everything is clear, of course - especially the purpose, which I guess will be the topic of the next book.
And I am definitely looking forward to the next book now!
Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review.