Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White (HarperCollins, August 21, 2010, YA) is a cracking good read, one that should delight fans of the YA paranormal romance/thriller genres.
Evie has been a ward of the International Paranormal Containment Agency ever since she was eight. Her unique ability makes her an invaluable member of the global force dedicated to tracking down and neutralizing paranormal beings--vampires, werewolves, hags, and the like. Being the only teenager who lives in the agency is kind of lonely; her best friend is a mermaid who lives in a glorified holding tank. Still, at least it's home, and there's always online shopping....even if she knows she'll never get to go to high school.
Then the relative peace of the Agency is shattered. A shapeshifter infiltrates the enclave, while in the outside world, paranormals are suddenly being, not neutralized, but killed outright. To make things more complicated, Evie's would be faerie lover is back, and turning the charm on as only a faerie can. And the young shapeshifter, now a prisoner of the Agency, is working charms of his own on Evie's lonely heart...
And things start getting really exciting.
I'm not, so much, myself a paranormal romance fan, but I was hooked by the light, sassy tone of this plucky and lonely heroine. I was gripped by the desperate mystery in which she finds herself the key player, and I was rather interested in the romance (it was kind of obvious where that was going, so I wasn't tremendously anxious about it)...Although the ultimate solution left me confused as to the motivations of the puppet masters involved (there are two more books planned, in which more presumably will be made clear), it was a fun, diverting read that kept me hooked despite reading it in the same house as six children ten and younger, five of them boys.*
In short, it had zing.
Age wise--lots of paranormals go down, but don't die horribly on stage, the romance is understated and nascent (although the faerie dude, and the glamour he wields as he tries to take possession of Evie, is Not Nice at all), and the language is clean--but it's still is most definitely 12 and up plot, theme, and character-wise. A good one, I think, for a reader who might not be quite ready for Melissa Marr or Holly Black, but certainly fun for any age.
(final thought--I think the title is a lovely play on words--Evie longs to try "normalcy", but can't escape the "para" part of her life...)
Here are two giveaways--at Bookantistas or here at Reading Teen--and here are some reviews from Imagination in Focus, My Brain on Books, The Sparkling Star, and Book Aunt.
*which is why posting has been sparse. Too much competition for the computer. Too little time for peaceful thought.