Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy Book 1)

by Kiersten White

Hardcover, 335 pages
September 1st 2010 by HarperTeen


Details from Goodreads:

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.


All Evie wants to be is a normal teenager. She’s obsessed with a TV show that depicts what she believes are normal high school kids, and she pines for a world in which she could have a locker and go to the prom like a normal girl. Evie isn’t normal, though. She works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA), her ex-boyfriend is a faerie (whose intentions are dubious at best), she’s crushing on a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person she knows who can see through paranormal’s glamours. When paranormals start dying in record numbers, Evie starts to realize that not only is NOT normal, but that she might be the key to a mysterious prophecy that could alter the world forever.

Something about Kiersten White’s debut novel grabbed my attention. It garnered a lot of attention on the blogosphere when it was published last last year, and while I didn’t race out and read it, the idea of it settled in the back of my mind. Readers, I’m glad I did, because this was a really fun book.

Although the book is supernatural in theme and content, it’s also grounded in reality. The character of Evie demonstrates this particularly well. Even though she is at least a little supernatural, Evie’s desire to be a part of the “normal” world is palpable, made all the more real by White’s clear, competent writing. Little details, like Evie’s geeking-out over the concept of a locker or her obsession with a popular TV show featuring beautiful teenagers, help add to the credibility of Evie’s character. White’s ability to create an authentic voice for Evie helps carry the story along. It’s clear that the author knows these characters well, and it’s equally clear that she loves them.

What sets this book apart from other supernatural-themed YA novels is the humor and self-awareness that White brings to the genre. Evie’s snark and her persnickety attitude create for some truly funny passages. Also notable is the fact that White gently subverts the sexy-vampire cliche by having Evie point out (several times) that vampires are corpses. Little details like this make the book stand out. In a sea of books that feature dull, lifeless heroines whose sole purpose is to be saved by their male love interest, White’s debut features a strong heroine who can take care of herself, make out with a cute boy, AND save the world in the process.

Despite a little meandering of the plot about halfway through, Paranormalcy is a flirty, fun and fast read. While Evie and Lend’s romance may lack drama, it’s sweeter than chocolate pie… which is plenty sweet enough!

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