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On the Bright Side

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  77 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
On the Bright Side is a hilarious road to guardian angeldom paved with so much drama and due-paying that it makes middle school look painless. As if the devil's food cake at her wake and the white fat pants she's stuck wearing for eternity weren't bad enough, fourteen year-old Gabby is quick to discover that Cirrus, the main rung of Heaven, is a far cry from the Pearly Gat ...more
Paperback, also in ebook, 285 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Coleman & Stott (first published January 25th 2012)
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YA Angels
321st out of 341 books — 1,683 voters
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Best Tween Books
48th out of 101 books — 66 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 399)
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Amanda P
Jan 26, 2012 Amanda P rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading On the Bright Side because it had a unique twist on the Angel features. Even after Gabrielle has died and went to heaven now its her duty to protect the Mortals from any harm. I loved the concept of the novel and how it developed at a great pace. As I was reading it was was starting to get into the characters personalities and what they really wanted.

I felt really bad for Gabrielle in the beginning due to the loss of never having her first kiss and not telling her best f
Stacey B.
Jul 21, 2012 Stacey B. rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars

MEMORABLE QUOTE: "The only physical sensation we have comes through the pain of our loved ones. At least until our transfer is complete." (p. 9)

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is an all around good, cute, fun book. I really enjoyed reading it. I was very amused by the play on words that Johannes uses throughout this book. Just a few examples of some are the Amen Marcus, SKYber safety and SKYbrid. I kept waiting to see what other words she came up with. I would recommend this book to anyone w
Majibookshelf Juhina & Farah
On The Bright Side is such a different story, that had me laughing most of the time. The story is about Gabby, the main protagonist, who suddenly dies and goes to "heaven", which is called Cirrus.
In Cirrus, Gabby is a Bright in training, therefore she has an assigned mortal she has to protect. She gets assigned to her enemy, Angela. As Gabby goes to earth, she has to protect Angela. Since no one can see her, Gabby pulls a few strings and actually makes Angela's life kind of miserable which actua
Lynn  Davidson
Oct 21, 2013 Lynn Davidson rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I began reading this book as I usually do, with a serious take-it-all-in attitude. It didn’t take me long to discover that, for one thing, there are few, if any, similarities to the real Heaven.

But, let me back up a little.

This story is about a teenage girl who dies suddenly and is transported to Haven (that’s not a misspell), otherwise known as Cirrus. So begins her afterlife as a ‘Bright” and her training to be a guardian angel. Knowing that people do not become angels (since angels are angels
C.S. Einfeld
Feb 21, 2012 C.S. Einfeld rated it really liked it
What a breath of fresh air!

This is, quite simply, a great book. When Gabriella (Gabby)'s young life is cut short thanks to a combination of drunk driving and inopportune texting, death takes a turn for the better (or, more interesting, at least).

There are so many things I liked about this novel. The opening, with Gabby narrating her own funeral (in a flawless MG voice, no less), had me hooked, straight away. The writing is really solid. Johannes is clearly a natural for this genre.

And, I'd li
Shannon O'Donnell
Feb 06, 2012 Shannon O'Donnell rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to be a part of Shelli's first blog tour for the release of UNTRACEABLE, her YA novel, which I thought was great. So, of course I jumped at the chance to read and review her new MG release. I can't believe the difference in voice! Nailing voice is one of the things we authors often struggle to get right. Not Shelli. The middle grade voice and humor in ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is spot on.

Gabby is a truly lovable character. Shelli's portrayal of "heaven" is creative and fun. The suppo
Dec 20, 2011 Karen marked it as to-read
I love ghost and angel stories! This one sounds great.
Feb 29, 2012 Samantha rated it liked it
I was really interested in Gabby's story. It was an new take on a haunting ghost story. On the Bright Side is a MG book and it wasn't really up my alley, but S.R. Johannes wrote it in such a way that it was.

The cover was so cute and fun! It ft the story perfectly and what Gabby was like perfectly! Well.. Minus her white fat pants her mom buries her in! :) Plus, I want those shoes.

The story was okay.. I found myself wanting the book to end, it seemed like it just went o
Jan 24, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 14 & up
Shelves: first-reads
First of all I would like to say Thank You very very much to the author of this book. For letting my be one of the lucky few to read this.

