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Unearthly Hardcover – January 4, 2011
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(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
More About the Author
In middle school and high school, she and her friends formed a writing group that wrote fan fiction about their favorite novels and movies. Each person in the group invented a new character in the decided-upon world (they wrote about Elfquest, Vampire Hunter D, X-Men, Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, Anne McCafferty's Pern series, Star Wars, and SeaQuest (anyone remember SeaQuest?) and wrote exclusively from that character's point of view, sharing their writing as they went, collectively shaping what happened to these characters. Early on Cynthia was appointed the "editor" of their work, meaning that she collected it all, typed it, and edited it. She loved and possibly abused her power with the red pen.
In middle school and high school Cynthia also, on top of all the fan-fic writing, took piano lessons, danced tap and ballet, raced on the Kelly Canyon ski team, acted or teched in every school play and several plays for the community theater, sang in the school choir, took AP classes, and somehow managed to find time to eat and sleep enough to stay alive. There was a period during her junior year when she arrived at school at 5:30 a.m. and didn't get home until around 10 p.m., five days a week. She took the words insanely busy to a whole new level.
Cynthia went to college at the College of Idaho, where she majored in English (because she still loved to read, dangit) with a pre-law emphasis. She kept writing, as a hobby, she told everybody (especially her dad, who wanted her to have a solid, well-paying job) but focused on classes in constitutional law and international politics. She kept this up until the beginning of her senior year, when one day, neck deep in the law section of the library, she had this thought: I don't want to be a lawyer. I want to be a writer. So she broke the news to her parents and her advisers, who were all dismayed but tried to be understanding (especially her dad), and started to work on applying to M.F.A. programs in creative writing. Cynthia was lucky enough to get on the wait list of Boise State University.
At Boise State, Cynthia was determined to become a "serious writer," to the point where she cut up pictures of her favorite literary authors (Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, Jane Smiley, Harper Lee, Tobias Wolff, Andre Dubus, Rick Bass, Joyce Carol Oates and many others) and taped them to the edges of her computer screen, so that she'd be reminded of greatness every time she sat down to write. No pressure or anything. It was in Boise that Cynthia fell head over heels in love with literary fiction, which she wrote exclusively for the next nine years, and with teaching. Just when she thought she was finally figuring out how to be a writer, she got kicked out (okay, not kicked out, she graduated with an M.F.A. in fiction writing). She wanted to keep studying, so she applied for Ph.D.s around the country, settling eventually on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In Nebraska, three hugely important things happened: Cynthia met her future husband, the writer and poet John Struloeff, she published her first short story, which she submitted to try to impress John Struloeff, and she connected with her agent.
Fast forward five years. Cynthia and John have married, graduated with their Ph.D.s, and had a son named Will. John landed a fantastic job as the director of the Creative Writing department at Pepperdine University, where Cynthia also had the pleasure of teaching one or two classes a semester. She has settled into "real life," but something is missing: writing. She's just not feeling it. This goes on for a couple years until one fateful night, the night that Unearthly first started stirring in her mind.
It's been a wild ride since then. . .
Top Customer Reviews
Clara, the main character, is a great narrator- I could easily understand where she was coming from with her actions and emotions. I liked that she wasn't fully informed on the whole angel world, and that I got to learn with her, and that I was questioning everything just like her. I was able to relate with her- her insecurities, fears and doubts. She isn't a perfect character and I love her for that- I can see growth in her, and I feel more connected to her through her weaknesses. Not that she is a doormat- she has some fiest in her, which is commendable. She has to face some hard situations- choosing between love and destiny.
Her friends, Angela and Wendy are fantastic- I would take them as my besties in an instant. They are funny, supportive, and they both have their own personalities. They both help Clara to grow in different but important ways. Wendy also pushes her brother, and Clara's love interest to her, and helps it to develop.
