Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Evie, the quirky heroine in this Kiersten White’s young adult fantasy is on a quest to become a normal teenager in the middle of an abnormal world. Her attitude entertains the reader, and the original plot and interesting supernatural creatures keep the pages turning.
Adopted by the International Paranormal Containment Agency at the age of 8, Evie never really knew what it felt like to be a normal, human girl. Her only connection to the outside world is her favorite television show, Easton Heights. The IPCA is her home, but also her workplace.
Because Evie has a unique trait: she sees through a paranormal creature glamour, or the magical “shield’ they put around themselves that makes them appear human to the rest of the world. Vamps hide their decomposing bodies, while faeries hide their unnatural beauty. Evie can see them all, the way they are, not the image they project. This makes her valuable.
But her missions to bring in the rogue paranormals are failing. They all die before she can find them. And then a mysterious person begins attacking IPCA Centers around the world, leaving only humans alive. Who is the creature? What does it want?
A teenage boy breaks into IPCA headquarters in the midst of this crisis. Evie captures him, and the Center puts him in a containment cell. Lend’s unlike anything she or the Center has ever seen. With his true form invisible to everybody but Evie, who can see a faint outline of water, he changes glamors with fluidity and skill. She quickly discovers that he’s from the outside world. He goes to a real high school, with real locker, and a real prom. This unique boy may be the answer to her prayers for normalcy. But he also gets her thinking about her past and her purpose at IPCA. Who is she really? Her questions uncover some uncomfortable information, pushing Evie even farther away from normal than she thought possible.
Evie personifies quirky. She loves pink and zebra stripes, especially worn in combination. She calls her pink, rhinestone-encrusted taser (the one that’s brought down hundreds of vampires) Tasey. And she kicks butt with a sense of humor. Take for example, her neat handling of an escaped gremlin: “I watched it as if in slow motion. The gremlin made straight for me, a rabid gleam in its eyes. It leaped into the air and i kicked out hard, sending it sailing down the hall, right into the arms of the containment worker chasing it. ‘Goal!’ I shouted. Dang, I was good.”
White brings all the typical paranormal into this story, making the average fantasy reader comfortable with a very structured, in-depth world. And then she throws in characters like Evie and Lend as the twist. This combination of expected and unexpected keep the reader guessing and the plot original.