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31 Days of Teens’ Top Ten: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.  Each day during the month of May, The Hub will feature a post about Teens’ Top Ten.  Be sure to check in daily as we visit past winners and current nominees!

One of the previous blog writers mentioned the fact that the TTT nominees and winners over the years have reflected the current publishing trends. That’s certainly true for the nominees this year. Thanks to the Twilight phenomenon, paranormal romances are really big right now and show no signs of lessening anytime soon. With all the paranormal books being published (paranormal lit, paranormal chick-lit, paranormal thrillers, paranormals set in boarding schools, etc.) with their similar looking covers it’s sometimes hard to distinguish one from another. But, one published in 2010 that’s one of the TTT nominees for this year really stands out.
It’s true that Paranormalcy by Kiersten White has vampires, werewolves and faeries but they aren’t the main focus of the book – Evie, a seemingly normal girl, is. She does have a talent that makes her unique though – she can see through all paranormals’ glamours and that makes her indispensible to the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA). She was raised there and works for them tracking down and neutralizing all sorts of paranormals – from vamps to gremlins to hags. She’s a badass; a butt-kicking 16-year-old orphan who loves pink, has pale  gray eyes and doesn’t go anywhere without her pink rhinestone “Tasey.” She made the very regrettable mistake of briefly falling for a Reth, a mesmerizingly beautiful but cruel faerie and now that she’s managed to get over him – although she often regrets it – he won’t leave her alone. Then Evie catches a paranormal that to everyone else is just an inert form without substance or shape that has broken into the Agency, but she can see he’s a cute teenaged shapeshifter who can take on anyone’s identity.
His name is Lend – as in can lend himself to any identity – and he spends a lot of his time wearing Evie’s face – something she finds really freaky. She’s been hearing voices that predict strange events and she realizes she plays a key role in the prophesized destruction of all the paranormal creatures.  A strange creature filled with light breaks into the Agency and attacks all the paranormals, sucking the life out of them, including Lish, a mermaid and Evie’s best friend.   Only Evie sees that the creature’s a woman and so bright she hurts Evie’s eyes. Everyone else just sees a cute young woman with eyes just like Evie’s. As Agencies are being attacked all over the world and paranormals killed, Evie escapes with Lend to his Virginia hometown where she meets his human father and paranormal mother, a powerful water nymph and many paranormals living in safety in the town. Lend’s hometown is a sort of underground railroad for paranormals who are free to live as they please there, safe from the IPCA and they help each other to control their nastier sides of themselves. Evie realizes the IPCA wasn’t the noble organization she thought it was. Paranormals were being experimented on and neutralized without their consent. Lend’s town has a more human approach to living with paranormals than the Agency did.
The young woman who’s sucking the souls out of all the paranormals keeps visiting Evie in her dreams. Her name’s Vivian and she reveals Evie’s true nature and tells her she and Vivian are soulless sisters – created by the faeries and called The Empty Ones. They are destined to take the life’s fire out of paranormals to keep themselves alive. Evie and Lend are similar in that they are stuck between two different worlds.
Will they end up together or will Evie be forced to kill him for his soul? This book is action packed, but also very funny. Evie just wants to live like a normal girl and is thrilled with the prospect of going to a regular school, attending the prom and having, of all things, her own locker (!). She and many other paranormals are all obsessed with a soap opera called Easton Heights that portrays normal life in a way that makes the paranormals’ lives look tame. Author Aprilynne Pike (Wings, Spells, Illusions) sums it up perfectly in her quote on the back cover of the book, “Paranormalcy seduced me. The two sexy paranormals who vie for Evie’s affections each had their own victory; one won Evie’s heart and the other won mine.”

Sharon Rawlins is currently reading Stolen by Lucy Christopher


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Sharon Rawlins

Sharon is the Youth Services Specialist at the NJ State Library in Trenton, NJ