Ok so here goes:)

The story begins with 14 year old Gabriella aka Gabby, she is a Celestial Being meaning she is a spirit. But how does she get there u may ask?????? Death by text. The story begins with Gabby at her funeral, by being a witness and seeing how the one's that loved her felt about her. She can't believe who walks in her, nemises Angela. She is en
Ana (Owl Always Be Reading)
Jan 29, 2012 Ana (Owl Always Be Reading) rated it really liked it
This is the first middle school book I have read as an adult and wow, what a cute and witty story. The story started a little slow but then if picked up and had my attention the whole time. I love reading stories with angels and S.R. Johannes created this whole new world of angels that I have never heard of before and fell over heals for. This was a funny, cute and well written story. The cover has Gabby on it and that is exactly the way I pictured her. I especially loved that she was even weari ...more
Ashley Chen
Feb 11, 2012 Ashley Chen rated it it was amazing
Ok first of all, the main character, Gabriella, seems to be in the stage where she is stuck between tween and teen. I really doesn't like that stage in real life, and I can tell that Shelli portray it perfectly. But that doesn't mean I didn't like the book. I found the plot SUPER unique! I don't think I had ever read something similar. At first, I wasn't really interested in Gabby at all. She was just I guess a little annoying with her crush, Michael. But when Gabby actually died, I got excited ...more
Jan 30, 2012 Jessirae rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks, for-review
Fourteen year old Gabby gets the shock of her life when she dies of a tragic car accident, leaving her beloved mother and her best friend Michael, the only boy she’s ever really liked. After dying, Gabby finds herself in Cirrus, a sort of Heaven, as a BIT (Bright in Training). Being a BIT, Gabby must protect her Assigned Mortal. This is no easy task when her AM becomes her frenemy: Angela Black. Not only is Angela Black Gabby’s rival in fencing but also for the heart of her best friend. Gabby ca ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Note to self: Don't text while crossing the street. It's a crappy way to die and Gabby knows that first hand. Once Gabby left the earthly plane she traveled to Cirrus and became a Bright in Training (aka Angel). There was a lot of explanation in this book of how everything in Cirrus worked. It was interesting to see the different take on Heaven and Angels that S.R. Johannes had. She created this fictional place to resemble a working city with a very futuristic view. It was interesting learning a ...more
Alaiel Kreuz
Feb 13, 2012 Alaiel Kreuz rated it really liked it
After dying (a death by text, yeah, I'm being serious here) she finds out that heaven is, actually, very different of what we imagine here on Earth. In Cirrus (heaven) Gabrielle becomes a guardian-angel in training ad her first assignment is Angela.
And who is Angela? Well, somehow she is the reason Angela is dead, you see. Why? Because both girls were fighting over Michael (Gabrielle's secret crush and best friend) and while Gabby was out with him Angela texted her letting her know that she had
Sandra Stiles
Mar 12, 2012 Sandra Stiles rated it really liked it
This was a wonderfully, funny book. I could picture Gabby and Angela. I see teens like this every day spatting from a distance over a boy. Gabby and Michael have been best friends for a long time. Gabby has a major crush on him and has not told him. Then one night she is walking and reading a text from her enemy Angela. The last thing she reads is that Angela has invited Michael to a dance at her school. Then it is all over. She is hit by a car and killed. She is taken to heaven, called “Cirrus” ...more
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Feb 09, 2012 Savannah (Books With Bite) rated it really liked it
This is a type of book that makes me laugh and cry. A teenage girl getting into all kinds of trouble but also learning things about life. What I loved most about this book is the plot and growth of the character. I love reading a book where the reader see the characters struggling with change but also learns something entirely new. Cause that is what life is about. Learning and growing.

The plot of the book is a typical plot though it fills the reader with great joy. I adored seeing Gabby run in
Катя Czaja
TL;DR: A fun, fast-paced, funny tween book with an imaginative setting and world. Great mix of romance, adventure, and true-to-life tween experiences. I’m looking forward to the next book.

The longer review:

On the Bright Side is set half in this word and half in an imaginatively-constructed ‘heaven’ where newly dead serve as guardian angels for the living. Gabby, flustered by an almost-kiss with her crush (Michael) and a crushing text from her frenemy (Angela), gets hit by a car. She goes to heav
Feb 07, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it
Fourteen-year-old Gabby tells her tale with a very convincing teen voice in S.R. Johannes’ novel On the Bright Side. The puns and humor are perfectly measured, the childish despair that she’s never been kissed is entirely believable, and Gabby’s foolish ventures, thoughtless vengeance and innocent regret are all beautifully portrayed. Oh, and did I mention, “Gabriella Williams, age fourteen. Died while texting.”

The author sets the scene in this afterlife with gentle touches from many religious b
Feb 12, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it
First off, thank you to author S R Johannes for the opportunity to read this wonderful book. This was such a joy to read. What an outstanding addition to the world of middle grade reads.

Gabby is such a great character. She is strong, spunky, loving, funny and passionate about what she believes in. The great thing though is she is still very much flawed, like the majority of us. But, we get to see her grow and learn from her ever growing list of mistakes.

Not only did I adore Gabby, but we are tr
Heather Robbins
Feb 02, 2012 Heather Robbins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, e-book
*I got a little long with this one*

What a great tween book! It's funny, refreshing and you will feel right there with Gabby!

I will be telling my kids school they HAVE to add this for the middle grades books. "tweens" will love it, it has everything I remember from being that age. Besties, jealousy, trying to do the right thing.

