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Heaven (Heaven #1)

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,970 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
Marley has lived in Heaven since she was two years old, when her mother found a postcard postmarked HEAVEN, OH on a park bench and decided that was where she wanted to raise her family.
And for twelve years, Marley's hometown has lived up to its name. She lives in a house by the river, has loving parents, a funny younger brother, good friends, and receives frequent letter
...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erica
Aug 19, 2009 Erica rated it it was ok
I expected a lot more from this book.
Having been in a situation similar to Marley's, I felt I'd be able to really appreciate and understand the story.
Also, I like Angela Johnson's writing and the book got a Coretta Scott King award.
Sadly, I wasn't impressed by this particular story.
I remember what it had felt like to find out my parents weren't who I'd thought. It's a really big thing to take on as a young person and there's a lot of reconfiguration of life, beliefs and...well, everything. I di
...more
Melissa
Jul 09, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kayna Olsen
Mar 07, 2011 Kayna Olsen rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-11-20
Marley is 14 and has a wonderful life in Heaven. Heaven, Ohio that is; she is quite alive. She loves her Momma and Pops and even her little brother Butchy. Marley exchanges letters with her Uncle Jack frequently while wiring him money through the local Washington Mutual. Even though she writes him so much she has never seen him except for when she was really little. One day, as a result of churches being burned to the ground, Marley learns the truth about everyone; her Uncle Jack, Momma, Pops, a ...more
Jaclyn Giordano
Jan 25, 2010 Jaclyn Giordano rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
May 24, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it
Marley is a fourteen-year-old girl who lives with her parents and older brother in Heaven, Ohio, a small town where everyone gets along and there isn't any crime. She hangs out with a former beauty queen who turned self-abusive because of the pressure, and a dreadlocked single dad from New York. She babysits his daughter, Feather, and learns about life from him and her friend Shoogy, the former beauty queen. Marley finds out that she's adopted, and her world turns upside-down. This book talks a ...more
Salma
Oct 23, 2011 Salma rated it it was amazing
Great book. we read it in class. I loved it!
Nancy Chaffin
May 08, 2010 Nancy Chaffin rated it liked it
Marley, the main character, lives in Heaven, Ohio and her life is heaven in the beginning of the story. She loves her family and shares sweet stories of family bonding at home and on road trips. One of my favorite stories is of a family trip to Cleveland to see “the museums, fireworks, and a rib-burn-off.” She has two good friends named Shoogy and Bobby and, though their lives are not perfect, they enjoy one another’s company and feel comfortable with each other. One of Marley’s responsibilities ...more
Cat Conner
Jun 22, 2010 Cat Conner rated it it was ok
"Heaven" is about a young girl named Marley who lives in a town called Heaven, which is ironic because those around her and the situations in which Marley finds herself are anything but divine. "Heaven" explores Marley's discovery of a huge family secret which makes Marley question the integrity of her family and friends. "Heaven" also describes the lifestyle of certain African American families without going into the subject of racism. Marley, through the exposition of her best friend Shoogy, a ...more
Erin
May 09, 2010 Erin rated it liked it
This was a short and sweet little book that touched on some deep, potentially troubling issues with a delicacy that was admirable. Johnson did a wonderful job of describing both Marley's peaceful moments and her days of inner turmoil during this summer that she finds out the truth about her own past, which her parents have been hiding from her until now. Johnson's supporting characters were richly developed, and the additional post-card correspondence with Uncle Jack was well-incorporated into t ...more
Kirsten
Aug 13, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
This was such a sensitive and delicate little novel that I checked several times to see if I was actually reading one of Jacqueline Woodson's best.

Fourteen-year-old Marley lives an almost idyllic existence in the little town of Heaven. Her parents love her, she gets along with her brother (mostly), and she's built a family of friends of all ages who watch out for her. Plus, there are the letters from Uncle Jack, who she's never met, but who writes her regularly and tells her about his life on th
...more
Joy
Sep 23, 2012 Joy rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Johnson at the TAIR conference in Denton, TX this weekend. She was gracious and entertaining, sharing stories of her own childhood in such a way that I knew I had to read her books as soon as possible. This story did not disappoint.

