The Otherworldlies

The Otherworldlies

3.8 49
by Jennifer Anne Kogler

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Fern communicates with her dog, blisters from just moments in the sun, and has correctly predicted the daily weather for more than two years. Even so, she's always seemed to be a normal twelve-year-old girl . . . until one day when Fern closes her eyes in class and opens them seconds later on a sandy beach miles away from school. When Fern disappears again, this

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Fern communicates with her dog, blisters from just moments in the sun, and has correctly predicted the daily weather for more than two years. Even so, she's always seemed to be a normal twelve-year-old girl . . . until one day when Fern closes her eyes in class and opens them seconds later on a sandy beach miles away from school. When Fern disappears again, this time to a place far more dangerous, she begins to realize exactly how different she is.

With the help of her twin brother, Sam, Fern struggles to gain control of her supernatural powers. The arrival of a sinister vampire in town—who seems to have an alarming interest in Fern's powers—causes Fern to question her true identity. Who is she? More importantly, who can she count on? Soon Fern finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old battle—one that could destroy Fern and endanger everyone she loves.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Claire Rosser
I am a big fan of Kogler's first YA novel Ruby Tuesday, and again here in The Otherworldlies, Kogler's intelligence and imagination are standouts in the YA field. (Kogler is currently attending Stanford Law School, so we can only hope she will find time to continue to write for YAs in the future.) The Otherworldlies is a vampire novel, a complex one, with a plot I cannot summarize quickly. The main character is Fern, a 12-year-old with a twin brother, Sam. Fern and Sam do not resemble one another physically, and in fact Fern doesn't look like anyone else in the family. Oh—she has been adopted. The school janitor, a girl at school, neighbors, all sorts of people have known about Fern's background, but it isn't until Fern's first teleporting experience that Fern understands just how different she is. And, of course, there is a struggle between the good vampires and the bad vampires and each side wants Fern. As is true with Ruby Tuesday, the young age of the heroine might be misleading because both books demand much of the reader and older teenagers would still be fascinated by Kogler's stories. There isn't the subtle eroticism of such vampire hits as Meyer's trilogy for YAs, which certainly have YA appeal, but Fern's dilemma of identity, her intelligence, her loyalty to her human family, and her remarkable relationship with her twin brother will challenge YA readers of any age. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
VOYA - Ann Welton
Vampire books are the rage, and this mild-mannered approach to the topic is an introduction that middle and junior high students will find appealing. Fern McAllister has always been considered weird. She spends a lot of time in trees, talks to her dog, wears sunglasses in the morning, and blisters if she is in the sun for any amount of time. She is an outcast at school, unlike her popular twin brother, whose blond good looks stand in opposition to her black hair and yellow eyes. When she begins disappearing (from class, winding up at the beach; from the dinner table to the top of Disneyland's Splash Mountain) the persecution increases. Enter Lindsay Lin, one of the popular girls, who not only bails out Fern at school but also tells her that she is an "Otherworldly," or a vampire. She also is an Unusual, with powers beyond the "norm," and the sinister and mysterious Vlad is after her. Although the plot twists and turns, the narrative keeps everything clear. This first-time novelist nails dialogue and characterization, despite occasionally clumsy word choices. Charming characters and a marked lack of blood and gore make this the perfect "starter" vampire book. More sophisticated readers may prefer Sue Hubbard's The Society of S (Simon & Schuster, 2007/VOYA October 2007), which is more traditional in its portrayal of vampires, is more gory, and has a nuanced, creepy air that is missing from Kogler's basically cheerful tale. With the promise of a sequel, this novel will appeal to middle school and upper elementary students. Reviewer: Ann Welton
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Sulock
Fans of Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty may be intrigued by Kogler's sophomore novel. Fern McAllister struggles to uncover and harness her mysterious spiritual powers. She learns much about her past, her family, and who she really is in this book. She must then choose how she wants to control her powers and where her destiny lays. This choice greatly affects not only her life but the lives of her loved ones and the entire otherworldly race. Kogler uses the slightly cliched power struggle as the central conflict, and the plot loses some of its punch half way through when readers learn the why Fern is different. Still, all in all the story makes for an entertaining read that will be appreciated by fans of fantasy or magical realism. The third-person perspective offers a fresh diversion from much popular middle-grade fiction. Though the text is not gory, this middle-grade novel has a very young adult edginess that will appeal to readers of many ages. Reviewer: Elizabeth Sulock
Mary Schmutz
Fern McAllister and her twin brother, Sam, are as close as any set of twins can be. Fern, as well as everyone at her private school, wonders why she and Sam don't look alike nor do they act alike. Her skin blisters in the California sunlight, and she wears sunglasses every morning. She also has this weird ability to understand the family Maltese. When Fern has had enough of the name calling and bullying, she finds some odd strength within her to fend off the bullies. This strength opens up a huge new world for Fern and her family. Fern was used to hearing how freaky she was. Now, she's being called another name, an Unusual. This novel tells the story of adolescent identity. Kogler uses the hot vampire trend but gives the readers new twists and turns not read in current novels. The Otherworldlies left me craving more. Reviewer: Mary Schmutz
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Fern has always been unusual, but when she accidentally teleports out of an unpleasant classroom, she discovers she is an Unusual. Fern's extreme sun allergy, pointy canines and dark hair are all normal for a vampire-or Otherworldly, as she learns the magical beings like to be called. Though Fern has grown up in an extremely ordinary adoptive human family, she's anything but run-of-the-mill herself. Fern is one of the Unusual Eleven, a group of Otherworldly children with special abilities and important destinies. Fern and her beloved (and human) foster brother Sam are soon embroiled in a political battle against Vlad, leader of the evil Otherworldlies. Fern and Sam take the magical underworld of the Otherworldlies, composed of an unexpectedly bland bureaucracy informed by classical and European mythology, by storm. Despite plot threads that don't quite hang together and some awkward turns of phrase, Fern's story will readily please young vampire fans. (Fantasy. 10-11)
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“An original take on vampires.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“An original take on vampires.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“An original take on vampires.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"An original take on vampires."

