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My Book of Life by Angel

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,294 ratings  ·  272 reviews
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 Angelis stuck working thestreets at Hastings and Main ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Square Fish (first published August 22nd 2012)
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Aug 12, 2012 Julia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Julia by: karen
Leavitt crafted a beautiful story told completely through verse. Even though this book was gritty, there were still redeeming and hope-inducing qualities to it that kept the story from descending into the route of nihilism. That's a pretty tough job considering My Book of Life by Angel is about child prostitution. This novel balanced on a tight rope, which only served to make it more impressive when this novel succeeded immensely. There were a variety of ways this book could have been crafted, t ...more
My Book of Life by Angel was one of those books that I challenged myself to read. You know the type, you see it sitting there being all of these things that are interesting but not at all what you look for in a book. The type that every once in a while you make yourself pick up, just to prove that you haven’t let yourself be neatly filed and categorized as a reader. My Book of Life by Angel is a very recently placed Historical Fiction, set in the 1980s in Vancouver, BC. It focuses on heavy issue ...more
Keira Francis
Angel is a sixteen year old girl who needs help. And she finds it. She meets Call, and soon believes she is finally loved again, and believes that she found someone that truly understands her and won't leave her. Angel moves in with Call, and from the day she moves in she is part of Call's "business." Angel is taking drugs that Call gives her and is being used by Call to make money. He asks for her help in the business, asks her to be nice to some of his friends. But when the friends don't stop ...more
Edward Sullivan
A grim, ugly subject but a beautifully told story, poignant and full of compassion.
Utterly awesome!!!!!!Just finished reading Martine Leavitt's My Book of Life By Angel, an absolutely breath-taking novel in verse, which brilliantly, hauntingly, provocatively explores the life of 16-7ear-old Angel, who works the "kiddie stroll" in downtown Vancouver's Eastside during the Pickton murders - powerful stuff indeed!

One thing I found especially moving is the list of names of the missing women of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside that Leavitt gives her readers at the end of the book after
Sixteen-year-old Angel, a vulnerable teen, is coerced into drugs and prostitution by a young man she meets in a mall during a time when sex workers disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. What Angel must endure to get through every day life is heroic enough, but when Melli comes into her life, the stakes get a lot higher.

Told with heart, courage, and amazing insight into emotion and human struggle, Martine Leavitt writes a story that is impossible to forget.

And for readers who rely heav
Katie Fritz
When Angel is misled by Call in the dark and dangerous world of prostitution and drugs, she can't seem to see a way out. Call's love and favors turned into a job, and in this book the setting mostly is the streets Angel works on. She does her job, without knowing a way to do anything about it. When Call brings home a Melli though, a silent 11 year old who is much to young and innocent for the business call provides, Angel knows she has to do something. She protects the young girl, earning double ...more
Amber Kaldy
This twisted romance is a good read. Angel gets hooked on "candy." And is forced to do things she does not want to do. Call is an evil being of nature, that is her "boyfriend," and he has threatened to do bad things to her family. Vancouver Downtown Eastside is where all this goes on. One day he brings home Melli a little girl to do the awful business. Angel has to think of away to get Melli and herself out of this hell hole. What will happen next read to find out. If you like books with avast p ...more
I really enjoy novels-in-verse. The good ones are propulsive. The poetry invites you to linger over the way things are said, yet pushes you along to flow of the words. I find it very easy to slip into the rhythm of the story in a way that rarely happens with prose fiction.

National Book Award Finalist Martine Leavitt tackles tough topics in MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL, much like YA-novel-in-verse-heavy-hitter Ellen Hopkins. The narrator Angel is sixteen, working as a prostitute in Vancouver. She ran
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 ...more
Susin Nielsen
Full disclosure: I met Martine at the CLA awards in May. My new book, "Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen," was picking up an award, and so was Martine's. We exchanged copies. I politely told her I would read it, but secretly thought, "What a harrowing topic" (perhaps ironic since you could say that about my book, too!).

