Author: Beth Ann Bauman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication Date: May 2012
Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
Summer before senior year and Angel is lost. But she's one of those characters that doesn't know she's lost. And so as summer goes by into the school year, Angel must start making her own decisions, her own choices. She's not like her best friend and won't be going away for college. She spends more and more time with her best friends' boyfriend Cork because her on again off again boyfriend Joey wants commitment. And Angel is ready for anything but.
I enjoyed Baumna's Rosie and Skate and I think I like this story even more. Bauman captures a small Jersey sea side town perfectly, with the array of characters, both good and bad. Angel is a complicated character. I can't say I liked her, but I definitely felt for her. Bauman does a wonderful job portraying a high school student's life. Yes, there's sex. I'm sorry but of course there is sex. She is 17, gorgeous and has a sexual power to her she doesn't know how to control yet. I'm not saying every beautiful 17 year old has sex, but I liked how Angel was portrayed and how sex was a major part of her finding who she was, who she wanted to be, who she wanted to be with. It didn't feel like a trick, or a way to outrage the reader. It felt real, within the character and her world.
The cast rounds out with Inngy, her best friend who is a little too cookie cutter-ish. And Cork, the bad boy and Inngy's boyfriend and Joey, the ex. I loved them all. Bauman's small town reminds me of the small town I grew up in, everyone knows each other, comfortable with each other, and the kids are all best friends and worst enemies. Given the small group of teenagers, it feels almost incestuous, who is sleeping with who, who is going out with who now. Bravo Bauman. My high school perfectly.
I loved Angel's relationships to her younger siblings, and their conversations. The kids were hilarious, warm and fun. Inngy, Angel's best friend, is wonderfully real, flawed but overall on the right track to what most people take- college and on. Angels has fallen by the sidelines, no SATs, probably not college and not sure what she wants to do with her life. And really, I understand. Even though I went to college, the vast majority of me and my classmates are ready to admit at 17 we really had no idea what we wanted to do with our lives. So even though we chose the college route, I sympathize with Angel's indecisiveness.
The ending came up on me quickly, and I had a sad feeling that I wasn't done yet. That these characters weren't finished and I wanted to see how it all turned out. But that's the thing isn't it- I feel like I know them, but I don't get to follow them.
Rating 7 Pretty Cool Would Recommend