Gr 7-10-Clara Gardner is a quarter-angel. She lives with her mom and brother in California, until she starts to receive visions of her divine purpose involving a handsome young man, a forest fire, and sadness. The teen and her mom slowly piece together her visions and realize that the fire is near Jackson, WY. Clara's family packs up and moves there so that she can fulfill her destiny. She meets the boy from her vision, Christian, but he already has a girlfriend and a popular set of friends. She tries to get closer to him, but is distracted by friends, trying to learn to fly, and a cute, but annoying cowboy. Despite her brief visions, Clara doesn't know much about her angelic nature. She meets Angela, who is also an angel, and guesses that Clara is too. Clara learns that fallen angels have dark wings and will try to take her powers. The day of her purpose comes and she must make an impossible choice-do what she is supposed to do or save the boy she loves. Although the book is lengthy, the plot moves quickly and should appeal to reluctant readers. Hand does an excellent job of creating and sustaining the mood of teenage angst mixed with first love. A gentle, paranormal romance that is sure to appeal to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005) fans. First book in a projected trilogy.-Samantha Larsen Hastings, Riverton Library, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Hand debuts with an engrossing take on the angel mythos that centers on human/angel hybrids living modern lives. All semihuman descendants of angels have a "purpose," something they were put on Earth to do, and 16-year-old Clara is no exception. Following the clues in her visions, Clara and her family move from California to Wyoming to find the boy she believes she's destined to save from a forest fire. Locating Christian is fairly easy; figuring out why and how she's supposed to get close to him isn't. As Clara negotiates high school cliques and homework, learns to use her wings, and suffers oddly stimulating arguments with her best friend's brother, she finds she will have to make decisions that could break her heart or deny her very purpose. Hand avoids overt discussion of religion while telling an engaging and romantic tale with solid backstory. Her characters deal realistically with the uncertainty of being on the cusp of maturity without wrapping themselves in angst. While the exciting climax satisfactorily concludes many of the story's threads, some questions are left to the next book of the trilogy. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.