Disclaimer: Here we are again, another fantastic teenage fiction series I will be reviewing for you. Be aware that this series portrays very dark themes, including death, loss, drug addiction, date rape, bullying, mental illness, grief and suicide. Please review this yourself to see if you feel that your teenager is mature enough to handle it. Although in my honest opinion, I feel that most 16 plus (the ages of the characters are 16/18) should be able to read this. As well as should, as some of the themes involved are quite common in life.
The book started with two people very much in love, going out on a date. Ivy and Tristan. Who after making out in the back of his car, drive towards the restaurant they should be eating in, when the car loses control and crashes. Killing Tristan and leaving Ivy badly hurt. Yes, I know this is a huge spoiler, but it is used as a flash to draw the reader's eye into the first chapter before dropping back a few months to show how the two met/fell in love. Before continuing on with Ivy after Tristan, also we couldn't talk about Tristan being an Angel without knowing he is already dead.
Ivy believes in angels after one 'saved' her when she was younger, from drowning. She has a shelf full of angels, talks about them with her little brother (Philip) who is four years old. She prays to them every day for guidance, hoping they will help her through difficult times. Which currently means their mother remarrying and moving in with Andrew and his son Gregory. A boy that she really doesn't like from school. Philip doesn't like him either, so she has to be strong for both of them through it all. The wedding, the move, even when she is forced to give away her cat (Ella).
Well, in a way it is a good thing she has to give away the cat as it gives Tristan his opening. He already met her at the wedding, he was a server who got fired and ended up hanging out with her brother. He loves her, so when she puts the cat up for adoption he takes her. Saying Ivy can visit her anytime. She refuses, Ivy is rather independent. She has to be, its who she is. Which is why even though she is terrified of drowning, and can not swim. She ignores her friends (Beth and Suzanne) when they tell her to drop out of the drama presentation. Which requires standing on the edge of the huge dive reciting poems. When she nearly falls, Ivy prays to her angels for help. Tristan saves her life, and in a stilted friendship which eventually becomes more, he teaches her to swim.
After his death he comes back as an angel guided by another angel called Lacey Lovett (an ex-film star), doing everything he can to protect her. Gregory is trouble, he is always trying to force her into things even though legally they are now step-siblings. Kisses, touches. He nearly crashes into her at a stop sign at one point. He is unstable, hanging with Eric ( a drug addict)who he gets to obey him by paying off his drug bills. There we things that Ivy saw she shouldn't, she was on the street when Gregory's mother committed suicide. She doesn't remember much about the crash, but if she did that would be problematic for others. So several times she is attacked. Gregory is there for her through all of it, or is he? Is he just trying to judge what she remembers?
Tristan is desperate to reach out to Ivy, using her friends Beth and Will to try to speak to her. Which often backfires as she can't deal with the comments made. Ivy is in serious danger, can Tristan save her life or will they be reunited in death? Tristan has choices to make because if he does save her life he will never be able to see her again. He will 'move on'.
This is an amazing storyline, deep thoughtful, at times painful to read as you are taken through the progression of the characters lives in a high believable fashion. I love the author's ideas of how angels can 'touch' another's mind to drop out a sentence another might recognise or get them to draw a picture. Or even just play a song they would remember. How many times after you lost a loved one did something strange like that happen around you making you think of them all over again? For me, hundreds.Leaving you wondering just for those few seconds: Are they really with me? Do they really still watch over me?
Search this book out, you will love it.
Sarah Beth James