Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Review: PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

The bunker of superlatives has been plundered.

The Horse of Crying Woot is hoarse.

And the elves? Who make the cheerleaders’ pom-poms? The streamers, the bunting, the vuvuzellae? “We may be immortal,” they holler, “but churning out this celebratory Paranormalcy stuff’s gonna take forever.”

Any silky dress that fails to snag on bullrushes is paranormal in my book...


When Kiersten and I started following each other as fledgling bloggers, this moment was always on the cards, and I’m so pleased the deftness for language she displayed from day one in her short, witty ripostes around the blogosphere, her frequent flashes of fiction and snippets of stories, has been unleashed by the triumverate of triumph known as HarperCollins/Wolfson/Sussman and allowed to spin out into a full length novel. It’s not so much the icing on the cake as the strawberry that swoops from overhead like a jet, loops the loop before your very eyes, and whooshes between your awestruck lips like a basketball slam-dunked by a titan.

The premise is a simple one. Evie, a sixteen year-old girl with strong views about mermaid’s bras, can see through paranormals’ glamours, and when all those vamps and werewolves start being taken out by a spoiler alert mystery being, she finds herself at the centre of a pacey plot that rocks. And in between chasing rampaging otherworldly creatures and blitzing them with her taser, Evie falls in love with a boy.

I always knew I was going to adore the monstery parts, all those classic fantasy beasts being tweaked with style. What I didn’t expect was to melt like a liquified puppy over the kissing scenes. I don’t normally do YA, but for this one, it seems, I became an honourary fifteen year-old teenager called Julie, complete with pop socks, crush-prone outlook, and life-threatening homework dilemmas.*

* To clarify: the puppy was liquified humanely.

There are so many good things about this book, but what stands out most for me is the pace. As I read it, there could almost have been a paranormal in the room with me: I swear some of those pages turned themselves. Also, of course, there’s Evie. In spite of her of her eviedent superpowers (sorry, I had to), she’s ultra vulnerable, ultra lost, and since the plot is more sophisticated than the Girl Meets Monsters / Girl Meets Boy scenario I’ve outlined, she’s led astray in ways that make you want to leap right between the pages and drag her out with your bare hands. This happened to me a couple of times, and I was ready to plunge straight in, armed only with pyjamas and a reading lamp, but an eerie voice counselled, paper cuts — and I managed to restrain myself. Weird things happen when you read this baby, I swear.

And read it, you must!

My only complaint? I could have done with more. Luckily, Kiersten has had the foresight to compose a trilogy, so I’ll only have to lope around like a wounded animal for another year. Maybe I’ll lope like Jacques, the Gallic lycanthrope. Aaaaah, another of my favourites....


14 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

Congratulations to Kiersten on writing such a wonderful book! And on having the lovely Whirl review it!

Whirlochre said...

So glad I wasn't born a viking. In addition to the cumbersome clothes and the slaying, I'd have to put up with an insanely irritating K vacuum.

j.leigh.bailey said...

Your review made me smile. I just finished Paranormalcy myself, and have to say that I agree with everything you said, and that you (unfortunately for me) said it better than I ever could have. :)

*sorry I had to do this twice... I found a horrible typo that would have made me look like a nitwit.*

writtenwyrdd said...

It really was a lot of fun and well written. It's very sweet for a paranormal, not dark at all. I think that it would be particularly good for younger readers, Midgrade and early teens.

Whirlochre said...

J Leigh Bailey
Thanks for dropping by. I do so like to receive visits from people with blue hair.

WW
Isn't it just? A light and deft touch all round, even when grisly things happen.

Plus, I can confirm I'm still laughing about the mermaid joke...

Sarah Laurenson said...

A fun, light read with wonderfully creative monsters. Yep. You said it much better than I.

Kiersten White said...

"Evie, a sixteen-year-old girl with strong views about mermaid's bras,"--GENIUS. Why didn't I use that description when pitching it??

Alas. From now on I will make you write all of my cover letters.

Thanks : ) So glad you enjoyed it, friend. And that the liquefaction was humane.

For the record, you make a lovely Julie.

Whirlochre said...

Sarah
...a fun, light read with wonderfully creative monsters...

Nope — I think you're the nailer round here.

Kiersten
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced I'm one of the best Julies ever.

stacy said...

Can't wait to read this~

stacy said...

That punctuation was meant to be an exclamation point. Perhaps next time I'll just spell it out.

Whirlochre said...

the excitement
filled her
with a tilde...

Old Kitty said...

A super duper stunning review!! With bells on!

:-)
Take care
x

McKoala said...

Best review ever! And, yes, I will somehow find Kiersten's book downunder!

sylvia said...

This is a wonderful review! I'm also in awe of Kiersten's pacing and kisses. I mean, uh ... well, you know what I mean.