Marley, a young girl living in northeastern Ohio, discovers something about her life that shakes the roots of her identity. At the same time, she interacts with other people who have difficulties in their lives. The support stories a
...more
Sherrie
Sep 07, 2009 Sherrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-read
"Heaven" by Angela Johnson
(from the back cover)
At fourteen, Marley knows she has Momma's hands and Pops's love for ice cream, that her brother doesn't get on her nerves too much, and that Uncle Jack is a big mystery. Happy in her loving family in the caring community of Heaven, Ohio, Marley doesn't know all she thinks she does. And when the truth comes down with the rain one stormy summer afternoon, it changes everything. It turns Momma and Pops into lairs. It makes her brother a stranger and he
...more
Kimberly
Jun 01, 2013 Kimberly rated it did not like it
fourteen year old Marley grew up in Heaven, OH with her Momma, Pops, and little brother Butchy. Her life had always been secure with a loving mother and father and a brother whom she got along with. She would receive letters from her Uncle Jack often, but she had never met him. Her happy life is turned upside down when she finds out that Momma and Pops are not her real parents. Her mother, Christine, died in a car accident and her father, "Uncle Jack" could not handle taking care of Marley by hi ...more
Gracie
Oct 17, 2013 Gracie rated it it was amazing
Heaven
By: Angela Johnson
Report by: Gracie S.
Q1 #4

Overall main character: Marley

Supporting characters: Uncle Jack, Momma, Poppa, and Butchy
Butchy- Main Characters younger brother,

Protagonist: Marley

Antagonist: Uncle jack

Setting: Heaven, OH


Plot:

Marley the main character in the book “Heaven” has always had an easy life you could say. She has a securing, nice lovable family in Heaven, OH, where she lived with momma, Pops and her brother Butchy. Marley has an uncle Jack who she receives and writes
...more
Rachel
May 23, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
Marley has lived in Heaven, Ohio since she was two years old. She has Momma and Pops and her brother, and her friends Bobby and Shoogy, and her Uncle Jack who writes her letters from all over the country. But when she learns that Momma and Pops are actually her aunt and uncle, and the Uncle Jack that she has been writing to and receiving letters from for 10 years is actually her father, she has to take a look at her life and decide if this new information really changes things.

This was a happy,
...more
Shally Clark
May 25, 2010 Shally Clark rated it it was ok
Copyright: 1998
Number of pages: 138

Summary:
Marley lives an ordinary life in Heaven, OH with two parents who love her, a little brother she gets along with best friends she spends a lot of time with and other neighbors and family that she loves. She also has an uncle Jack who she has not seen since right after her birth. She feels likes everything in her life is great until she finds out news that flips her world upside down. This book is about how Marley, has to find stability in the midst of co
...more
Heather
Jan 20, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: 11-20
This is a sweet little story about a 14-year-old girl named Marley. She lives with her mom and dad and her brother in a town called Heaven and writes letters to her Uncle Jack all the time. Then she finds out a big secret that she is not sure how to cope with and it really changes her perspective on her family and her whole life.
I thought this was a really cute story and a quick read. Marley is sweet and easy to fall in love with. It was interesting to see how parental decisions effect their chi
...more
Shawnta
Feb 08, 2016 Shawnta rated it it was amazing
This book is about a family who is trying to find a good place to live in like heaven. This book is written in 1st class person. It have a couple of lesson learned. I prefer you to read it to know more information.
Ali
Jun 11, 2010 Ali rated it it was ok
When Marley's mother was younger, long before Marley was born, she found a postcard marked Heaven, OH. She knew she would live there. And that's exactly where Marley has been raised. She's lived in Heaven her entire life. And it's great. She has friends and family that are great to her. She has everything she's ever wanted. But then she must move to Alabama and have her life turned upside down...