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Age Range:
13 Years

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The Otherworldlies

By Jennifer Kogler
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Jennifer Kogler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060739614

Chapter One

The Breakfast Sunglasses

The bird swung lifelessly by a silken string from the corner of the wooden eave of the house. The McAllister twins craned their necks upward to get a closer look.

"I think it hung itself," Sam said, unable to take his eyes off the swallow. Moments before, Sam had spotted the lifeless songbird hanging from Lee Phillips's shingled roof and insisted his sister accompany him to investigate.

Fern's bird knowledge was no greater than that of most twelve-year-olds, but she would have recognized a swallow anywhere. After all, the swallows were a big deal in San Juan Capistrano. Each March, they would make the six-thousand-mile journey from Goya, Argentina, to San Juan Capistrano. San Juan was world famous for its weeklong celebration of the swallows' return, the Fiesta de las Golondrinas, which included the Swallows Day Parade. This particular swallow, though, was lost—the swallows weren't supposed to arrive in San Juan for months.

As Fern looked up at the dead swallow, a wave of panic swept over her. Taking a deep breath, she told herself that getting her brother worried wouldn't help. She filled her head with dewy morning air, fighting to regain her poise. She glanced at Sam; he hadn't noticed any change in her demeanor.

"It is a littlespooky," Fern said, looking at the dead bird, "but birds don't do that kind of thing, Sam."

"How do you know that? Have you ever been a bird?" Sam asked.

"No, but neither have you."

"Exactly. So we can't be sure it didn't hang itself."

"Birds fly, chirp, lay eggs, and poop on people. They don't commit suicide."

"I think you've got a pretty narrow-minded view of birds. You're a bird bigot."

Fern smirked despite herself. "You're crazy, Sam, you know that?" she said, looking at the lifeless swallow through the dark tint of her sunglasses.

Sam pivoted away from his sister and returned his gaze to the bird. His mood darkened instantly.

"Think about it—if you migrated all the way from South America to California and then realized that your friends and family were gone, you'd be feeling pretty desperate."