Gabby is a great girl. She is loyal, strong, and caring...and also I found her very funny. While she is in training well she gets everything all messed up and needs to fix
Mar 24, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it
This idea of what life after death could be like is an interesting one, but it feels a little sad to me. Everyone has to say goodbye to their old friends and family and quickly move on to their assignment in the afterworld...without thinking about their loved ones anymore. That seems really sad to me, but maybe you have a feeling of peace because you realize that they will be ok.

Aside from that sad thought, I enjoyed this book. I could just imagine how annoyed I would be to have to guard and pro
**Review copy received courtesy author**

On the Bright Side is a lighthearted romp through what the afterlife might be like if you were a teenage girl sent back as a guardian angel for your frenemy. It was a nice change of pace to read a book written for a younger teen audience. There's no real angst here, other than the lost opportunity to tell your crush how you feel about him, and the knowledge that your family is sad about your death. Death is treated like an opportunity in this book: a place
Laura Pauling
Aug 01, 2012 Laura Pauling rated it really liked it
Gabby dies and becomes an angel who must protect her frenemy! The girl moving in on the boy she likes. We watch Gabby struggle with mortality, dying, and leaving behind the ones she loves but it is done with a light touch and humorous voice. Gabby learns some hard lessons by making some big mistakes. We laugh with her, feel bad for her, cringe when she makes the wrong choices but love her as undergoes a character change.

Elementary girls and middle school girls will enjoy the fun writing and voic
Curse of the Bibliophile
Jan 26, 2012 Curse of the Bibliophile rated it it was amazing
A hilarious new YA that explores the antics and trouble that come with a fourteen year-old ghost trying to be good. This story will have you both breaking out into hysterics and gripping the pages in anticipation.
Gabby is a typical fourteen year old, well except for the being dead part, and she does have a mischievous streak that gets her into a bit of trouble. I highly enjoyed reading this fun and thought provoking new story. Gabby is an endearing character that I’m sure many readers will love
Kathleen Kelly
Feb 22, 2012 Kathleen Kelly rated it really liked it
This has to be one of the cutest books I have read in awhile. Not taking anything away from the story by calling it cute at all. I found this story refreshing and written in such a way that I was able to read it through in a few sittings. Gabby is a little spitfire who dies way too early and is sent to Cirrus to become a guardian angle if you will to her nemesis Angela. Gabby feels that Angela is petty and shallow. I loved the humor that is Gabby. Trying so hard to be good but finding herself in ...more
Kids Write Reviews
Jan 31, 2012 Kids Write Reviews rated it it was amazing
This book is about a girl named Gabby who dies and is “transfered” to a place called Cirrus that is typically Heaven except ruled by the goddess Nephele, not God. She meets her SKYpal, Jessica, also her new best friend. She is assigned to an AM, or assigned mortal. So she’s kind of a guardian angel.

Gabby gets her worst enemy, know-it-all Angela, who is now Michael, THE MIchael, girlfriend. (Michael is Gabby’s best friend and formal crush since, like, kindergarden.) Gabby will not tolerate that.

Kate Tilton
Dec 29, 2015 Kate Tilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Normally I don't read middle grade work, but I am so glad I picked up Shelli's On the Bright Side. I found that although Shelli markets the book as a middle grade novel it really is right in between middle grade and young adult. Gabby, the main character, is the exact same age as my little sister, she is at that age were fashion is key and crushes are serious business. Reading the novel I found that Gabby would have very mature moments but at the same time she'd have equally immature moments sho ...more
Emily (Heinlen) Davis
The concept was ok, but I found the story to be too slow. The book contained strong writing, but I saw with a few typos and grammatical issues.
Jessica Stampe
May 03, 2012 Jessica Stampe rated it really liked it
I really liked ON THE BRIGHT SIDE! I only read middle grade every now and then, so I am not the best judge, but I thought this book was pretty good. My favorite aspect of the book is the interesting mix of heaven and technology. It was really strange, but in a good way. Though most of the technology was labeled pretty accurately (like SkyFone is a cell phone), I had to really pay attention in order to remember what each technology did. I like when books make me pay attention but don’t make me wo ...more
Feb 03, 2012 Shelley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
What a fun and charming story! I flew through this book -- absolutely had to keep reading. I loved Gabby, though my favorite character was her SKYAgent, Lawrence Allmad. What a great character. I liked that this book wasn't predictable -- a fresh and interesting tale that surprised me more than I thought it would.

I enjoyed Gabby's spunk and attitude, and I'm glad to have read a book with a heroine who is far from perfect, but still lovable. Highly recommended book!
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When Shelli was younger, she spent all her time outdoors, hiking, camping and living the Girl Scout Way.

Somewhere along the way, she got away from nature and earned an MBA in Marketing, kicking off an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America.

Eventually, Shelli traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She started her own
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