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Dirty Little Angels: Chris Tusa

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Good Reads Summary:
Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses' lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses' twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.

The author really captures the young adult mind-set and feeling in this novel.  The novel is very "dark", even depressing; however, the author means to represent a certain reality in many societies.  The reader will have to restrain her/himself throughout the book from wanting to shake the characters and tell them what to do, however, this is likely the author's intention.  A good author evokes a response in the reader, a quality Tusa has down pat.  Hailey makes for a good protagonist, definitely eliciting sympathy in the reader.  Her brother is arrested at least three times for stealing, yet doesn't attempt to change his lifestyle and doesn't consider Hailey at all.  Hailey's mother is no role-model and constantly depressed; Hailey is surrounded by drinking, fights, drugs, etc...  The author's writing style kept the reader interested throughout the majority of the book, some of his words and/or phrases were a tad redundant in areas, but otherwise good.  The reader may feel that there is no "guide" in this novel, a trait that could be seen as negative, but the author crafts into a positive trait-the book builds upon itself, the plot unfolding slowly and the characters developing throughout the novel.  Hailey gives an "assumed to be" true account of the events surrounding her.  The ending could have used more explanation and detail, but the reader will be mostly satisfied.