I gave this book 2 stars because it was really just O.K. I didn't really like the characters.It was
...more
Andrea
May 25, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it
I have used The First Part Last, another novel by Johnson, as a class read in the past. The students loved it so much that I only have a few copies remaining in the classroom. I think this novel would be a little more difficult for my students to connect with. The setting is a little distant for them. However, I do like that Johnson brings in the main character from her other novel; Bobby. Also, the main conflict is one my students would find interesting. I only worry about the motivation at the ...more
Julie Bennett
Jul 19, 2010 Julie Bennett rated it it was ok
"Heaven" is about Marley, a fourteen year old girl living in small town, who finds out a terrible secret. She discovers that she is adopted by her aunt and uncle who she thought were her real parents, and that her real mom is dead and her dad couldn't keep her. This book is mostly about how Marley deals with this surprising news. I thought this book was well written and a sweet story with a good moral, but it wasn't very interesting. It's a cute book though! Just not my cup of tea (and we're not ...more
Beverly
Jan 20, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read the second book in the series, "The First Part Last" for one of my book groups last month, I decided to read the other 2 books in the trilogy. Heaven is the 1st of the 3. It will be interesting to read the last book because the only connection between the first two is that one of the characters in the second book says that he is moving to Heaven, a small town in Ohio which is the setting for the first book. I thought that this was a sweet and moving story about a young girl nam ...more
Chrissy Emmons
Apr 21, 2015 Chrissy Emmons rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing and one that I would read again. The mystery between her "Uncle's" letters and her were captivating. I loved that the author detailed her struggle when she found out about the family secret. I think that his would be a wonderful book to read in the middle childhood classroom. I think that it would be a great option for cloze writing. This book allows you to think abstract about the characters emotions, thoughts, and actions. I think that this would good book for students to ...more
Bobby Crew
Jul 22, 2010 Bobby Crew rated it really liked it
This book is about 14-year-old Marley, who lives in a small town called Heaven She has loving friends, and a loving family, and an uncle Jack who writes her all the time, even though she hasn't seen him since she was a baby. Soon she finds out that her family has been lying to her, and that her mother and father aren't her real parents, but Jack is actually her father.

I really liked this book, it was a quick easy read, and kind of a feel good book. I really loved all of the characters.
Mariah Mathews
Dec 09, 2014 Mariah Mathews rated it really liked it
This book is about Marley, a 14 year old girl from Heaven, Ohio. One day she receives a letter from Alabama that turns her world upside and changes her definition of family. This story is told through flashbacks. Heaven shows how Marley realizes that it doesn't matter what her family structure but that the love that they share with one another is real and true. The main theme of the book is family. After reading this book teachers could have students write a letter similar to Jack's. The student ...more
santina
Feb 20, 2010 santina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult
Heaven is the story of a young girl who learns a secret about her past that shakes the foundations of her identity. I picked this up the day after I read The First Part Last because I tore through that book so quickly and I needed another dose of Johnson's writing. The main character of that book makes a few appearances in Heaven and helps the main character navigate her new place in her world. I finished this the same day I purchased it.
Kelli Stephenson
Jan 31, 2010 Kelli Stephenson rated it it was ok
This book was highly discussed and praised in my recent children's literature class, so I gave it a try. I would almost give it 3 stars because it was short, if it had been longer it would have gotten really boring. If your middle schooler ever forgets to do a book report, this is like a 2-3 hour read (it does say "hell" 3-4 times). It was interesting, but nothing really captivating or jaw dropping.
Gabby Morgan
Dec 17, 2014 Gabby Morgan rated it really liked it
This book was a good read. I enjoyed it and it went by quickly. It was interesting to think about what I would do if who I thought I was, was not who I was at all. I thought about what it would be like to have my world turned upside down with just one letter.

I chose this book because I needed to read a book by Angela Johnson, and this one was short and seemed like an interesting read. I was correct. I enjoyed reading about Marley and everything that she went through. I enjoyed how it was writte
...more
Linda Lipko
Feb 23, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
When 12 year old Marley discovers that she is adopted, her perception of who she is and the parents who raised her is turned upside down.

Learning that her uncle is her biological father, she struggles to define truth.

This book is well written and the characters are all very likeable. I didn't feel the issues were depicted as in depth as they should/could have been.
Jenny
Jan 22, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, realistic
Marley is happy with her seemingly perfect life in Heaven, OH. She has good friends and a loving family. Until the letter arrives. Now it seems that her parents aren't really her parents, her brother is her cousin, and her real father is Uncle Jack, a man she can't remember who only sends her letters. Now Marley must figure out how she fits into this new family.
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Other Books in the Series

Heaven (3 books)
  • The First Part Last (Heaven, #2)
  • Sweet, Hereafter (Heaven, #3)

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“The two people I like most—outside my family—have secrets that I don’t ask about. Momma says it’s a flaw. She says I should be more interested; that people like to be asked about themselves. I should find out what made them who they are. I look at Shoogy and Bobby and think it doesn’t matter ’cause the past doesn’t always make sense of the present.” 1 likes
“Me and Butchy sit in front of the TV and watch another church fall down in flames. Flames that I can feel sitting a thousand miles away. Flames that I will feel long after the TV is turned off. Flames and the looks on the faces of people watching their churches burn down—burning hot into the night, burning dark when the morning comes up.” 1 likes
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