General Summary: Riley lives in a town where angels pick up random people once a year. And she has had enough. Getting out her shot gun she points and aims at one of the angels shoots it. And the angel turns into James Dean. Okay, maybe not James Dean, but a guy who sort of looks like him and is from his time period.
I loved almost everything about this book. In fact, most of my grievances with it are technical. I could praise it all day. And I am.
First, it has amazing characters. I loved Riley. I liked how she took charge. How her relationship Gabe wasn’t instantaneous, and I liked the fact she actually had relationships with her parents. I also liked the fact that while she did have insecurities about how she looked, it was portrayed realistically. There were no makeovers. Okay, so she wears a kick ass dress that fits her figure, but she didn’t change herself and I liked this. Body image is one of the most annoying issues I’ve been having lately in YA, so I was happy with the way it was handled.
Another thing I loved about this book was Gabe. He was his own character not a man-cessory and his relationship with Riley was developed naturally. To me that was refreshing. You didn’t see them fall into insta love bliss. And he’s not controlling at all. And what I really liked is both had a life separate of each other, but the interaction was enough where you got why they were attracted to each other.
I also really loved the plot. This deviated a lot from the typical angel plot and I appreciated it. Honestly, this is how I imagine an angel book would be like if it was written by Meg Cabot. The characters have wit, the heroine takes action, and the relationship isn’t sadistic. Also, minor characters are developed like the parents and Lacy. Oh, and there’s a kick ass priest like in The Mediator.
Father Dom…well, he’s younger and hotter in this book and his name is Father Peter.
The cult aspect I think really hit home in a lot of ways too. While cults believing in people sacrificing themselves for angels aren’t rampant in the modern world, I think the book did show how extremism can effect a community. And I have to say it made for a good twist, I kept thinking that somehow Warren and his cult was behind everything that was happening in the book but apparently not…
While I thought the pacing worked in lots of places, it did sort of drag in the middle. I get why in part this was necessary but I thought other things that happened at the end were neglected a bit. Also, at times I thought that Kress relied to much on conversations between Riley and the ghost thing to info dump. But overall, this really didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.
Best Feature: Riley get your gun. There have been so many YA books where I wish the MC would shoot an angel in the face much like Riley did to Gabe. Of course, Riley saved Gabe’s life rather than actually kill him. And when Gabe was in his right mind he was pretty awesome, but I still have to say the shooting him in the face act made me smile. And no, I’m not sadistic. Well, I hope I’m not sadistic.
Appropriateness: There’s some cussing, violence ( I mean, paranormal creatures are shot in the face), and cult culture is discussed. Pretty PG 13 though.
Blockbuster Worthy: This is actually one of the few decent angel books I’ve read, so yeah I’d like to see it be turned into a movie.
Riley: If she was a little curvier (meaning she ate more than a slice of avocado for a real treat), I could easily imagine Kristen Alderson in this role.
Gabe: I know he’s dead, but I’m going to cast James Dean in this role.
Overall Rating: I really liked this one quite a bit. I almost gave it a full ten, but it has a few problems. So, I’m giving it an eight. And an eight is a really good score for me. I can only hope, based on that ending, that there’s a sequel.