Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: 1st in Unearthly
Published: Available now from Harper Teen
Source: publisher sent via Netgalley
Description: 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 Give This ...
It's funny sometimes what will draw you to a book. I'm sure most people are reading this book because of the awesome cover or that fact that it deals with angels. While, those are part of the reasons I wanted to read it, I was most drawn to the fact that it's set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
I liked Clara from the start. She already knows she's an angel, which was appealing and different than the usual aspect of the main character discovering what she is through the course of the book. I like the fact that angels have a purpose and that they will move heaven and earth (and it this case to a remote location) to accomplish this. I like that Clara and trying to do all the things that should make her purpose easier, all while trying to discover who she truly is. I also really enjoyed Clara's different relationships, from the dynamics in her own family to her relationship with Wendy. Each of them is unique and add to the overall story.
Christian was interesting. I never quite understood his change of heart when it came to Clara (until the end). Some will see this as a love triangle, but I never did. I always saw Christian as the purpose and not someone Clara was really interested in. She was attracted to him, but I felt she was trying to put herself in a better position to fulfill what she was expected to do. Now, Tucker on the other hand, was great. I loved the relationship and how they slowly opened up to each other. It was real and none of this instant connection stuff.
I was not surprised by the ending for some reason. I was suspicious of it from about half way though. It explained a lot of what was happening. I'm also not sure about Angela. I kept expecting something bad to happen because of her, so we will see what plays out in future books.
Note: I want to say that the locations and some of the events throughout this book are very personal to me. I actually live on the Snake River (although a couple hours farther west from the locations in this book). I spend my summers on my parents land with a view of the Tetons in the distance. I've been to the Palisades reservoir, Idaho Falls, etc. The whole forest fire scenes were hard for me to read, because I personally know the devastation that they can cause in the hot summer months. My family runs livestock (sheep to be exact) and in the summer of 1988 we lost over thousand of them in a forest fire. The herder barely made it out alive with his horse. I was almost in tears during that whole part with the memories it brought back. For those of you who might remember this was the year of the devastating fire in Yellowstone National Park as well. So I commend Cynthia Hand for the descriptions of the area she has written. From someone who knows...they're accurate!