Book Review: Outcast by Adrienne Kress

Title: Outcast
By: Adrienne Kress
Author Info: Website | TwitterGoodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type:
Paranormal, Romance, Angels
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Diversion Books        
Kindle Edition
Pages: 324 pages
Source: NetGalley

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. Summary and image from: Goodreads.

"They come out of the sky and take you. Everyone knows that."

SETTING AND SUMMARY: Outcast takes place in a small home town, set in the deep south. The town has been beset by mysterious creatures that the town-folk believe are Angels, who periodically come down out of the sky to take someone away, and who is never seen again. The members of the town are frightened, no one seems to know why the Angels are only plaguing their hometown. Everything changes when 16-year-old Riley Carver takes matters into her own hands. Tired of living in fear and angry at the angels for taking her best friend/boyfriend away, she decides to shoot one down in her backyard. But Riley is in for a few surprises, on the ground in place of the angel is a very much alive guy who just happens to be real hottie and very naked. What's a girl from the south suppose to do? She ties him up and drags him into a barn. Later on she discovers her angel-turned hot guy’s name is Gabe who thinks it’s 1956. Soon you have Riley, Gabe, and some of the town’s misfits joining together to try to get to the bottom of this Angel problem. But first Riley and Gabe will learn a little lesson about trust and love, and what family truly is.

"The first time it happened, it freaked everyone out. This was god-fearing land. It said so right on the town sign. You knew the second thou passed into our community that this was a goddamned god-fearing place."

MY FIRST THOUGHTS: When I first picked up Outcast, I really didn't know what to expect since the author Adrienne Kress is a new author to me. I was immediately drawn to the cover of Outcast and wanted to check it out some more. The description for Outcast caught my attention with it’s unique plot of angels, a young adult heroine who is from the South, and a hot guy/Greaser who thinks it the 5o’s. What can go wrong-right? I’m so glad that I picked up Outcast because in addition to the angel/ supernatural factor to it, Outcast is really a beautifully told story about a girl coming of age, family and friendship. It's about learning lessons about not being judgmental, and how it’s okay to march to the beat of your own drum. It's about standing up for what you believe, and how not to walk blindly in someone else's shadow.

CHARACTERS:  Riley's character is very likeable and easy to relate to. She’s smart, albeit socially awkward, charming, and follows no one. She has these humorous anecdotes that I loved, which added some great humor to the storyline. It was easy to sympathize with Riley when she lost her best friend/boyfriend who was taken away by the angels. There was a lot of personal growth for Riley in the story, and Adrienne Kress made it all very believable. Riley was a great “voice” to read, her endearing qualities and fun, southern characteristics made it easy to really like her.

 “Aw, man. I’d just shot an angel in the face. My folks would be home soon."
“How was your evening, honey?”
“Killed an angel.”
“Well, isn’t that nice.”
That wasn’t happening. Daddy never liked guns in the first place, Mother just pretended to.
"I was so grounded.”  

Gabe McClure would seem at first to the casual observer to fit the stereotypical 50's male teen hunk, ( I did daydream a few moments of Danny Zuko ) but his character is so much more than that. Aside from great looks and 50's tough guy mannerisms, Gabe has a really sweet and sincere quality to him that just melts your heart. Under all that tough guy exterior is a man who has never had the chance to finish high school nor make his own place in the world. The angels took that all away from him, and now he feels like he has literally been given a second chance at life.

It was so nice to see Family and Friends play important parts in Riley's and Gabe's life. Riley's mom and dad were loving and caring in the story, and were actively participating in her life. This was great to see in a YA book since it is not always the case.


THE ROMANCE: Outcast has a wonderful friendship and romance in! There is some great banter back and forth between Gabe and Riley that I loved. Wait till you read about their first date. It was so sweet, romantic, awkward - butterflies in your tummy. All those feelings you have on a first date, you'll' feel them right along with Riley and Gabe.

SWOON QUOTE: “Then he smiled. It was the first time I’d seen him smile, and it threw me. It was kind of…awesome."

"He spoke: “I can see through your dress.”
“What?” I said automatically.
“The light coming from behind you like that. Can see right through it.” The smile widened."

 I pointed the shears at him.

“You gonna cut it off?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Cut what off?” Damn it. I had to stop answering him automatically like that. Think before you speak, Riley. Think!
The young man glanced down at himself, and I almost followed his look until I remembered that he was totally naked, and then I understood what he meant.God, no, I hadn’t even thought of that! Who did he think I was? Maybe the girl who shot him in the face maybe?”  

RECOMMENDATION: It was great fun reading Outcast. I loved the humor and romance in it, but most of all - I enjoyed the thoughtfulness put into the story and would recommend Outcast to those of you who enjoy Young Adult books with a southern setting, a sweet romance with a slightly paranormal feel to it. Again, although it does have angels/supernatural theme to it, Outcast feels like a contemporary YA romance with a sweet coming-of-age feel to it.

RATING: 4 Stars. I really liked it!

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