Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Kiersten White‘s Paranormalcy is a wonderful amalgamation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kristin Cashore‘s Graceling and Fire, and even Hellboy, with her own unique dash of dark, cute brilliance.

Evie’s life is going much the way it always has: evenings spent in graveyards, tempting stray vampires with her bare neck before turning the tables on them with her pink, rhinestoned taser named Tasey. She works for IPCA, the International Paranormal Containment Agency. She’s a normal teenage girl, except that she can see through glamor (the illusion that paranormals put up to deceive normal people), something that no one else in the world can do. This makes her a coveted member of the IPCA. Her best friend is a mermaid with the mouth of a sailor (which is a good thing that her translator has a built in censor), her ex-boyfriend is a pushy, overpossessive fairie with a thing for dancing, and Evie has a alarming addiction to dramatic teen television. The problem is that someone out there is killing off paranormals, and that person is getting dangerously close to IPCA and Evie. A prophecy arises which hints that Evie is inextricably linked with that unknown entity, and she finds out that much of what she knew before is not exactly as it seems. She meets a boy who is as unique as she is, and finds out some unsettling things about herself along the way.

I love White’s voice most of all. I fell right into her quirky way of looking at things, her chaotic mind, and her hilarious quips. Her emotions bleed through, providing more than simple narration, but a real poignancy shines through at times. There is a twinge of romance in the book, though nothing too gushy or overdrawn, but, due to Evie’s near-cloistered lifestyle, it is an entirely new experience for her, one which she does not treat lightly and really thinks through when she needs to.

One of the great themes of this novel was the unreliability of appearances and perceptions–something I’m always happy to see in YA lit. Evie is not your run-of-the-mill imposing or terrifying figure, but with Tasey she’s dangerous. Her best friend is not another teen girl, but a mermaid (who looks nothing like Ariel from The Little Mermaid), and her boyfriend can look like anyone. Those who seem to be her friends or potential allies could be the most dangerous to her; those most beautiful might be the most deadly. Evie is a non-traditional, kick-butt heroine–part of a growing trend in YA lit that I’m really growing to love more and more. There are a lot of great examples, with more coming out all the time–this is a prime representation.

I look forward to reading Supernaturally, the sequel which will come out in July.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

  1. Hi~ I was deciding on book titles to get for the month of June so that I could make it in time for the bookstore promotion and I’m glad to have come across this review! It certainly looks interesting and I would most likely be getting this book~:D

    Thank you for the recommendation! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White « The Book Babbler

  3. Pingback: Graceling by Kristin Cashore « MAGIC OF BOOKS

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