This was a beautiful, heartbreaking book The cover art is fantastic, and the poetry is incredible I m not an expert on Angelology I think that s the word, but I m pretty sure that the way the angels are depicted in this book is not considered correct by the Catholic Church, which means that this is the first book, and the second story the first being the film It s a Wonderful Life, with inaccurate depictions of angels that I thoroughly enjoyed Nanette was annoying at first She s just so selfish But I felt bad for her because of DePaul s rejection of her, because of the way her father treated her, and because of the loss of her friend, especially because of the way that she lost her friend Over the course of the book you can see that she has so much character growth She realizes just how much she gave up when she made her selfish choice, and she gets an idea of how much she hurt the people that she cared about I didn t think that she healed very much, from the pain of losing Ally, but other than that she had a beautiful transformative journey over the course of the book.Vera was heartbreaking She was so sweet, but so alone She didn t need to be alone, but she felt that she did view spoiler I was so relieved when she got her, if not necessarily happy, at least satisfying, and potentially happy ending hide spoiler Angelhood offers important messages about hope and regret through the first person account of 17 year old Nanette, who, in the first chapter, puts a gun to her head and pulls the trigger From there she embarks on her angelhood Despite the name, the body less souls, and the acquisition of wings, the period of angelhood bears resemblance to purgatory than angelic life In order to gain her own redemption, Nanette is assigned a charge whom she must prevent from making the same fatal mistake she did in taking her own life.Nanette shadows a friendless, angsty poet named Vera, whose mother has succumbed to breast cancer Despite Nanette s frustration with Vera s anti social, loser ways, she takes her task seriously and struggles to find means to influence Vera s behavior and help her see the wonderful possibilities around her.Throughout the novel, Nanette and other angels, including her mentor of sorts, Warren, engage in spiritual warfare in defense of their charges and their own journey towards sainthood Darkness and evil tempt and taunt, eager to draw souls to their eternal torment.Interspersed with the action are Nanette s memories both those leading up to her suicide and happy memories with her sister, mother, and fellow theater geeks Not only does concentrating on positive memories help her to grown in grace, it also enables her to see clearly the rashness of her life ending decision.While Nanette had seen death as an escape from her various troubles, she now realizes that not only has peace eluded, her but her absence has had profound effects on her family members as well Her perspective matures and broadens, allowing her to see hope where in the past she felt despair and to recognize, in theater terms, that comedy and tragedy exist side by side.There are several twists, turns, and revelations along the way to maintain tension and keep the reader engaged.In the years following the suicide of a friend s 15 year old son also by gun , I ve become hypersensitive to its frequent portrayal in media While its depiction here made me uncomfortable, the overriding, hopeful message integrated so seamlessly into Nanette s memories and experiences convinced me of its valuable message for teens in particular, who think their life isn t worth living and the world would be better off without them I listened to Angelhood on audiobook, which opens me to distraction than reading print does It can also be a challenge to hear over the noise level and kid interruptions in my home I did, however, enjoy the narration, which fit Nanette s voice well. Seventeen Year Old Theater Geek Nanette Believes Her Life Is Headed Toward Stardom On Broadway But When Her Dream Theater College Rejects Her And Her Best Friend Dies In A Terrible Accident, Nanette Decides The World Would Be Better Off Without Her Unfortunately, The Afterlife Offers Something Less Than A Heavenly Situation Trapped Between Alternating Periods Of Utter Darkness And Light, Nanette Is Stuck Following A High School Freshman Around Soon, She Learns She S A Guardian Angel, And The Only Way She Can Earn Her Wings Is To Keep Her Young Charge, Vera, From Committing The Same Sin She Did Taking Her Own LifeUnfortunately, Nanette Is Missing Than Just Her Wings She Has No Tangible Body Or Voice, Either Frustrated By Her Inability To Reach Out To Vera And Haunted By Memories Of Her Old Life, Nanette Wants To Give Up, But Then She Sees What Happens When Another Guardian At The High School Turns His Back On His Charge The Shock Is Enough To Supercharge Nanette S Determination She S Going To Find Peace In The Afterlife As Soon As She Can Convince Vera That Living Is What Life Is All About I wish I could go back in time and put this book in the hands of some young people who gave up on their lives Young or old, this story gives the reader something to seriously contemplate what is the next life really like And does suicide offer the best way out of misery Using expressive literary licence, an intimate understanding of young adult experiences, and the pain of a broken heart, A J Cattapan does a marvelous job creating an atmosphere the reader will never completely forget and hopefully will go on to live life a bit fully no matter the past. The place Nanette feels most alive is on stage, and she has big dreams to become an actress However, real life interferes with these dreams, and after a succession of tragic events, Nanette decides that life is not worth living Little does she know that the afterlife is even real than life itself She embarks into Angelhood and meets Vera, a girl like herself, also contemplating suicide Can Nanette prevent Vera from making the same mistake Nanette must battle the demons that haunt Vera and also must confront her own demons Death is not the easy way out she had hoped it would be.In this stunning debut young adult novel, A.J Cattapan explores the age old question what happens when we die Cattapan deftly weaves Nanette s story into despair and back into the light it is a story that will capture your imagination and keep it captive until the very end. This was a thought provoking and moving read that deals sensitively with a very serious subject The first couple of pages are quite shocking, though if you ve read the synopsis what