Size Doesn’t Matter (119): Unearthly; Love and First Sight; How It Feels to Fly

Size Doesn’t Matter (119): Unearthly; Love and First Sight; How It Feels to FlyUnearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Published by HarperTeen on January 4, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 435
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees...
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Unearthly was one of the first ARCs I got off of NetGalley back when I first started book blogging in 2010. I must have been really excited about it, because I read it a couple of months early. At the time, I was quite impressed with this angel paranormal, but it doesn’t hold up as well today.

I totally get why I really liked Unearthly. The voice is pretty good. Angels are my least favorite paranormal creature because eugh religion, but they’re inoffensive thus far. And, most important, Tucker. He called her “Carrots.” What more reason did I really need?

YA has come a long way since Unearthly, however, and it suffers a few problems typical to the paranormal fad. There’s some casual shaming of both sluts and girls who wear make up, because shaming was a classic element of paranormal. There’s a lot of dependence on the “I won’t tell you stuff to protect you” trope coming from Clara’s mom. Clara and Tucker, as cute as they are, confess their love within a couple weeks of actually hanging out; that would maybe not feel so instalovey without her angel powers confirming that this is LOVE.

The biggest problem, though, is that the whole plot of this first book is the love triangle. I’m not opposed to a well done love triangle, and in the first installment this one’s alright, but I do think books with love triangles should still have actual plots. Certainly if they’re genre fic. I’m also not thrilled to have to watch Clara go back and forth between the guys for three books.

Unearthly didn’t bear up that well to rereading, but it was still fun. At this point, I do plan to finish out the series (I only ever read the first book before).

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (119): Unearthly; Love and First Sight; How It Feels to FlyLove and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Published by Little Brown BFYR on January 3, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 281
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

Love is more than meets the eye.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Sundquist clearly did a lot of research in writing Love and First Sight. The voice is almost there too. But Love and First Sight only kind of worked for me.

I can’t really say how accurate the representation in Love and First Sight is, but I didn’t necessarily love some elements. Certain things, like how confusing things like perspective and depth perception are, were really interesting. What bothered me most, I think, was that the whole book is about Will’s blindness, and about him becoming sighted. The giant conflict is about finding out that people have lied to him about how attractive his crush is. That pretty much took out anything remotely shippy about Will and Cecily.

Sundquist clearly worked really hard on this book, but I wish there was a bit more to it. And I’m not sure that this was a great story about blindness to tell, especially as it’s not own voices.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (119): Unearthly; Love and First Sight; How It Feels to FlyHow It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
Published by HarperTeen on June 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

A struggle with body dysmorphia forces one girl to decide if letting go of her insecurity also means turning her back on her dreams.

Sam has always known she’d be a professional dancer—but that was before her body betrayed her, developing unmanageable curves in all the wrong places. Lately, the girl staring back at Sam in the mirror is unrecognizable. Dieting doesn’t work, ignoring the whispers is pointless, and her overbearing mother just makes it worse.

Following a series of crippling anxiety attacks, Sam is sent to a treatment camp for teens struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. Forced to open up to complete strangers, Sam must get through the program if she wants to attend a crucial ballet intensive later in the summer. It seems hopeless until she starts confiding in a camp counselor who sparks a confidence she was sure she’d never feel again. But when she’s faced with disappointing setbacks, will Sam succumb to the insecurity that imprisons her?

This compelling story from Kathryn Holmes examines one girl’s efforts to overcome her worst enemy: herself.

The only reason I picked up How It Feels to Fly is that it came along in a package with an ARC I’d requested. It sounded too sad, but I thought I’d give it a shot since an ARC came to me. I’m really glad I did.

Aspiring ballerina Sam has been having panic attacks since her body morphed from the ideal dancer’s body into a curvy shape. All the pressure, negative attitudes towards anything but a thin, delicate body type, and a lack of success dieting the weight off have left Sam with a little voice in her head telling her how fat and ugly and useless she is at all times. After one of her panic attacks hits around people, she’s sent to a therapy camp for athletes/performers with anxiety.

I got completely sucked into How It Feels to Fly. It’s definitely sad most of the time, and Sam makes some really unhealthy choices that you see coming a mile away; her crush on Andrew is cringe-inducing, for example. These books about anxiety therapy are always so painful and cathartic for me, and I can relate to aspects of what these kids are growing through (the inner voice telling you how much you suck 24/7 and the way Zoe lashes out at others when she’s uncomfortable, most especially).

How It Feels to Fly isn’t my usual read, because it’s not a fluffy romance book or a lush fantasy world, but I think it’s a read that I needed.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (119): Unearthly; Love and First Sight; How It Feels to Fly”

  1. Yikes. i guess I won’t be reading the first one.
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