Supernaturally by Kiersten White
July 26, 2011; HarperTeen
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.(courtesy of Goodreads)
One of the hardest things for a first time author to do is to leave that debut status and become a sophomore author. It is hardest when an author's first novel is received to high acclaim. How do you top a great book? Kiersten White was in this position with Supernaturally. Paranormalcy was a refreshing change from the standard paranormal romance. Laugh out loud funny with a heroine who was sweet, snarky, and confident but also innocent and vulnerable. Add to that a host of paranormal characters and a kind love interest and you have a winning novel.
I'd love to say that Supernaturally outdoes Paranormalcy or even lives up to it, but I cannot. That's not to say it's bad. Certainly not. It is a wonderful book, but it's not special. I was disappointed to see it falling into the same formulaic mold that the majority of "second" paranormal novels feel compelled to fit: Happy love life isn't so great, couple emotionally or physically separates, third wheel enters, heroine gets into some kind of trouble, happy couple reunites happily. And there you have Supernaturally in a very bare-bones nutshell.
Evie has everything she wants - a normal life, a fabulous boyfriend, and best of all - a locker! Unfortunately, she realizes what the rest of us figured out long ago. Normal isn't that fun. So she accepts contract work with the IPCA, despite knowing the agency's dark side. But even her old hunting habits aren't as easy as they used to be. Especially not with Jack, her new colleague - or is he an enemy?
Evie continues to be a joy. She's not as funny as she was in Paranormalcy, but I still got a kick out of her. She has such a sarcastic, dry outlook on life - definitely someone I would want to be friends with. Plus, everything about her is cutesy and girly. I also like that her vulnerabilities are a big part of her character and the plot. She is desperate to really understand where she came from. She both loves and resents Raquel, the only "mother" she ever knew. She can't stand her ex-boyfriend Reth, the manipulative amoral fairy, but she also can't stay away. It makes Evie feel like a real person and also adds depth to a series that might otherwise feel lightweight. While Evie's decisions in Supernaturally don't always seem wise, they make a lot of sense when you understand the haunted side of her personality.
While I wasn't as pleased with Supernaturally as Paranormalcy, I think I understand its place in the series. There's a reason that the second book tends to be formulaic. Supernaturally further developed the fantasy world - the IPCA, Evie's background, the renegade paranormals. It pushed Evie further along the road of self-discovery and toward a more satisfying relationship with Lend. Ultimately, the series will have more depth because of Supernaturally's place-holding role. But it would be so nice to have a stellar second novel. They're too rare.
You must read Supernaturally if you loved Paranormalcy. It is cutesy and funny. The writing is clean and flows very quickly. You'll love Evie and Lend (the little you see of him). You'll also love Jack who is sarcastic and funny, in many ways the perfect guy for Evie. Kiersten's take on fairies, werewolves, and vampires is like nothing you'll read in any other series. Supernaturally is still a breath of fresh air from most of paranormal romance novels.