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Supernaturally by Kiersten White
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's review
Nov 26, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: z-fairies, library-own-print, g-paranormal, published-2011, pub-harper-collins, 2011-read, library-own-read, library-own-2010-2011
Read in April, 2011

Originally posted at Small Review

"The Buffy mark"

There was a blurb on Supernaturally that said something along the lines of “Comes closer than most to hitting the Buffy mark.” Well, Buffy fanatic that I am, any sort of comparison to Buffy usually sets me off…and not in a good way. Because can anything really come close to the awesomeness of Buffy? I didn’t think so.

Now Kiersten White is no Joss Whedon. Her humor is completely different and it isn’t really fair to either of them to try to compare Evie to Buffy. They’re just different. Yet, that blurb is totally spot on.

What Joss Whedon managed to do so perfectly that makes Buffy epic was create a show that had incredible humor, but also incredible depth and seriousness. These aspects are then balanced in a way where both complement and enhance one another. THIS is where Kiersten White nails it. This is how she "hits the Buffy mark."

I love these people

Evie is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever met. Just like in Paranormalcy, the first page--heck, the first line--had me laughing. I knew this book would be awesome by that first sentence alone. Evie's the kind of girl who looks at the world, says exactly what I would be thinking, but does it in a way that’s a million times funnier than I could ever dream of being. The best humor is the kind that resonates, and Evie is so utterly relatable. Whenever I read Evie, all I want to do is make her real and have a million sleepover parties together and buy BFF charm necklaces.

She also so gets my high school gym experience.

And yet…beneath all the cute glitter and pink is a deceptively sad story. It might be easy to get wrapped up in the light tone of the book and believe there is no more here than superficial fun, but that would be a mistake. There’s a darkness here that is breathtakingly tragic.

The characters Kiersten White creates are so real and possess such depth. My heart aches for them. Even the Big Bads are complex people with logical reasons for why they act the way they do. If you’re the type of reader who wants villains that transcend the black and white confines of Good vs Evil, then look no further.

Supernaturally gives greater insight into Paranormalcy’s Big Bad while also introducing a new BB to the mix. While they’re both bad, the funny thing is that I feel protective over them. I like them. Yeah, ok, they’re not good people, but I get them. I see where they’re coming from, even if they’re wrong. I want to cry over their completely heartbreaking stories. The best part is that Evie sees it too, and watching her grapple with the confusion this leads to adds the depth of both character and plot that elevates Kiersten White from “good writer” to “superb writer.”

Middle books are different

I was blown away by Paranormalcy, and while Supernaturally is made of awesome it doesn’t quite hit the same mark Paranormalcy did. The plot of Paranormalcy really grabbed me and took me on a roller coaster of a ride. The impending threat of the Big Bad going around murdering paranormals and the mysterious nature of that BB kept my eyes glued to the pages.

Supernaturally’s Big Bad is a lot more subtle, and, for me, that subtlety lessened my “OHMYBLEEPINGGOSHWE’REALLGOING TODIEEEEE” excitement that I had going with the first book. Don’t get me wrong, the story is still fun and there’s still a mysterious aspect to unravel (which I sadly managed to figure out too soon), but it didn’t have the same edge-of-your-seat feeling that I loved so much.

In some ways Supernaturally is very much a “middle of a trilogy” book, but in this case that isn’t a bad thing. Evie’s life changed completely in Paranormalcy, and Supernaturally shows Evie dealing with all of that fallout. It’s a very character-driven story. Too often major things happen to characters and the impact of those events is glossed over for the sake of advancing the plot. Now, you know me, I have a very short attention span. I want ACTION! So when I say I truly appreciated the time Kiersten White takes here in letting Evie figure everything out, you can be confident that this isn’t a boring filler book.

(To put it in terms Buffy fans will understand, Supernaturally is Buffy’s season six. There isn't really a gigantic Big Bad like in the other seasons. The focus is instead more inward and focuses on the characters themselves. Supernaturally obviously has totally different events, but think the soul searching and character development end of things.)

Unique paranormals (with proper sparkle placement)

There are so many clichés in YA paranormal books right now that complaining about the clichés is practically a cliché in itself. But Kiersten White? I need to create an altar to bow down in front of and give massive thanks for turning paranormal clichés on their heads (but there will be no animal sacrifices at this altar! Will offerings of sparkly things suffice?)

I may need to offer a few sparkly pink taser holsters in penance for ever doubting her, too. Hear me out though, ok? I mean, Paranormalcy was chock full of a whole bunch of paranormals, and they were all totally different from how we’re used to reading about them (noooo pretty vampires here!), but not in ways that are lame (sparkles are for jewelry, not vampires). This was awesome, but I really wasn’t expecting Kiersten to have the imaginative reserves left after all that to create even more unique paranormals and add even more depth to the already established ones. Now having read Supernaturally? Me=IDIOT.

Diana Peterfreund was the sole occupant of my “Authors who make COMPLETELY AWESOME AND ORIGINAL Unicorns” pedestal, but I now need to put in an order for a wider pedestal. Kiersten White is soo getting a spot on it now. I’m not even going to mention the other paranormals so you don’t get spoiled, but I will say this: Reading Kiersten’s books is like taking a stroll through a paranormal amusement park. (That's a good thing).

Crazy for you

I’m so torn on all of the scenes of peril. I want to go running around screaming in fright, giggle like a seven year old listening to a fart joke (um, still do that), and clap my hands in delight over the new spin on the paranormals. So, uh, Kiersten? Thanks for making me look like a COMPLETE LUNATIC when I read your books in public. Ugh, Readers, take it from me and don’t even try to explain to (non-cool) people why the cloud scene in Supernaturally is made of win. (But, seriously Kiersten, thanks. The reading experience is so worth those weird looks).

Final proof that Kiersten White is a genius?

The chapter titled "Sparkles Make Everything Better" Yes they do, Kiersten. YES THEY DO!

Bottom line

If you loved Paranormalcy, then I’m certain you’ll love Supernaturally. Luckily I’m tiny so I can hide from you pretty easily if I’m wrong and you try to hunt me down for misleading you. But I don’t think that’ll happen. You definitely have to read Paranormalcy for Supernaturally to make any kind of sense, but Supernaturally ends nicely without any pull-your-hair-out cliffhangers (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!). I can’t wait for the third (and final *sniff*) book, but that’s because I just want more.

My only complaint is that there isn’t nearly enough Reth and I really wanted to learn more about him. His scenes are wonderful, but too infrequent and riddled with cryptic clues. *Sigh* That is just so like him.

Originally posted at Small Review
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Reading Progress

04/01/2011 page 1
0.0% "Oh my bleeping gosh! First page, first line, and I'm in love."
12/04/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Sandy *throwing glitter as I read your review*

Fantastic review! Supernaturally was SO GOOD.

Small Review Thanks! Totally agree :)

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