About the Book

Title: Outcast
Published: 2013
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

Cover Story: Leader Of The Pack
BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes!
Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit
Bonus Factors: The Bayou, Scoobies, Keith Mars Award For Awesome Parenting, Mysterious Loner Dude
Relationship Status: Head Over Heels

Cover Story: Leader Of The Pack

Okay, so the angel wings are a little too girly for my taste, but the fact that they’re outlined in the stars is pretty cool. Plus there’s the Spanish Moss, and the couple on the motorcycle had me singing The Shangri-Las. Vroom-vroom.

The Deal:

The angels have been coming for the past six years. On the same night, at the same time. They swoop down and bam! They’ve taken your brother. Or sister. Or best friend. At first, the townspeople feared them, but after a while, and mostly thanks to the new pastor in town, they started worshipping them. See, there must be something special about this tiny Louisiana town that the angels have chosen them, right? Except Riley Carver doesn’t think it’s too special. She’s fed up of being afraid. Fed up with missing the best friend who was taken from her a year ago. And that’s why, when she sees one of them in her yard on the night of the Taking, she shoots him in the face.

So yeah, now she’s got a dead angel on her hands. When she goes out to hide the body, though, what she finds instead is a guy. A totally hot guy. A totally hot naked guy. Who thinks it’s 1956. See, Gabe (oh yeah, Kress went there) doesn’t remember anything from after he was taken all those years ago, but as he and Riley learn to trust each other, they hatch a plan to rescue the rest of the taken and free the town from the curse of the angels once and for all.

BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

I fell absolutely in love with Riley from the start. She’s strong and smart and funny and confident in who she is, even when no one else gets her. And, of course, she’s clueless about exactly how awesome she is, which just makes her all the more charming. She’s what I like to think of as a Secret® YA heroine: Mature enough for adults, but made for a teen. Mostly I wanted her to be real, just so we could hang out.

Under his scoundrel exterior, Gabe is actually a sweetheart and I appreciated the author letting us get to know the real him, and not just his perceived role as love interest.

Swoonworthy Scale:

You guys! I found this recipe that I just HAVE to share with you: Take one super smart, kick-ass heroine. Add one MLD* with sexy swagger and a heart of gold. Put them in a pool scene. Shake. Add some conflict. Let them sit and develop a friendship, so when they do get together there’s actual depth and real emotion to go with the twitterpation. SA-WOON!!!

*see Bonus Factor below

Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit 

Okay, this is Urban Paranormal. And yeah it’s about angels, but HOLD. THE. PHONE. Throw out every other angel book you’ve ever read, and all of your feelings about angel books being overdone with them. Because THIS. This right here is why I still give Urban Paranormal a chance. Because every once in a while, one comes along that blows its genre out of the proverbial bayou and leaves you wanting more just like it. Kress can WRITE, and I was glued to this book from start to finish. If I was to compare it to anything else, it would have to be Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. It’s that well-written and that much fun. I laughed out loud, I teared up, I raised my fist like Bender and, in the end, I was a happy, gutted mess, and for the first time since I can remember, I am actually HOPING for a sequel, because…AAARRGGHHH!

Bonus Factor: The Bayou 

The story takes place in a town deep enough in the South that New Orleans is described as up there, and folks sometimes use the word “y’all” when referring to a single person. The descriptives of the Bayou were so rich I swear I could feel the humidity on my skin. Also they eat a lot of good food.

Bonus Factor: Scoobies

When Riley and Gabe start recruiting a few, um, trustworthy (?) people to help them out, things get real interesting. Not since the Galactica led her little band of spaceships have I seen a more ragtag group that I rooted for so hard.

Bonus Factor: The Keith Mars Award For Awesome Parenting

Keith Mars hugging his daughter, Veronica Mars

Riley’s parents were by no means perfect, but they were so darn adorable and supportive that I had to mention them.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Jordan Catalano, a hot brooding stoner, in My So-Called Life

What makes a Mysterious Loner Dude even MORE of a Mysterious Loner Dude? Him being a greaser from the ’50s, that’s what. In fact, one might argue that the decade that brought us James Dean and Marlon Brando ORIGINATED the MLD.

Relationship Status: Head Over Heels 

GAH, I love this book. Sure, you might say we’re in our honeymoon phase, and once the euphoria wears off and we can keep our hands to ourselves for a few minutes things might taper off between us. But you know what? You don’t know us! In between all the shagging and “I love you mores” we actually talk. I mean, this book GETS IT. So until time and our love prove that we’re in it to win it, we’re going to take your advice and get a room. Mine.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Diversion Books. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. Outcast is available now.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.