This is just an incredible, beautiful, painful, absorbing read. I am quite frankly blown away by Martine's talent. She immerses me in the world of Angel. I live in Vancouver,
Salina King
My Book of Life by Angle is a story of a young girl that has to work on the streets selling her body for a living. After many girls have mysteriously disappeared Angle decides she no longer wants to live the way she is. However that requires her to get away from a very controlling pimp, completely detox off of cocaine and find a way to support herself. Through out the book a reader can watch Angle grow into a brave young girl who is determined to change for the better. I think this book should b ...more
Angel Valdez
I randomly picked this book off of the shelf at the library. I didn't even read the jacket to find out what it was about, I simply did not want to choose from my normal authors. Starting out, I was thrown by the author's choice of writing in verse and the seemingly jumbled thoughts of Angel. I was quick to dismiss it and ready to push it to the side. But for some reason this book was calling to me. It turns out, Martine Leavitt's writing style made the book beautiful. This was a heartbreaking ta ...more
I had the honor and pleasure of being an MFA student alongside Martine Leavitt at Vermont College. We were all in awe of her grace, her empathy, her work ethic... She's amazing. This book is a heartbreaker. It doesn't end with all well and safe, and that's appropriate. I appreciated her note at the end about the serial murders of sex workers in Vancouver committed by one man but aided and abetted by the callous disregard for sex workers held by the police force and public. Wish I could teach/dis ...more
Prose poetry cry to the angels—or anyone really, even herself—to be saved from life as a 16-year-old drug addicted prostitute in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Angel starts her story after the disappearance of her street friend Serena, she who believed in angels and Wednesday night church, where they served the free hot dogs. If fact, many street girls have gone missing. There’s talk of a hunter, a Mr. P. with his van who takes and hurts the girls. They never come back, and when Serena’s gone an ...more
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Miquelle Leslie
If you are looking for an eye-opening book, pick up this one. My Book of Life by Angel is a heart-stirring story about 16 year old Angel that gets lured into prostitution by her boyfriend Call. Controlled by Call through “candy”, Angel is trapped in a lifestyle that she doesn’t want. When Call brings home Melli a girl of ten, who he wants to start in the business, Angel finds the courage to change her life and save Melli. Through this book a reader gains incredible insight into the world of pros ...more
Gabrielle Prendergast
Yesterday I blogged about controversial themes in verse novels. A recent release verse novel goes further into controversial themes than almost any I’ve ever read. MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL by Martine Leavitt combines a universally relatable tale about a girl who has fallen as far out of respectability as is possible (she’s become an addicted prostitute) with a very specific rather pointed indictment of the city of Vancouver’s lukewarm investigation of the serial killings of prostitutes by Robert ...more
Kathy Martin
I don't think I have ever read a novel in verse before. I was amazed at the complexity of thought and emotion that could be packed into so few words and phrases. Angel has a very powerful voice. I felt so sorry for the child who dealt with grief by stealing and who ran away to the Mall to get away from her sorrow. And even more sorry when she fell for what Call was offering.

It is easy to see how vulnerable children can get sucked into prostitution one little step at a time. Seeing that world th

I'm not entirely sure if the verse format worked with such a heavy story. I feel like it captured Angel's voice right and really added to the despair and pain of her character, but at the same time, the story itself was so tough I'm not sure the verse was necessary to convey the voice, either.

