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My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt

Monday, July 2, 2012

When sixteen-year-old Angel meets Call at the mall, he buys her meals and says he loves her, and he gives her some candy that makes her feel like she can fly. Pretty soon she's addicted to his candy, and she moves in with him. As a favor, he asks her to hook up with a couple of friends of his, and then a couple more. Now Angel is stuck working the streets at Hastings and Main, a notorious spot in Vancouver, Canada, where the girls turn tricks until they disappear without a trace, and the authorities don't care. But after her friend Serena disappears, and when Call brings home a girl who is even younger and more vulnerable than her to learn the trade, Angel knows that she and the new girl have got to find a way out.

Goodreads Summary

I was surprised that I liked this book. Typically, I don't enjoy books that are written in verse. However, Martine Leavitt writes powerfully, her words injected with strong emotions that stick with the reader throughout the novel. Angel is a girl who has fallen on hard times at a very young age. After her mom passed away, Angel feels lonely and vulnerable. With her father and her arguing more and more, Angel turns to drugs to feel better-a man named Call her supplier. Before long, Call convinces her to leave her home and turn tricks for him. Angel, her brain addled with drugs and pain, is slowly working her way out from under the influence of the drugs when the reader meets her. Melli, a young child brought in by Call, provides further encouragement for Angel to escape from her current lifestyle and ensure Melli's safety.

Angel's character is depressing. Her mother is dead, her father and brother moved, and she is turning tricks in very dangerous streets. Many women have gone missing over the past few months, including Angel's friends, and Angel must be constantly on the look-out...a hard thing to do when one is on drugs. Though Angel wants to dull the pain of her everyday life, she knows she must work past the withdrawal period and begin to feel again. Melli is brought in maybe halfway through the book. Her presence will likely depress the reader even more. She is the one innocent person in the book, someone previously untouched by this kind of lifestyle. Her presence hits Angel hard, reminds Angel of her younger brother. The book continues with Angel doing her very best to "save" Melli.

The humiliation that Angel endures at the hands of the people who "buy" her for a short time is almost unbearable. It's literally like a train wreck that the reader is powerless to stop. She can't seek help from the police; Call has at least one policeman under his thumb. She does not really have her own savings, though she does have her dead friend's "escape money." With Melli in the pictuer, the pressure is on for Angel to "shape-up" and escape with Melli's childlike innocence intact. This book is a quick read, but one that will haunt the reader after setting the book down. The author bravely highlights a very problematic issue and makes it known to her readers with glaring reality. My Book of Life by Angel is recommended to young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. I just don't think this is a book that I could read. It sounds like it could be good, and according to your review, it is. I just don't think I could handle. Books like this, where abuse and addiction in one form or another, makes me so angry I can't stand it. I hope that the ending is full of hope, I just don't think I would make it to the end.

  1. Unknown said...:

    I need to read this book. I usually watch movies that deal with similar things to My Book of Life.

  1. TayteH said...:

    Sounds.....different. I've never heard of a book quite like this one. It's.....okay, it different. Let's leave it at that. :D
    But it kinda sounds interesting.

  1. Unknown said...:

    Sounds different. I'm also not sure I'd like it written in verse. Also seems very sad.