Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Martine Leavitt
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
When sixteen-year old Angel runs away with her charming boyfriend Call, she thinks she has found a man who will take care of and lover her. Instead he pulls her into a life of drug addiction and prostitution. Angel does not think herself worthy to free herself from the life she finds herself trapped in until her friend Serena disappears and Call brings home an eleven-year old girl named Mellie to join Angel as a child prostitute. Through her faith in angels and love for Mellie, Angel finds a way to save herself and her young friend from Call and other corrupt men. Set against the real life murders of forty-nine women in Vancouver during the eighties and nineties, My Book of Life By Angel chronicles a fictional story about what it means to love and believe in the divinity of the self.
Martine Leavitt’s decision to tell an excruciating tale through ethereal verse is a success. Though graphic details are absent from the novel, the emotional impact remains intact. It is impossible to not fly through cover to cover in one sitting due to the beauty of the language and the high stakes of the narrative. The protagonist’s voice feels authentic and earnest throughout and the accompanying characters and scenarios ring just as true. While the subject material is certainly recommended for older readers, the overall message is uplifting and spiritual. My Book of Life By Angel is one of those rare novels that feel completely flawless and as divine as the angel within its pages.
*Contains murder, abuse, and plot specific, non-graphic sexual content.