Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Calling for Angels by Alex Smith

Calling for Angels
by Alex Smith

Summary: Em 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.

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.

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not, it would either be a hit or miss… but I did like it. The story was short, sweet and entertaining (and when I say short, I mean that -- it’s only 146 pages).

I was impressed that it was written when the author was 14, she writes better than a lot of adults I know (myself included). At times her age really showed though and that was both good and bad.

The good thing was that the characters were realistic; they acted their age, their dialogue was age appropriate. Now, there’s a lot of YA novels floating around right now that I adore, but sometimes the characters act older or younger than they should be… it doesn’t make those novels bad, not at all but it was refreshing reading a novel where the characters are the age of the author, makes it seem more -- authentic, I guess.

The negatives… well, thing’s like in Kai’s POV where he would think about how he loves her and how gorgeous he thinks she is -- it kind of gave the character an almost Mary Sue quality to her, where she sees herself as the plain Jane type but ends up with two guys adoring her (and it was difficult to believe Kai's love for her because it happens so fast, we don't see it develop at all, maybe if the book were longer it would've been different). Plus, it didn’t feel like I was reading from a teenage guys perspective, it was more like a teenage girls romanticized version of how she wants a teenage guy to think, if that makes sense?

The story was told from both Kai’s perspective and Em’s and I kind of have a love/hate relationship with that. It was interesting seeing Kai’s side of the story (with the exception of what I mentioned above), the angel thing was pretty cool… but some of the time it seemed like the split point of views were being used as a crutch when she couldn’t think of how to carry the scene/the story in just one perspective. The POV switches often happened mid conversation, which could be irritating.

If the story was told all from Em’s point of view, it could have been better -- it would’ve required the story to be fleshed out more and it would’ve given some more mystery by making the reader try to figure Kai out instead of just giving us the answers. Or maybe even if whole chapters were done in each POV, instead of jumping back and forth multiple times within chapters.

There were a few minor editing mistakes, which isn’t a big deal really, I just tend to notice thing’s like that (beyond the few typing mistakes, there were thing’s like this: at one point the Great Aunt is called Sally, then later she’s referred to as Sarah. And the angel Uriel -- Uriel is a male but is written as a woman in the story… which I guess could’ve been intentional, but I wasn’t sure if it was an error or not).

My favourite parts of the book were the interactions between Zak and Em  and pretty much any parts of the story involving them. I really liked the thing about Kai that I can’t really explain without spoiling that aspect of the book (but you’ll know what I mean if you read it), it kind of reminded me of this book I read and loved years ago (The Wish List by Eoin Colfer -- don’t get me wrong, it’s done totally differently, it reminded me of it in a good way).

I guess that’s all I can say about it. Overall, it was a cute book, I’d probably give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

About the cover:
I really, really don't like the cover. Cartoon covers irritate me and ones like this with that kind of font make the book seem really -- self published/amateur-ish and like they're aimed at young children instead of teenagers. Doesn't really do the book justice. I need to get out of my habit of judging books by their covers, but it's a difficult habit to break. Anyone else have an opinion on the cover? Cartoon covers, yay or nay?



  1. Every time I see this cover, I think "self-published stay away". Is it not?

  2. Mhmm, I hadn't seen the cover yet when I agreed to review it -- and I would've probably said no if I was just judging by the cover (but I was curious about the whole "the author is 14" aspect).

    It's published by them:

  3. I agree with you on the cover. When I see it, it looks like a middle grade or younger novel and not so much a teen story. I think they could have come up with something a little more sophisticated for a YA story.



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