Jul 4, 2011

Review: Calling for Angels by Alex Smith

  • E-book: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Red Telephone (Nov 2010)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1907335099
  • Source: review copy from the publisher 
  • My rating: 4.5/5

  • SummaryEm never believed in angels. That was until she met Zak and Kai… 
Em - shy, sensitive, with her head in the clouds - and Caitlyn - gorgeous, popular and talented - have been best friends forever, in a sleepy, nondescript town called Philiton. But when new boy Zak moves into town, Philiton suddenly becomes a much more interesting place. With his meltingly hot looks, sense of humour and a smile that has even the hardest-hearted girls falling at his feet, Zak has the female population of Philiton Comprehensive School convinced he's an angel.
Usually, Caitlyn has the boys worshiping the ground she treads on, so it’s a shock when Zak seems to be more interested in Em. Cracks appear, tensions arise, but surely Em and Caitlyn’s lifelong friendship can survive?
Em feels beset by demons. At home, she’s looking after her grandmother, who is slowly deteriorating, whilst despairing at her normally sensible brother, who is going off the rails just to fit in with the ‘right crowd’. Even Zak’s unexpected attention causes jealous girls to shower Em with spite – not least Caitlyn. If only she had a guardian angel…
Then a second boy steps into Em’s life. Dark and brooding, a captive to the secrets of a past he’d rather forget, Kai, who has appeared as if from nowhere and fallen head over heels in love with Em, is the exact opposite of Zak.
And although he may not seem like it, Kai is the real thing. He really is an angel.

Calling for Angels was such a cute novel! I devoured it in two sittings. Page after page, it impressed me more and more. Alex, who wrote this novel when she was 14, has more talent than most YA authors out there. Being a teenager herself and writing about things characteristic for her age (creating an image of yourself in comparison to her peers, experiencing first love, loss, family issues), Alex has created wonderful characters and a heartwarming story that I believe both young teens and their parents love alike. The voice, too, is one that all young readers will recognize as their own; yet, at places I was astonished by the maturity and powerful observances about death or peer pressure.   
There were places when I laughed out loud and cool references to some of my favorite bands (RHCP and Florence and The Machine). The saddest parts were those that concerned Kai. This is also the only place where I have a complaint to place; I wish I knew what happened so bad that he has to redeem for now. He is a tragic character, the one that grows evidently from beginning to end. For him, Alex provides an ending that filled me with hope and warmth, yet left me with slight longing. 
Calling for Angels is a novel I'd recommend to everyone. Though it mostly appeals to younger teens (11-16), I'm sure the older ones would love it just as much. Here's an urge to parents, if you want a brilliantly written, encouraging, positive, optimistic, non-violent, everything-but-shallow, realistic, sweetly innocent, yet exciting and intense novel, a novel to which they will easily relate, treat your teen bookworm to Calling for Angels. 

Keep up the good work, Alex. Kudos for doing such a great job!

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