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“Paranormalcy” by Kiersten White

23 Sep

TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:

Kiersten White's "Paranormalcy" isn't just another teen paranormal romance. Ok, yes, it is a teen paranormal romance, in which an Empty One and a Shapeshifter fall in love — I'll explain, I promise! — but it's also lively, funny, and charming. I read "Paranormalcy" at the beach, and I found myself completely engrossed by this winning novel.

Quick plot rundown. Our teen heroine is Evie, who besides being a smart, spunky orphan, also possesses the rare ability to see through the glamours of paranormals (vamps, werewolves, hags, etc.). Evie can see the true being beneath whatever pretty face is being shown to the world, which is handy at a time when the government is capturing and neutralizing paranormals to protect human society (heh … they are "bagged and tagged!"). Evie works for — and has basically been raised by — a secret government agency called IPCA, the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Under the guidance of director Racquel, Evie is dispatched around the globe to locate paranormals, confirm their hidden nature, and tase them for shipment back to IPCA.

Evie isn't particularly brave or strong — in fact, she's often frightened and vulnerable — but she bucks up and gets the job done. Along the way, she has to dodge the increasingly icky advances of a fairie named Reth, who's like a stalker with a backstage pass (fairies can pretty much open portals anywhere for transport along the fairie paths). Reth is seductive and creepy, but not necessarily evil. Or is he? I loved the shading of Reth's character and how we're never quite sure if he's helping or hurting Evie.

After a shapeshifting teen named Lend breaks into IPCA, Evie finds herself questioning everything she thought about paranormals, their containment, and her own status and nature. Why can she see through glamours? Is she a resident at IPCA … or a captive? Evie slowly begins a relationship with Lend, who can wear bodies like others wear clothes but still lives in the normal world. Lend shows Evie the wonders of high school life and the prom, and, besides the watery appearance part, this sweet, nurturing boy is probably most girls' dream guy. 🙂

Oh, yeah, there's also some big evil heading Evie and Lend's way, a beautiful Empty One who is massacring paranormals and sucking out their souls. Cool! Vivian has a strange connection to Evie, even entering her dreams, giving the story a nice bit of tension as it ensures that Evie is never really safe … even when snuggling on the couch with Lend.

I loved the snarky touches here — Evie is addicted to a teen drama and bonds with an unreformed vamp over it; she bedazzles her taser and nicknames it "Tasey" — as well as the real moments of intense action and gripping suspense. It's a great mix, and author White pulls it off brilliantly. Yes, some of the secondary characters are cardboard — Evie's best friend Lish, Racquel — but that's a minor complaint. "Paranormalcy" is a wonderful blend of action, romance, humor, and the paranormal, and it's sure to be a hit with readers in middle school and up. I hope you like it as much as I did!

PS – Check out the book trailer!

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Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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