Monday, September 12, 2011

Putting the Sass and Snark Back Into Supernatural Romance: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

ParanormalcyFrom the cover (dark clouds, pretty girl in Gothic-esque attire), you might think that Paranormalcy is another supernatural romance full of forbidden love and tragedy.  You would, however, be delightfully wrong.  Paranormalcy is a snarky and fun ride through a world populated by vampires, werewolves, elementals, faeries, and mermaids.  But all these paranormals don't really impress Evie anymore.  The sixteen year old's best friend is a mermaid, her sort-of ex is faerie, and she has grown up working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, using her unique ability to see through paranormals' glamours to tag and bag rogue paranormals.   But all Evie wants is to be a normal; for her, nothing seems as exotic as the world of high school she sees in her favorite television show, the teen soap Easton Heights.  Knocking out predictable vampires with her favorite pink taser Tasey is great and all but it can't top lockers, driving, or prom in Evie's mind.  But suddenly paranormals are being murdered in huge numbers and a cute shapeshifting boy attempts to break into the IPCA headquarters.  Evie's unexplained abilities might be linked to the deaths, her creepy faerie ex won't leave her alone, and the IPCA seems to have some even darker secrets than Evie ever predicted.  

Paranormalcy is a refreshingly fun take on the popular paranormal/supernatural trend flooding the bookshelves in the YA fiction sections of libraries and bookstores everywhere.  Evie is sassy and snarky and innocent and strong; she's a great kick-butt heroine who remain very much a teenager despite her special talents.    In her review, Abby the Librarian compares the novel and Evie to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is a brilliant connection.  Like Buffy, Evie possesses great power and must deal with some dark situations but she remains snarky and humorous and she persists in her attempts to carve out a 'normal teenage life' despite the strange reality of her situation.  Similarly, the novel takes on a traditionally dark and sometimes melodramatic genre with a lighter approach.  

The romance between Evie and Lend, a shapeshifter who (like Evie) feels like an outsider, is sweet and fun.  I admit I found it a relief to see that Evie views the dark, brooding faerie who tried to seduce in the past as creepy and dangerously possessive;  it was a nice change from some paranormal romances in which the plot revolves around the innocent girl who can't seem to resist the clearly dangerous dark creature who wants to seduce/hurt her.      

I sped through this novel with ease and can't wait to include in it some booktalks for 7th and 8th graders later this year.  I feel confident that it will fly off the shelves with very little work from me :) And, best of all, Supernaturally, the second book in this trilogy-to-be, was published in July so there's even more of Evie's sassy supernatural adventures to enjoy! 

4/5 STARS 

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