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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Freya's intense passion for angels led her into years of mental illness. Now, just when she's starting to believe she's normal again, a dark angel starts to follow her. Soon she learns a stunning truth: She is an angel herself. And an angel's job is nothing like she imagined it would be...…


by Cliff McNish

Overall Book Review:

Freya has been obsessed with angels her whole life.  Now that she’s out of the hospital, she is finally fitting in with the kids at school.  Unfortunately, just when things seem to be going right, not only does Freya start seeing angels again, but there’s a new girl at school.  Stephanie is just as obsessed with angels as Freya was, and it seems that Stephanie has latched onto Freya which makes them both a laughingstock.  While Freya is working through this, her brother, Luke, is being bullied and beaten, and her dad is fighting with a mysterious sickness that he refuses to talk about.

The characters are definitely flawed and sometimes the flaws feel a little over the top.  There is rarely any communication between the characters which is frustrating at times.  You can’t help but wonder what Freya is thinking as she tries so hard to stay in the popular group.  They’re such a shallow group of girls—full of spite and meanness.  You hope there’s more backbone to Freya than that.  It’s also difficult to watch poor Luke be stalked and beaten as he takes a lonely stand against bullies.

The range of emotion in this novel is extensive.  We feel the pain of failure, rejection, loss, anxiety, and shame.  We follow characters through obsessions and devastations that are both painful and haunting.  We are able to revel in finally achieving true potential and reaching that lofty goal.  The overall message of Angel is clear:  The ability to do the work of angels is within each of us.  The rewards of testing our wings in order to help others are greater than flying amongst the stars.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Lerner Publishing Group

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 13 religious exclamations; 8 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore: character thinks of suicide; bullies wait in ambush (3 pages); threats from bullies to kick, beat up, hurt, or kill characters; bullies beat up a character (3 extended instances of 2, 5, and 6 pages each); a character returns home covered in blood after being beat up by bullies (no details on the beating); two female characters fight (includes scratching, biting, pulling out hair, kicking-2 pages); a scary dark angel appears many times and one meeting with him is 7 pages of scary description of form and hatred; a character beats herself in frustration; characters run through a rough part of town and are chased; a character sets fire to things in her room and almost dies (2 pages); a car accident is described in slow motion (7 pages) and a character dies as a result; 2 characters almost drown.

Sex/Nudity: 4 separate instances of characters kissing; a few characters talk about kissing (either thinking about doing it or talking about having done it); a character flirts by leaning forward to show herself off to a guy.

(Other content to note: A character is overly obsessed with angels and holds a seance, complete with candles, incense, chanting and strange occurences.  The first seance noted is detailed and extended, lasting 6 pages.  There were 4 other brief incidences.)

Mature Subject Matter:

Terminal illness; death of a family member or friend; paranormal activity; mental illness and obsessions; severe bullying.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Some characters are in a bad part of town and stumble onto a group of people dealing drugs.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I read anything and everything. I love the smell of books. My kids giggle at me when I open a new box of books from Amazon and I inhale the new pages and rub the shiny new spine against my face! 🙂 My husband just rolls his eyes at me and is grateful he has me on a budget! 🙂