Friday, 7 October 2011

Angel by Cliff McNish

Publisher: Orion Childrens
Format: Hardback
Published: 7th June 2007
Number of Pages: 288
Book: Borrowed From Library
Genre: Angels, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Action, YA
Recommended Age: 11+
Contains: Violence, Mild Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Blog: Cliff McNish

Not fit to be a daughter…
Not fit to be a friend…
Not fit to be an angel…

Two girls are inextricably linked by destiny, not choice.

Stephenie is friendless, strange, a misfit.

Freya can’t stop seeing angels.

But when one of these angels begins to stalk her, its shadow following her everywhere, Freya is forced to make decisions with a devastating reach – from which there is no turning back.

Ever since she was a young girl, for as long as she can remember, Freya Harrison has wanted to be an angel.  She was visited by one when she was eight.  One so beautiful she was left desperate.  She was hospitalized soon after.  Now, she’s back at school and desperate to fit in.  Stephenie Rice is friendless and strange.  She believes in angels with all her heart, in everything Freya is denying to herself.  But when Freya starts seeing a dark angel, horribly deformed, she turns to the only person who will believe her: Stephenie. 
Meanwhile, Freya’s brother is being beaten up for looking after a Year Seven boy and her dad is living with a huge secret…
And then Freya is visited once again by her light angel.  And her whole world is changed beyond recognition…
All the concepts behind this book were amazing: friendship, love, self-sacrifice…  And the characters were all very diverse and interesting.  The messages about the dangers of peer pressure and bullying were wonderfully strong.  It was very new and different from all the other angel books I’ve read.  I really was rather addicted, wanting to find out what happened to everyone.  It wasn’t perfect, but I did like it.
Freya was damaged, delicate, fractured.  I admired her determination, her stubbornness.  But I didn’t like what she did with her new ‘friends’.  I’m not saying that I didn’t like Freya, because I did.  But I just saw how wonderful she could be, and I felt she could do so much better.  She was strong, after the long struggle with the mental institutions.  But that was why I got annoyed: she’d gone through all that, so why make someone else feel bad?  Peer pressure at work there, people.  And she didn’t see what was right in front of her face.  She got better as the book went on, but she did annoy me a little to begin with.
Stephenie was sweet.  And very strange.  She didn’t have any friends, as she had been home-schooled and had her ‘friends’ and playmates hand-picked for her by her parents.  She had more confidence, more backbone than many a person, and was also determined as hell.  She was kinda creepy and very weird, but she would do anything to help Freya.  I couldn’t help liking the girl: she was cute and innocent. 
The rest of the characters were brilliant and completely believable.  Freya’s Dad, so strong and loving.  Her brother Luke, who got over his biggest fears to save a boy he barely knew.  Then you had the classic mean-girl bully, Amy, who was a total wimp and overall horrid person.  Gemma the sheep.  And Vicky, who left me hopeful that she could better herself.  And the angels, complete opposites and both so very strong and powerful. 
It was the angels in this book that made it ever so special.  They were completely different from anything I’d read about before.  In some ways, they were very much your traditional guardian angel.  Apart for one very, very big difference…  It was wonderful to read about these beings, and I must admit that it was one of the key points that made me want to read on. 
The writing was equally wonderful: hauntingly beautiful, and brilliantly simple.  And this story was beautiful.  It was about true friendship, sacrifice, forgiveness and love.  I couldn’t help being touched by one of the prominent emotions: the need to belong.  We all want to belong, don’t we?  Well, that need was everywhere in Angel.  I know that there have been many so-so reviews of this book, but I really liked it.  Ok, it had it’s rough spots and I guessed some of the twists, but overall I really, truly liked it.  It was inspiring.

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Breathe: A Ghost Story, Savannah Grey and All Other Books by Cliff McNish
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading


shah wharton said...

Oh I like the sound of this ;Love ghostly dealings and paranormal peril! ;D

You could link this up at my B.H and/or read my book review if you liked.

Dead Trees and Silver Screens said...

Oooooh I will have to check this out. Sounds so good. I am really into angel stories. I love Hush Hush so you telling me that it would be good if I liked hush hush helped a bunch!

I am a new follower!

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

Shah: Gotta love paranormal peril! :D Cool, I'll check it out. :)
Dead Trees and Silver Screens: I hope you like it if you do! Thanks for the follow! :D

shah wharton said...

You came - yay - have a great weekend :)x

Erin O'Riordan said...

Having worked for years in a child & adolescent mental health hospital, I'm always a bit fascinated by fiction with characters who've been institutionalized. I may have to check out this series some day; it sounds just a little bit like 'The Heroines' by Eileen Favorite.