GREEN ANGEL by Alice Hoffman


Age Range: 11 - 13
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In oblique response to the events of 9/11, Hoffman (Indigo, 2002, etc.) crafts this otherworldly tale of an orphan giving and receiving help in the wake of a massive disaster. Describing herself as a “moody, dark weed,” with an affinity for growing things, Green covers herself in darkness and thorns after watching a huge fire in the nearby town rob her of parents, and of her wild, golden little sister. Nearly blinded by falling cinders, she changes her name to Ash, cuts her hair, sews rose thorns onto her clothing, and tattoos herself all over with inky vines, briars, ravens, and bats. At first leaving her house only to find food or add stones to the cairns she’s building for her family, she gradually finds herself caring for injured animals, an aged neighbor, and another orphan, a burned, silent young painter she dubs Diamond. Ultimately, time’s a healer, as tears wash the ashes from her eyes, her dreams lighten, and her tattoos green up just as her devastated garden does. A suggestion that the fire was set by people who “had been living among us, pretending to be good neighbors,” adds an additional, and thought provoking connection to historical events—but even readers who don’t make that connection on their own will be moved by the powerful imagery in Green’s spare, haunting narrative. Hoffman’s other “crossover” novels have been criticized as heavy-handed; here she shows a more delicate touch. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-439-44384-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2003


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