24 October 2011

Review: Desert Angel

One morning, fourteen-year-old Angel wakes up at her isolated trailer home deep in the California desert to find that her mother has been murdered. Angel knows the killer: her mom's boyfriend, a tweaker lowlife named Scotty, who has vanished. She also knows that Scotty, an expert tracker, will surface soon to eliminate her as a witness.

Angel has no water, no weapon, but she is good at making herself scarce. On her own, she may not make it. Then she stumbles across a shadow community of people willing to help her. These tough, secretive outsiders are exactly the kind of people Angel needed to find - forcing her to trust others for the first time, strengthening her in ways she will have to discover...because Scotty is closing in.

I feel like it's been forever since I read a book that wasn't paranormal in some way. I kept waiting for Angel to use her super strength or her ability to see the future through dreams to get her out of her situation, but to no avail. No supernatural abilities aside (thank goodness!), Desert Angel was fantastic. It starts out with bang and keeps on going until you reach the end. I feel like it slowed a little at some point between the beginning and the middle, but it was only a little. The anxiety I felt and continued to feel throughout made up for it. Once I started, I knew I had to finish it in one sitting.

Charlie Price did a fantastic job of creating a main character with very real psychological issues that would take years in a therapist's office and possibly some medication to fix. I find, in the current market, it's a rare young adult book that deals with neglect, abuse, sexual abuse, and an insane murderous mother's boyfriend in a very real way (or deals with it at all). My roommate is a social worker so I hear stories...

All of the characters in Desert Angel are very well thought out and even the background characters are given their own personalities and aren't drawn to be stereotypes. The environment was detailed, as well. I live in California but have never been anywhere near the desert. Well, I don't have to go now.

Someone who is probably a friend: "Angie, let's go to Joshua Tree!"
Me: "No thanks, I read Desert Angel and feel like I've already been there. Plus, I hate camping."

That's how the conversation would go.

I really enjoyed Price's writing style. I haven't read his other work, so I realize I have nothing to compare Desert Angel to, but I went to the library today and checked out The Interrogation of Gabriel James which won the 2011 Edgar Award. Very excited!

P.S. Because of the mature content of the book, I would recommend it for older teens and adults.

1 comment :

  1. I should read this book and see how it compares with my foster babies!


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