Hallowed  - Cynthia Hand 3.5 stars, rounded down to three because I gave four stars to the previous book. HALLOWED was a solid follow up to Unearthly. It was fantastically written, and the sensitive issues that Clara deals with are well handled. You can clearly see Clara's development from the beginning to the end of the book.

Without giving too much away, Clara is beset by visions that once again seem to point her towards her purpose. She is faced with the choice to follow the path drawn out for her, or to fight against it. Central to this dilemma are Christian and Tucker, of course, but surprisingly, the focus of the book is not solely on the love triangle. Rather, it focuses on family, community, and loss. To say more would give too much away, so I'll stop here. Just be warned that this book is much more raw and emotional than the previous.

So, why the 3.5 stars? Partially, I jumped into the book with a different set of expectations. Unearthly was a book that focused on YA romance well. It was a great escapist read that, while a little unbelievable, was still tasteful and great fun. Don't get me wrong--HALLOWED has all of that YA romance still. However, the other issues that come into focus with this book are more mature, introspective, and not quite as escapist as I would have liked.

Second, while I sympathized with what Clara was going through, I wasn't able to really put myself in her shoes. This is not the fault of the author--I, personally, haven't experienced the issues that Clara is facing. But for those who have, I can see how you can really empathize and find this to be a five-star read. It's just that I'm not at that stage in my life.

I know that this review is very vague, but the book really is worth reading, so I don't want to give anything away. It's a well done story of change, growing up, and taking responsibility.

Overall, a highly recommended read that is deep, tasteful, and enjoyable, though if you're looking more for the romance of the previous book, this book may not be what you're expecting.