Author: Kiersten White
Genre: fantasy, paranormal, romance
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: 5/5 Stars
"Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal. Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.So much for normal."
Anyone who has met me in real life probably thinks I'm fairly sane. That is until they really get to know me and learn about my obsession with a little show called Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The extent of my love for this show goes far beyond casual viewership and into the "dangerously crazed" category of fandom. So much so that I injured myself on more than one occasion when I was in grade school trying to do kickboxing in my room (i'm not very coordinated). I have spent countless hours lamenting the fact that I will never be The Chosen One and that I don't get cool weapons (or athleticism for that matter). Buffy ended awhile ago but I still tend to compare most paranormal-esque things to it. I picked up Paranormalcy expecting a pretty good read based on the reviews I had read, but I was shocked by the amount of awesome in this book! It was spooky, quirky and funny. So why the Buffy intro to this post? I'll tell you, Evie's witticisms and attitude remind me so much of Buffy! I think that's why I loved this book so much. By page 3 I was thinking "why isn't this a show on the CW yet?!". I am in love with this book! Let me give you an example of why I fell for this read:
“Tasers are a one-size-fits-all paranormal butt-kicking option. Mine’s pink withrhinestones.” - Evie, Paranormalcy
Yes, ladies and gents, that's correct, she has a pink, bedazzled taser. Oh, how I want one. And in case you are wondering, yes, they do in fact exist (naturally I looked this up immediately). There is actually quite a selection of pink tasers. I happen to think the Hello Kitty one is pretty sweet.
Anyway, adorable anti-rape devices aside, this story had lots of things going for it. First of all there is Evie. I've already told you how I love her spunk, but she also has real depth and vulnerability without getting all weepy every time she breaks a nail. She is strong and capable while still being feminine. All of the characters that White creates here are realistic (strangely enough) and their motives are relateable. This includes the bad guys and even the background characters. I also really enjoyed Lend. He is a paranormal who is captured while breaking in to the agency where Evie works. He can change into almost any person and only Evie can see his real face. Of course they grow to love each other but this is not a case of insta-love. They form a friendship first and out of that loyalty and admiration comes love. This is always admirable in YA literature where the model for successful book says that the girl needs to instantly fall in love with the brooding male lead. That's another thing! Lend doesn't brood! He is funny and charming and just a little awkward. Yes! I don't know about you but Lend is just my type. The two of them together are hilarious and entirely believable. The third character I want to get into is the villain. I won't get into too much detail because, for the most part, this character isn't revealed until about half way through the book, but I will tell you that White does an excellent job of making sure that we understand the villain and even feel sympathy for their plight.
Another thing I like about this story was that it wasn't one-sided. I didn't feel like one person or organization was all bad or all good. This is something that Evie comes to realize as well as the book goes on. I think this is an important theme for a YA book. I know that as a teenager it was easy for me to feel like the people who didn't always treat me well, or who didn't agree with me were awful people who were just plain wrong, all the time, about everything. But that's not real life. In reality we all have our moments of good and bad and White illustrates this with not only the monsters in her book, but the humans as well.
As far as negatives go I really wasn't able to think of anything I would have changed about the story. It just worked for me. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something both spook and heartfelt with a lot of snark. Giles would be proud.