Other by Karen Kincy is a young adult novel that uses legends most of us know, such as werewolves and vampire and pushes them to the background instead of in the spotlight. We get to see a wide variety of legends from different culture come to life in Other. In a reality when the idea of paranormal people living among them is a fact, though one not exactly well accepted, we see the full range of reactions to people that are different. Everyone with paranormal aspects is termed an “Other”, though there are several less politically correct terms that people use as well. Gwen, our main character, is half human and half pooka (a welsh shape shifting spirit). She is not ashamed of her other half but ‘under the bed’ in hiding for fear of the reaction of the community in general, and specifically her boyfriend.
Other really has a little bit of everything. There are less explored members of the paranormal pantheon as well as the expected. Do not disregard this book if you generally do not read anything paranormal, there is much more to this book than the supernatural. There is a murder mystery, as others keep winding up dead all over the place, which truly surprised me when the conclusion came. A love triangle was less surprising, but still entertaining, covering some unique territory. There are also some larger issues that are at play such as intolerance and stereotypes even among the minority.
I recommend Other to high school students and adults. There are sexual situations and moments of violence that makes me weary to recommend this to younger children or those that would be bothered those sections of the book, although they are not gratuitous. To parents considering this book for their teens, I suggest reading it first both to decide if it is appropriate for your child, but because it is a fantastic book and can open a path for many important discussions about sex, responsibility, tolerance, and self-acceptance.