Supernaturally is one of those books we fight over who gets to review. We all wanted to get our hands on it and we all wanted to be the one to tell everyone how much we loved it. So, when it came time to actually post the review, well, things almost got violent.
Instead of participating in the looming cage fight, we decided to be civil about the matter and all have a chance to share our two cents.
Caitlin: So, I was super excited for Supernaturally. I tried to bribe someone on twitter out of their copy. I’d stare at it on Goodreads hoping it would just magically appear in my hands. Other, more creepy, things that cannot be discussed here. Either way, when I finally got a copy…there may have been a little happy jig. A dance of joy. A spasm of excitement. And then I sat down to read. I love sitting down to read.
Supernaturally is very much a second book. It’s a second book in that it isn’t as fun and lighthearted as the first. Bad things happened at the end of the first and Evie, and the rest of the cast, had to deal with the consequences. Going to high school, and living a life of relative freedom was all Evie wanted before, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the “be careful what you wish for,” line. Evie had friends and family in the Institute and her freedom has basically cut her off from them completely.
I really liked everything we got to see and learn about Evie in this book. The glimpses of a relaxed, non-psycho Vivian. And Jack. He was both irritating and intriguing. And I was so, so, so, so, so, so, so sosososososoososo glad that Keirsten didn’t go the route of the surprise love triangle. There was a moment when I thought she might but then she proved true in the end. No love triangle. I wasn’t sure that could still happen in YA books. I feel like there should be an official dance for no-love-triangle books. Like a secret handshake but not so subtle and definitely more awkward.
One thing I didn’t like about the book was the amount of lying, or covering up of the truth, Evie did. That just didn’t feel true to the Evie we’d gotten to know in Paranormalcy. I did, however, love the plethora of new paranormals we got to meet and how they all had their own agendas and motivations and secrets. Kiersten does a good job of making the world have depth beyond the telling of the story.
Christine: I loved Paranormalcy. Evie, her pink taser, Lend, Evie’s obsession with lockers, Lend, vampires not sparkling, and did I mention Lend? I was very much looking forward to Supernaturally, which I was lucky enough to get at ALA and read almost immediately after I got home.
I tend to have a checkered past with second books. Some I outright hate, some I sort of like, others I hold with some esteem and a rare few actually surpass my expectations. Supernaturally I sort of liked. First off, Lend wasn’t around as much as I feel he should’ve been. Basically, not having Lend in every chapter and on every page seemed like a waste. (I hope you realize I’m not completely serious… only about 70 percent.) Second, the character of Jack… He reminds me of a troll doll. You remember those? At first they’re cute and you play with their hair and you’re slightly amused at their mischievous smile, and then you get bored with it and it’s weird that they’re always smiling and their hair is stupid and every time you look at him he’s smiling and what the hell are you looking at, troll?! (I might have slight issues with troll dolls.) So, yeah. It was a second book. Things happened. Lend wasn’t around that much and we learned a little more about Evie (that part was actually interesting and I hope Kiersten explores more of Evie’s past). Reth was there and didn’t seem like a complete creep, for those of you that like him. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a lot better than some second books I’ve read. I am looking forward to the third book because I do like Evie. In fact, she’s one of the few female young adult paranormal voices I like. Just… more Lend, okay Kiersten? All I want is more Lend.
Kate: I loved Paranormalcy. I loved how funny it was. I loved Evie. I loved Lend. I loved everything about it. And that made my expectations really unrealistically high for Supernaturally. When I first finished reading it, I didn’t love it. I spent a good majority of the book wanting to punch Evie. And that’s fine. She’s a sixteen year old girl who is undergoing a huge change – I can’t imagine there were very many people who didn’t want to punch me in the face when I was sixteen. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me that there’d be an awkward transitional time for her, though, so I was able to get behind the writing choices even if I missed the Evie of Paranormalcy (and tasey). My biggest problem, though, was that I felt like Paranormalcy Evie learned all these lessons that Supernaturally Evie had completely forgotten. I didn’t understand how the secret-keeping tendencies of Raquel and the agency that had left Evie feeling so betrayed were something she’d rely on herself. I missed how open Evie was in Paranormalcy. But when Evie was on the inside, she had nothing to hide. Now that she’s out, she has to hide a lot of things about herself a lot of the time.
Even with my issues, though, there were still things I loved. Lend being the primary thing, even if he was only in it about a millionth as much as both Evie and I wished he was. He reacted exactly as I expected and hoped he would. He was never overly forgiving, but nor was he vindictive or petty with his anger. I still loved the world building, and I liked that we got to see more of the faerie realms (even if it meant more of Jack, who I’ll freely admit was intentionally obnoxious though a good foil to Evie).
Overall, I didn’t love this as much as I loved Paranormalcy, but I think that in some ways this was a book where Evie had to transition and hit rock bottom in some ways. It wasn’t pleasant seeing 1) that happen to her; and 2) her letting that happen to herself, but it in a lot of ways makes me even more excited for Book 3. Supernaturally then is a book that isn’t as funny as its predecessor, but it’s an important part of Evie’s journey and will leave you wanting more.