Sam shaded his eyes from the sun so he could have a better look. Its puffed-out white chest made the swallow appear defiant in death.

"Look," Fern said, pointing at the half spiderweb that was loosely attached to a nearby branch. "It flew into that web and got part of the thread caught around its neck."

"A spiderweb isn't strong enough to hold a bird up," Sam said.

"Maybe it's a wire from the roof," Fern offered.

"We should say a few words," Sam said, eyeing his sister.

"A few words?" Fern questioned.

"You know, to commemorate its life or its journey or something."

"And people say I'm the weird one."

Sam halfheartedly scowled at his twin sister. "Yeah, well, I'm way better at hiding it." He smiled, picked up a stick, reached up, and tapped the bird with it. The swallow began to swing like a miniature piñata.

"Come on," Fern said, desperately wanting to take her eyes and mind off the small creature. "We'd better start walking or we're gonna be late." She hoped Sam couldn't tell how distracted she was. "I don't want to give Mrs. Stonyfield another reason to hate me."

"She doesn't hate you," Sam said. Fern rolled her eyes at him.

He paused.

"Fine, you're right, she kind of hates you." Sam laughed and ran across the Phillips' lawn, down La Limonar. Fern, happy to run from her worries for a few moments, chased after him.

The twins made their way to St. Gregory's Episcopal School, passing the house where their mother grew up, known as the Moynihan home. There, they were often told, their mother was instilled with the severe Catholic discipline of her deceased Moynihan parents, both Irish immigrants. Once past the old Victorian house, the twins made a sharp left and took their usual shortcut through Anderson's Grove. Fern, dressed in her brother's hand-me-down blue corduroy pants, slip-on Vans, collared polo shirt emblazoned with the school crest, and Breakfast Sunglasses, slowed to a walk. She was consumed by thoughts of the Voices.

That's what Fern called them—the Voices—probably because whenever she heard them, there were no bodies attached. They came to her out of the dry San Juan air, as if someone—and not always the same someone—was whispering in her ear through a funnel.

That very morning, Fern had heard them again, louder than ever. She had been lying in bed, waiting for her alarm to ring. Her spine had stiffened when she realized that, once again, she was the topic of conversation. This time, though, there were specific details. Maybe, she told herself as she tried to calm down, the dead bird was just a strange coincidence. As she and her brother continued toward St. Gregory's, Fern replayed exactly what she'd heard in her head.

"Vlad is in town." The male voice was so loud and so near, Fern thought its owner must practically be next to her. She frantically scanned the room and realized she was utterly alone. The Voices were back.

"How can you be sure?" the second, more familiar voice questioned.

"Scores of birds have been dying unnaturally—flying into windows, plunging into pools, electrifying themselves on power lines."

"Maybe it's a coincidence," the second voice offered.

"It's no coincidence. Every single instance of birds acting irregularly has meant one thing: Vlad is close by. He's in San Juan and he's after the girl."

"You mean Fern McAllister?"


"You can't be certain of that! He'd have no way of knowing she's here or that she's an Unusual. Blimey, we don't even know if she's an Unusual!"

Had Fern been in a more advanced stage of transmutation, she might have been able to hear the whole conversation Mr. Joseph Bing and Mr. Alistair Kimble were having, nearly four miles away in the law offices of Kimble & Kimble. Fortunately for her sanity, she was like a radio with a broken antenna, receiving only patches of signals and broadcasts.


Excerpted from The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Kogler Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Kogler. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Jennifer Anne Kogler is the author of The Otherworldlies, Ruby Tuesday, and the upcoming The Death Catchers. Born and raised in California, she has a twin brother who is a minute older but, according to Jennifer, acts ten years younger. She is a graduate of Princeton University and attends Stanford Law School.

