A dark and inviting supernatural thriller.

TRANSGRESSION

A teenage girl learns that she’s part angel in this debut YA fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old Achaia Cohen thinks that she and her father, Shael, move around so much because he’s a writer who’s always on assignment. It’s actually because he’s one of the Nephilim—the guardian angels of God. Years ago, his charge had been U.S. Sen. Anna Connolly, as per God’s plan, but they fell in love and had a child. After a demon killed Anna, Shael traded his angelic soul to Lucifer for the chance to raise Achaia, the only human/Nephilim hybrid in existence. Now, in New York, Shael continues the difficult task of protecting his daughter, who’s unaware of her lineage, from evil forces. As demons stalk the pair, Shael enlists his angelic colleague, Naphtali, for added defense. More aid comes in the form of several Nephilim disguised as high school kids: Noland, Olivier, Yellaina, Emile, and Amelia. They help Achaia settle into school and city life while keeping their angelic superpowers (and wings) hidden. Still, Achaia feels like a hostage, as her father is always afraid for her safety. Then Shael vanishes, and Achaia must confront the truth about her background. For this series opener, Ange sculpts a heroic teen saga in the mold of X-Men comics, substituting a speedster (Olivier), a firestarter (Noland), and a language expert (Yellaina) for the latter’s mutant heroes. At one point, she appealingly nods to the supreme deity’s cultural malleability: “Today, God appeared as a tall man wearing white robes, his skin changing colors in ever-shifting hues of black, white, olive, and maple.” The imagery is often graceful, as well: “Shael sat silently, letting [Lucifer’s] words meet him like the tide on the beach.” The concept of free will weaves its way into the action-oriented plot, which also includes romance elements; Achaia’s half-human nature allows her to make decisions that her full-Nephilim cohort can’t, and following one’s heart is shown to be more important than strict adherence to heavenly mandate. Ange leaves all the pieces in place for a grander sequel.

A dark and inviting supernatural thriller.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947992-00-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Marturia Publications

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

Aspiring filmmaker/first-novelist Chbosky adds an upbeat ending to a tale of teenaged angst—the right combination of realism and uplift to allow it on high school reading lists, though some might object to the sexuality, drinking, and dope-smoking. More sophisticated readers might object to the rip-off of Salinger, though Chbosky pays homage by having his protagonist read Catcher in the Rye. Like Holden, Charlie oozes sincerity, rails against celebrity phoniness, and feels an extraliterary bond with his favorite writers (Harper Lee, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Ayn Rand, etc.). But Charlie’s no rich kid: the third child in a middle-class family, he attends public school in western Pennsylvania, has an older brother who plays football at Penn State, and an older sister who worries about boys a lot. An epistolary novel addressed to an anonymous “friend,” Charlie’s letters cover his first year in high school, a time haunted by the recent suicide of his best friend. Always quick to shed tears, Charlie also feels guilty about the death of his Aunt Helen, a troubled woman who lived with Charlie’s family at the time of her fatal car wreck. Though he begins as a friendless observer, Charlie is soon pals with seniors Patrick and Sam (for Samantha), stepsiblings who include Charlie in their circle, where he smokes pot for the first time, drops acid, and falls madly in love with the inaccessible Sam. His first relationship ends miserably because Charlie remains compulsively honest, though he proves a loyal friend (to Patrick when he’s gay-bashed) and brother (when his sister needs an abortion). Depressed when all his friends prepare for college, Charlie has a catatonic breakdown, which resolves itself neatly and reveals a long-repressed truth about Aunt Helen. A plain-written narrative suggesting that passivity, and thinking too much, lead to confusion and anxiety. Perhaps the folks at (co-publisher) MTV see the synergy here with Daria or any number of videos by the sensitive singer-songwriters they feature.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02734-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: MTV/Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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