There is a love triangle, which is very well written. One is her love, and one she has a crush on to begin with but it seems that he is her destiny. I am firmly on team Tucker, but I can see the appeal of Christian as well. I like that Tucker and Clara's relationship grows through friendship first, unlike with Christian, even though she sees him in visions, it seems to be an automatic thing, built more from physical attraction. It is hard to judge there though, because Clara does have a bigger purpose- and she doesn't know all the details, even at the end.Read more ›
I greatly enjoyed this newcomer in the YA paranormal romance Genre. The mystery and mythology was well thought out and interesting. Clara's mother is half blood angel making her only a quarter blood. The romance was surprising and healthy (as opposed to the obsessive relationships that are commonplace in YA) and the mountain setting made for a beautiful backdrop. The ending was final enough to be satisfying but the mythology and mystery leaves the reader excited for the next book in the trilogy.
Appropriateness: The heroine is the type of girl that you would like your daughters to be strong, smart and confident. There is one short scene involving teenage drinking at a party (Clara accepts a mixed drink at a party but does not get drunk) and there is no sexual content outside kissing or any mentions of drug use and the relationships are normal and healthy. The book is appropriate for the entire YA audience.
This book will be enjoyed by readers who enjoyed Halo, Hush, Hush and Fallen
After reading the catastrophe Hush, Hush, I had pretty much given up on reading any more books involving angels. As far as I was concerned it would be my first and last angel book. I resisted the urge (mostly thanks to my dear Goodreads friend's reviews) to pick up Halo and Fallen, even though they still remain on my TBR shelf. At first glance I thought, "435 pages?! This means 435 pages of misery or 435 pages of awesomeness." Needless to say, I was not very optimistic about this book, demoting it all the way to the bottom of the library book pile. But, I decided to give it a chance. And I can honestly say I'm glad I did. Unearthly will make you forget all about those sad, pathetic excuses for a book about angels. Unearthly is the real deal.
Unearthly tells the story of a 16 year-old girl, Clara, who is 1/4 part angel-blood. The book opens with her discovering her purpose in life. It appears she is destined to save a young boy from a forest fire. So, together with her mother and brother, Jeffery, they pack up their house and home and move from California to Wyoming.
At first glance, you think you have this book figured out. You're thinking, "Ok, I know what's going to happen. She is going to save this dude and they are going to fall in love, yada, yada, yada." And just when you're feeling really clever for single-handedly predicting the outcome of the book, Cynthia Hand shatters your preconceptions. I love a good plot twist and this book exceeded my expectations.
A few things I LOVED about Unearthly:
1. No disappearing parent syndrome. Clara's mother was very much apart of her life. Albeit mysteriously, she is always there to help Clara with succeeding in fulfilling her purpose.
2.Read more ›
1. Clara whines about her dyed hair because it's "orange." Charming when Anne of Green Gables does it, not charming when an angel-blood who KNOWS EVERY LANGUAGE, is stronger, faster and "smarter" than mere mortals does it. What, you're leagues better than other humans but all you can focus on is your own hair color and what boys think when they see you? She also envies her friend Angela for having normal hair. Her observations are entrenched in petty superficial observations, whining about her LIFE IS THE WORST and how she HATES HER SAD LIFE all because her hair isn't a nice color. Seriously?
2. When she talks to her brother, "And I'm ticked off, ticked off at everything, at my whole crappy life..." all because of her hair color and some other insignificant events I can't help but think she's the most ungrateful character in any book.
-HER FATHER buys her a Prius at the drop of a phone call, he buys her brother cars.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The beginning of this book was a bit slow, but after a few chapters I couldn't seem to place this book down until the very last page.Published 17 days ago by Cember
Wow. It seems like I purchased a different version of this book than everyone else. This was probably one of the most mind numbingly dull, inane books I've read in a while. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MangoMagic
All 3 books well written, great characters and love interests you have trouble choosing between, great plot and story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robbi P Freeman
Throughout most of this book, I was thinking I would rate it 2 stars, and was pretty sure that I would not be reading the sequels. Read morePublished 2 months ago by mom of 2
I loooove me a good angel book and this did not disappoint!! Clara is part-angel, along with her Mum and brother. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brit
I don't know where to begin or how much to divulge. When I read this book, all I knew was that it was about Angels. That's it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. Russo
One of the best series that I have ever read (and trust me when I say that I have read a lot!)!Published 4 months ago by Bayli