Published by Diversion Books on June 4, 2013
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.
Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is.
He thinks it’s 1956.
Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.
I’m an emotional wreck. Adrienne Kress has charmed me with her unusual writing, warm characters and quirky storyline, and then wrung my heart strings with that emotional ending.
Outcast is about a small town that is visited by angels each year, who abducts a few humans in a yearly event called ‘the taking’. Riley Carver has lost Chris, her best friend and love interest from the taking, and in the sixth year of the taking, she’s determined to find answers. So when an angel turns up for her, she shoots it in the face.
That angel turns out to be Gabe McClure, a boy who is compared to James Dean on a variety of occasions, who lived about 50 years ago. While it all sounds like a typical YA fare, Outcast is like the Zombieland or Hot Fuzz of conventional genres. It is charming, quirky, and yes – a little out there but we love it all the same.
I definitely didn’t expect Outcast to hit me in the way it did. The first few chapters took a bit of getting used to, with a slightly awkward way of putting things and stunted conversations. It took me a while to realise that the character voice was perfect for Riley Carver herself, the tough, awkward, no nonsense teenage girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. And that’s what makes her charming in her own little way.
This is a girl who, instead of preoccupying herself with crushes, social groups and clothes, spends her time planning how to get Chris back and finding out more about Gabe and how he came to be. I grew really attached to Riley over time, she has that gung ho no nonsense attitude about her yet she’s awkward, smart, and resourceful, and a leader and motivator without knowing it. I had so much more fun reading about Riley and delving into her thoughts, and the way she accepts supernatural things happening around her, rather than the million insecure and boy-obsessed ‘Mary Sues’ that we see so much in YA fiction today.
Gabe himself was cute, and the way he ruffled Riley’s feathers was adorable. He’s in denial about what he’s went through and adopts everything high school life has to offer, unlike Riley and it’s interesting to see how these two mix.
Outcast is one of those novels that adds magical elements into real life, but in a way that is believable (as unbelievable as the Taking sounds) but doesn’t take itself too seriously. For example, Riley is stalked by this ‘ghost thing’ that has a white sheet over its face with two holes. She talks to the ghost, who talks back in a literal manner. I found the whole exchange between them to be quite hilarious (and although it’s slightly creepy, it wasn’t really presented that way).
What was creepy though, was Pastor Warren and the way he weaseled his way into the town. The story has come alive so vividly for me that I’m picturing this whole thing like a movie, and in the movie, he’s the villain who needs to be defeated by Riley and Gabe.
I could go on about it but I think I’ve communicated that I absolutely loved Outcast and everything about it! I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a charming, witty novel. I received this novel from Diversion Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much for this opportunity. I only wish this was a series so I could read more!
Rating: 5 out of 5