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ANGEL IN MY POCKET by Ilene Cooper


by Ilene Cooper

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: March 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-37014-5
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

A good-luck charm exerts a positive effect on the lives of four seventh graders at a Chicago magnet school for the performing arts. Cynical and lonely since her mother’s untimely death, 13-year-old Bette feels “empty and still, inside and out” until she finds a charm embossed with an angel. Gradually Bette starts singing again, earns a role in the school musical and addresses her grief. Her angry, disillusioned classmate Joe lives in a small apartment with his overworked, sickly single mom. Lately Joe’s resorted to extorting cash from Andy, a timid, wealthier classmate, to supplement his income. Then Joe takes Bette’s charm from her desk, and his luck changes as he channels his energy into designing sets for the musical. In a gesture of recompense, Joe gives the talisman to Andy, who passes it to his reclusive, asthmatic sister, Vivi, who dreads returning to school since gaining weight from her medications. Armed with the charm, Vivi recasts her self-image and accompanies Andy in the musical. Tracking the school production from fall tryouts through the final performance, the plot shifts in third-person voice from Bette to Joe to Andy and Vivi as they learn to believe in themselves, one another and the angel in their pockets. As their lives intersect, four credible, contemporary, creative preteens find faith to move forward. (Fiction. 10-14)