"Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, 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 Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy, promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal."
Paranormalcy is the debut book from Kiersten White. It's been one I've been looking forward to for a while. It sounds great and while I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, I do love it! But when I first started reading it, I started to wonder if I was going to like it at all. Evie is bubbly, fashion savvy and never without her favourite accessories (top of the list being 'Tasey' her pink taser). Not the kind of character I can easily get on with or take seriously. However, I kept going because despite being unsure of Evie, I still liked the premise. And you know what? So totally worth it.
Evie may come across as a little shallow to start with, but what ended up convincing me to keep going and give her a chance was how early on her desire to be normal, to live a normal teenage life in the real world, and how strong it was. She was in the foster care system as a little kid, then became a member of International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) and has worked for them for years. Sure she's treated well, fed, clothed, personal tutors as 'school', but she's very much alone. She's the only one who can see through glamours and her contact with her best friend Lish is limited in several ways on account of Lish being a mermaid and having to remain underwater. Not to mention her seriously creepy ex. So while Evie make like to think of herself as 'normal' it's more her wishing she was.
Things aren't quite normal at IPCA right now. Some strange things have been happening in the paranormal world and when IPCA is broken in to by an unheard of paranormal, Evie decides it's a good time to start digging in to what's going on. I loved seeing the changes in her, the way she dealt with certain issues that came up and how she grew from learning things that had been well hidden from her. Life has never been easy for her, but she finds it just getting worse and she doesn't know who she can turn to.
I was really pleased with the almost understated romance side to this book. I don't like when girl meets guy and does nothing but obsess over him and happily that's not close to what happens here. There is a romantic plot for sure, but its more of a sub-plot. It gets plenty of page time, but not nearly as much as I'd expected it to get. Evie has far too much going on in her life to be able to focus on just a guy for any real length of time.
The plot moves along quickly and after the first few chapters when I'd gotten used to Evie's voice and really started warming up to her and her rebellious nature, I struggled to put it down. It's funny, smart, and has a very well done darker edge to it. I can't say that I didn't roll my eyes at Evie a few times later on, but then I care very little for fashion/shopping and it's kind of a big deal to her. But when it came to the paranormal side, the way IPCA works, what demons/vampires/weres etc are like, the faerie prophecy and what it could mean, I was completely sold. And aside from the fashion stuff, I loved Evie by the end as well. I don't think she's the kind of girl I could be best friends with, (too much energy and too much love for pink!) but she's likable enough. And she does grow up a lot through this book with the issues she faces. That's what I love most about her, is that she does change, she doesn't just deal with these things and go on being the same girl.
The majority of the more prominent side characters are well rounded as well, and there were certainly some interesting characters in that bunch as well! There is something very fresh about Paranormalcy, and it was nice to read a YA book that is a little crazy and serious at the same time without falling flat anywhere. Ultimately I really enjoyed it, thought the ending was great and I'm really looking forward to the second book! 9/10