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Otherworldlies 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
mary_123 More than 1 year ago
I'm really into all of these kind of books. Sam and Fern's relationship just makes you want to have a better realationship with your sibling, or make you wish you had a sibling. If you like books that you can't stop reading until 2 am then this is a great book for you. (NOTHING LIKE TWILIGHT OR THE HOUSE OF NIGHT!!!!)
mrdarcy3 More than 1 year ago
Fern is strange, even within her own family. Light bothers her eyes, she can talk with the family dog, and can predict the weather extremely accurately. Her twin brother looks nothing like her, but he's her best friend and the only one who sticks by her in school. The other girls make it clear she's nothing but a freak and thus she spends most of the lunch period alone and recess hiding up a tree. And then one day, something significant happens: one minute Fern is sitting in class (secretly reading a book) and the next minute, she's one a beach. Fern's discovering a whole lot more information about herself: she can teleport and control water. More importantly, she discovers that she's a vampire and she's adopted. This explains so much to Fern, but it also terrifies her. She's torn between not having all the information and is forced to chose sides. She must choose and soon before the biggest dangerous she's ever faced comes to power - if she helps him. She doesn't know which side to trust, but must quickly figure things out if she and her family is going to survive. This book is very different from the other vampire tales. It's more a good vs evil fantasy tale - with vampires thrown in. I'm curious to see if there will be eleven books, based on the eleven "Unusuals" that makes Fern so powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now; personally, when I think of a vampire novel, I think of forbidden love, romance, and star crossed lovers. When I read The Otherworldlies, my idea of a vampire totally changed. It was excellent, and I couldn't put it down. It was glued to my hand!!!! =D Jennifer Kogler gave an unexplored plot and theme to the novel and it kept me hooked.
The story is about Fern, a girl who has always been an outsider because of her actions and strange habits. One day when she teleports to her favorite beach she realizes she really is DIFFERENT!!! Now she begins to understand why she is the way she is. And with the help of her twin brother; Sam, she might be able to stop an evil vampire from getting away with his evil plans. Pick it up and you will LOVE it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Why?" Russia pulled him into a hug. ;-;
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Russia kissed a whisper of a kiss to his cheek, nodding. "Goodnight, m'dear."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you still check here? I don't know. Anyways, I hope you'll see this soon. I'm sorry for not being on, things are crazy with college for me and my family in rl. My sister is moving out tomorrow, I've already moved out and it's just crazy with money. Anyhow, I applied for a second job at Hot Topic and FYE. Hopefully I get the job at F.Y.E. That'd be epic.
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It is a thrilling read it kept my attention. It is interesting that a young teen who is a vampire doesnt know what is ahead of her in life keep doing your thing
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BMdepository More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by: Cassandra Hernandez A vampire paranormal book. It has a small amount of a new take on it. Felt like a starter to a series. Apparently it is. There are various supernaturals and they have amazing powers. Worth a read but I feel they are ok not-- amazing and also for much younger youths.
Angel6171 More than 1 year ago
Fern has never been normal ever since she was a little kid.She blisters in the sun and she has to wear "breakfast" glasses because the sun also burns her eyes.She can hear private conversations and it doesn't help that she looks nothing like her twin brother Sam.When an age old vampire comes to town,Fern,Sam and a unlikely friend must stop him from following through with his evil plot using Fern's new found powers and wits to pull together the pieces of this mystery.Spell-binding,thrilling,and captivating all in one.I read this book when I was younger and absolutely fell in love with it.The cover captured my attention and I was immediately drawn to it.I had to have and couldn't stop reading it.During that age I could relate to Fern.Intertwining history with paranormal was a brilliant idea!The plot was strong and thickened through every twist and turn.Character development moved forward as Fern finds her true self.This was an awesome read and I recommend it to the middle school-high school crowd.This book will keep you at the edge of your seats and wanting more.Ratings 5.0/5.0 Pros: Plot will keep you entertained Catches your attention Strong plot Strong character development Cons:N/A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vampbook_Lover More than 1 year ago
This was a cute book for young readers. It shows a companionate side to vampires, and puts a twist on the old legends.
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amanderzz More than 1 year ago
this book was really hard for me to get into i tried reading it but i couldn't finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. It was a nice twist on the traditional thought of who and what a vampire is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awesome read!! this is one of the best books ever i could absolutely could not but this book down. a book that needs to be read