Book Review: Unearthly + GIVEAWAY!

Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: HarperTeen (Januray 4, 2011)
Audience: Young Adult
Source: For Review (Dark Days Supernatural Tour), Also purchased a copy
Young Adult * Paranormal Romance

Description from GoodReads:

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. 

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side. 

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

I instantly knew I wanted to read Unearthly the minute I first saw the cover online. It's beautiful, ethereal, and romantic -- just like Cynthia Hand's writing. With so many exciting titles in the YA Paranormal Romance genre, particularly stories dealing with angels, I wondered if Unearthly would be able to stand out... and it certainly does. Cynthia Hand writes a beautiful story of teenager, Clara, coming into her own as a young woman while dealing with the recent discovery that she is part angel. Clara is such a wonderful female lead because she's not a shrinking violet, but she's also not a total warrior. She strikes a really nice balance of being strong, without being too aggressive. Also, it was a nice change to read about a girl who was paranormal trying to deal with normal human boys. I'm so used to reading about ordinary girls who meet extraordinary boys that it was nice to read about a girl who's special.

And speaking of boys, I loved the two main guys in Unearthly. Christian and Tucker are both interesting and multi-dimensional (and I am led to believe that they are both incredibly good looking). There isn't the traditional good boy versus bad boy dichotomy that is seen in many love triangles. Instead, Christian is the boy that is somehow connected to Clara and her angelic purpose -- she sees him in her dreams -- while Tucker is the unconventional human boy that becomes tangled up in Clara's life unexpectedly, making her purpose as an angel all the more confusing. I liked both guys for different reasons, although by the end of the novel I had developed a sweet spot for Tucker.

In fact, all of the characters were well-written. There is so much depth and complexity in everyone. Clara's mother, also an angel, plays an important role in helping Clara discover and understand her purpose as an angel, although her own purpose and past is kept secret. Also, Clara's younger brother, Jeff, is also figuring out his own purpose as an angel and has his own shady secrets kept from the family. I am so eager to see where Cynthia Hand takes Clara's family in the sequel; there is no much to each family member's story that's shrouded in mystery. And I can't forget Clara's school friends, particularly Angela, who add so much humor and personality to the story.

The book is very absorbing, but the last 50 pages are especially exciting and un-put-down-able. The ending where the fire from Clara's dream finally ignites is spectacular, and Clara has to make some very hard choices that she hadn't anticipated. The last few chapters were very thrilling, but a little abrupt, leaving just enough questions unanswered to leave me on the edge of my seat for the sequel. I highly recommend this, especially to fans of Fallen by Lauren Kate and Firelight by Sophie Jordan.

Cynthia Hand grew up in Southeast Idaho (very near the Wyoming border). Currently she lives in southern California with her husband and son. She teaches courses in creative writing at Pepperdine University. Unearthly is her debut YA novel, published by HarperTeen. Hallowed, the sequel to Unearthly, will be published by HarperTeen in 2012.You can follow her on twitter: @CynthiaHand or on her blog:

Her official website is:

You can find Unearthly on Amazon. Click here.

Complete the form below for a chance to win a hardcover copy of Unearthly. Please read contest rules carefully.


1. Please do not enter any personal information in the comments section (it will be deleted if you do), you must complete the Entry Form to officially enter the contest.
2. The contest runs from June 26 to 11:59 PM Pacific Time on June 30, 2011.
3. You must be 13 or older to participate in this contest.
4. If you are selected as a winner, I will notify you by e-mail. If you do not respond within 48 hours, I will select a new winner.
5. This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY, so U.S., Canada, Timbuktu, everyone can enter!