happens won t be a surprise, and the rest of the book pulls one along with the need to know what happens, whether it can all turn out alright.Some reviewers have noted that this is not a theologically accurate presentation of the afterlife, and indeed it is not, however, there is a cast iron reason for this within the book I can t say without giving spoilers Just enjoy it as fantasy, and all will become clear The novel has the Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writers Guild, incidentally, which should assuage any doubts about theological issues This book is perfectly okay for teens to read, despite the suicide theme In fact, the of them read it the better, since it allows the consequences of selfishness to play out very clearly before the reader s eyes, much effective than simply lecturing on the subject Highly recommended I received a free copy of the book whilst acting as a reviewer for the Catholic Writer s Guild Seal of Approval. The pacing is spot on, the characters are well drawn and well motivated, the parents are a living is that a pun and breathing part of the plot rather than just add ons One caveat emptor I am concerned about how the resolution of the story might make light of the permanence of suicide, especially in the minds of young readers who are on the impressionable side I don t want to give anything away, but I did want to put that out there as something for parents to consider when thinking about sharing Angelhood with their young readers That said, it s well written and well deserving of all the awards it has received I m looking forward to my next Cattapan read. Angelhood is a bit of It s a Wonderful Life and 13 Reasons Why with some Dean Koontz style supernatural elements Written for young adults, this story deals with the difficult subjects of teen depression, loneliness and suicide in a way that offers hope This book could potentially save lives by providing a new perspective to someone who is suffering with similar struggles.I think many young people will identify with the main character, seventeen year old Nanette, even if they don t have suicidal thoughts The teenage years can be so turbulent Teens are trying to find themselves, figure out where they fit in the world, who they are important to, and where they re headed And when things go wrong in their lives, it s easy to focus only on that Nanette responds to the disappointments in a drastic way, taking her life.As Christians, we know that life is a gift from God and it s wrong to throw that gift away through suicide But we also know that God looks at the individual, and sometimes a person s mind is so clouded that they don t have full culpability I believe Nanette falls into that category She almost seems to think that she ll go straight to heaven This shows she has a skewed understanding of the proper response to blessings, including life.So when Nanette becomes aware again, she s surprised she s not in heaven She doesn t know where she it The reader doesn t know where she is either While it s not a doctrinal representation of purgatory, there is something very purgatory like about it A soul who dies in God s grace, but with imperfect love, goes through a process where that love is purified Nanette has been living a sort of self centered life, rather than a life of love Love looks outward, not in This story shows how focused a person can become on themselves and their goals, not just teens either, and they fail to see the bigger pictures So when something goes wrong, it s a big deal, life shattering, even.Gradually, Nanette starts to see the bigger picture And this happens because, in this afterlife, she must help and protect someone It turns out to be a teenage girl who is also suicidal Over the course of the story, you see her growing in love, you could say In watching this girl, in looking back and her life, and with the counsel of other guardians, she gradually begins to realize how she had failed to appreciate the daily gifts in her life She begins to see how important she is to others, even if things aren t going her way This story sheds light on our fallen human nature and offers a new perspective and hope. Loved this book From page 1 until the end, I was reading like a mad women Great job to this author. I have mixed feelings about this book It is my introduction to A.J Cattapan s writings, and it is very well written But I also have a little unease So First I will cover off the positives and then share my concerns First this book is very well written It grabs you right away and you really want to know what is going to happen next It is new and unique in presenting Guardian Angels, as people who have already passed away, and they are given a chance to help someone who faces struggles similar to their own So when you die you become a guardian angel, and as an angel you have the choice to fight for your charge or give up We see both in this book Nanetta was a young girl with her heart set on one thing She wanted to get into a specific university program When she doesn t she commits suicide But the peace she was expecting in the afterlife did not come First she goes through periods of darkness and witnessing the life of a girl named Vera She soon meets another guardian angel who starts to teach her some of the ropes But even the angels have their own faults and soon he is distracted and disappearing all the time Nanette is desperate to help Vera and struggling to find a way.It is a very touching and moving book And I do believe that it might help some young people who are considering suicide realize the greater extent of the impact of their actions And the book could be used as a discussion guide about the topic of suicide, and even why we are here But my concern is that some young readers might take the book too literally That they might consider the possibility of the second chance in the afterlife, that there is no theological basis for.As fiction it is very well written, with strong characters and a compassionate and moving storyline The pacing is good The handling of the topic is excellent And I would recommend it but I would be selective about who I passed this book on to The nuances of the theology and fictional betrayal of angels would be lost on less mature readers or those grounded in the faith But as mentioned it is very well written.Read the review on my blog 2017 Catholic Reading Plan
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Angelhood book, this is one of the most wanted A.J. Cattapan author readers around the world.
- A.J. Cattapan
- 24 July 2019 A.J. Cattapan