The power of a voice is uncanny. A good voice, maybe I should say. I bought and read Kiersten White’s debut novel Paranormalcy on the strength of her blog. If you haven’t been yet, go visit NOW. Kiersten has one of the funniest, kindest, and most endearing “voices” that I have ever read (fiction, non-fiction, you name it). The only writer I have loved more upon first acquaintance in the past few years? Sherman Alexie, author of National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
So: she’s laugh-out-loud hilarious, and I pre-ordered her debut novel last summer. What then?
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, 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 Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.
Best word to describe Paranormalcy? CUTE. Undeniably cute. Also: entertaining, funny-as-heck, and promising. Look, I’m not going to say it’s life-changing (unless you are in dire need of laughter). It probably won’t bend the way you look at reality or affect the way you think. But given that, it’s a good time and guilt-free in every way that a chocolate sundae can’t be (look Ma, no calories!). And Kiersten’s voice, which I fell in love with months ago, is there in bits and pieces through her lovable and fallible character Evie.
Evie is the star…err…main character of Paranormalcy, and she’s wonderful in part because she is SO NORMAL. And I mean that in a ‘acts her age and makes mistakes’ kind of way. Although her situation sits squarely in fantasy territory, she’s got a good head on her shoulders and seems completely authentic, all the way down to boys, pink and answering back to authority. She’s a genuine character, and a fun one to be around, even (or especially) when she’s getting into scrapes of her own making.
Also: though I thought I could never again contemplate anything NEAR to a young adult love triangle, I somehow find myself interested in the whole Lend/Reth thing. In Lend, Kiersten has crafted a rare creature – a “real”-seeming boy. Not only is he teenage awkward, he’s sweet, and his family is as normal as you can expect from a YA paranormal romance. Oh, and did I mention that he’s hot? At least, Evie thinks so.
Paranormalcy is full of adventure, mayhem, pink, and fun. If I had to equate it to a specific experience, I'd say that it's like a summer fair with rides and cotton candy. It’s not perfect or profound, but it’s happy-making. It may not be for you. But if it sounds at all like it might be, I urge you to pick it up.
Recommended for: fans of young adult paranormal and fantasy, anyone in the mood for some good, clean fun and adventure, and light entertainment that will have you laughing (and sighing) along with Evie, Lend, and a whole cast of engaging and strange characters.