I think there's something topically and stylistically that'll appeal to some fans of Ellen Hopkins, but this is much more literary. This feels like one of those books that could have some award-y talk
16-year-old Angel is struggling after her mothers death when she meets a man, Call, at the mall. He slowly grooms her, convincing her that if she loves him, she will have sex with other men for money. The novel begins when Angel's best friend, Serena, and others are missing, and word on the street is that there is a man named Mr. P killing them. Angel is addicted to drugs and in a fog until Call brings home a small 11-year-old girl, Mellie. Angel sees, with great clarity, that she needs to save ...more
Isabelle Reyes
This book is in my favourites shelf for a reason. It is hard to find verse novels in a library and I am so happy I found this. I am not allowed to buy books in my household, but I broke the rules for this book. Taking place in an area I know well, I felt everything become more realistic. There are women out there who are put into Angel's situation and they could be only a few steps away. I found the voice used throughout the book to be very realistic. I found myself quoting lines from the book a ...more
This book is exquisitely told and it completely blindsided me on the emotional level. It's about a young girl prostitute working the streets of Vancouver Canada. It gives voice to those girls who disappear and poses the questions about what happens to them and why their disappearances are rarely solved. The story focuses on Angel and her relationship with a girl, even younger than herself, who she tries to protect from the exploitative characters manipulating the sex trade. It is told in free ve ...more
Heather Colacurcio
A chillingly dark novel in verse about a young girl forced into prostitution by a "boyfriend" who claims her as property and threatens to kill her family if she leaves. Leavitt finds light in the darkest of places, with prose that is painfully gorgeous to read. We feel Angel's hope and hopelessness, her desire for freedom and her precarious constraints, the glimmer of innocence in her heart and the hardness of the streets in her soul. Easily one of the best Young Adult releases of 2012 and one t ...more
Emma Hendrickson
Martine Leavitt writes My Book of Life by Angel. A fictional memoir of a 16-year-old girl, Angel, and she is known for shoplifting a shoe from many stores. She only takes one display shoe when she shoplifts. Angel’s family life is a bit of a struggle. Her mother died when she was younger, and her father suffers from severe depression. Angel meets a boy named Call; she feels that she has met somebody who actually understands her. She moves in with him and starts getting involved with drugs, which ...more
Avery Osborn
This is an amazing book. We are introduced to Angel through the notebook where she writes her poems. She does so in hopes that at the last day when the Book of Life is opened and her history is read, she’ll be able to get in her version of things. Angel is a 16-year-old prostitute living with her boyfriend/pimp, Call. She met him at the mall after her mother’s death and he got her addicted to a drug he calls “candy.” When Angel’s father finds out, he kicks her out of the house. She ends up livin ...more
YA Book Recommendations
My reaction in one gif:

Full review:
There are some books that I read, and think, THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. My Book of Life by Angel is one of those books.

Leavitt handles this topic with great empathy and care. So many people do not have empathy for the women in prostitution, as is evident in Leavitt’s Author’s Note where she mentions that the police took no action against prostitutes being murdered. The main character, Angel, is there of her own mistakes, but Leavitt never blames her for her situatio
Ashlyn Anderson
Jun 10, 2014 Ashlyn Anderson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 16 and older, both boys and girls
Recommended to Ashlyn by: Jayne
Shelves: ya-classroom
"I said, Melli, when you're a kid
you think if you break the rules
you will die.

But one day you break the rules, and you don't die,
and then you think you'll never die.
You dump all the rules and you're so light you float.

But you can get so high
there's no air up there.
You can get so high, there's nothing to see but clouds
that rain you down."
(Leavitt 103)

Summary: This verse novel takes place in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside during a period in the 80s and 90s when more than 60 women went missing, most
Samantha Holler
My Book of Life by Angel is written by Martine Leavitt. A fictional memoir of a 16-year-old girl, Angel. Angel only takes one display shoe when she shoplifts and her family life is a bit of a struggle. Her mother died when she was younger, and her father suffers from severe depression. Angel meets a boy named Call; she feels that she has met somebody who actually understands her. She moves in with him and starts getting involved with drugs. With the influence of Call, he puts Angel to work the c ...more
Madeline Isaak
Martine Leavitt writes My Book of Life by Angel. A fictional memoir of a 16-year-old girl, Angel, and she is known for shoplifting a shoe from many stores. She only takes one display shoe when she shoplifts. Angel family life is a bit of a struggle, her mother died when she was younger and her father suffers from severe depression. Angel meets a boy named Call; she feels that she has met somebody who actually understands her. She moves in with him and starts getting involved with drugs, which is ...more
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Martine Leavitt is the author of eight novels for young adults, including My Book of Life by Angel, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award. Keturah and Lord Death was a National Book Award finalist, Tom Finder was a winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, and Heck Superhero was a Governor General’s Award finalist. Martine’s novels ...more
More about Martine Leavitt...
Keturah and Lord Death Heck Superhero The Dollmage Tom Finder Blue Mountain

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