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Angel on the Square (Angel on the Square, #1)
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Angel on the Square (St. Petersburg #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  1,982 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
In the fall of 1914, safe behind palace walls, Katya Ivanova sees St. Petersburg as a magical place.The daughter of a lady-in-waiting to the Empress, Katya spends all her time with the Grand Duchesses; the royal family feels like her own. But outside the palace, a terrible war is sweeping through Europe, and Russia is beginning to crumble under the weight of a growing revo ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by HarperCollins (first published August 21st 2001)
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Apr 11, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2015 Ina rated it it was amazing
Angel on the Square is one of my absolute favorite books. It's an easy read, seemingly not much depth, and not really a tearjerker or focused on hot guys or the destruction of the world...but rather it's a middle grade book set in one of my favorite time periods, the Russian Revolution and the events leading up to it.

Katya is the typical poor little rich girl, and you know, even if it's just a book for the younger ages, her character development doesn't feel like moral judgment at all. It isn'
Georgia Herod
May 29, 2009 Georgia Herod rated it it was amazing
This is the first Whelan book I read--and I loved it. I enjoy young adult fiction. In this book and all others I've read--she creates strong female protagonists who overcome great adversity. They are dynamic, growing from beginning to end. Another feature of Whelan's writing is authenticity regarding setting, time frame, history, and culture. One aspect of the last which I very much enjoy is her use of words in the language of the land (for example, in this, as well as the successive books about ...more
Jan 31, 2010 Devon rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This book was something different, kind of a treat for me, because it’s about World War I – not my comfort zone – but also about Russia, which is something I’ve been interested in lately.

It’s meant for children, as per usual, but the shallowness of this book was not a problem for me, really. I felt like the length was suitable for the story. I would’ve liked a little more of a follow up – checking in on Misha, especially, because he was so important to Katya, and, thus, to you as the reader. Bu
Linda Lipko
Feb 27, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Continuing my journey to study Russian history, I found this book on one of my shelves and spent a pleasant rainy day reading this well written historical novel.

Combining fact with fiction, Angel on the Square is wonderful for many reasons, primarily because it does just what historical fiction should do, ie it opens the door to a glimpse of history and wets the appetite to search for more knowledge about the subject.

Twelve year old Katya Ivanova lived a life of splendor behind guilded palace wa
Jan 18, 2011 Richelle rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I really liked Homeless Bird, another book by the same author. This is a junior historical fiction book set in Russia during the time of the revolution. The main character, Katya, is born into an aristocratic family and is fiercely loyal to the Romanov family. Her opinion of them begins to be torn as she has opportunities to see how the majority of the Russian citizens live. Even though I know the main historical events of this period, the fictional characters' live ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wealthy, twelve-year-old Katya Ivanova and her mother have always lived a luxurious life in their mansion in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. They spend their summers on their country estate, The Oaks, and Katya's mother is a close friend of Empress Alexandra. When the Empress invites Katya's mother to come live in the palace as a lady-in-waiting and to bring Katya along to be a companion to her youngest daughter, Anastasia, Katya is thrilled. She and Anastasia, or Stana as she is called, bec ...more
Margaret Alyse
Jun 19, 2011 Margaret Alyse rated it really liked it
"Angel on the Square" is an incredibely good book. It takes place in 1913-1918, and Katya Ivanovna is a 13 year old girl who is the daughter of an aristocrat. Her life changes when her mother is accepted as a Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress of Russia, Tsarina Alexandra. Katya and her mother move into the palace with the Imperial Family, which consists of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria, Grand Duchess Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alex ...more
Dec 29, 2015 Nora rated it really liked it
I read this for a project for school. Simple but sweet, Angel on the Square allowed us to explore a kind of time period I feel like isn't appreciated enough. Everyone talks about the Holocaust, the American Revolution (though I do agree both of those time periods are interesting), etc., but not many may know about the Russian Revolution in this time. My one problem with the book was I felt like most of the book was just Katya and the Tsar's family hiding and hiding and hiding...BUT it doesn't me ...more
Ava C
May 27, 2016 Ava C rated it really liked it
It's the fall of 1914 and Katya Ivanova, the daughter of a Russian duchess, lives a comfortable life in St. Petersburg. Little does she know how much her life will change over the next 6 years: She and her mother will be chosen to wait in the Tsaress's court, she will become good friends with the grand duchess Anastasia, World War 1 will break out, and her cousin will be sent to fight. Politics are going to become more and more controversial in Russia, riot are going to break out, and there wil ...more
Jun 27, 2014 Erika rated it it was amazing
Written for a 5th grade level, it is enjoyable for adults as well. Gloria Whelan has beautiful control of language. I got my paperback copy at a garage sale, so I could (with a clear conscience) underline and star turns of phrase that I wanted to go back to and savor again. Her words are artistry, and although she uses conspicuous metaphors and sometimes uses cliched idioms, somehow the language is not contrived; it is new and alive. Angel on the Square is about Katya, the daughter of a countess ...more
Ciarra fields
Feb 23, 2009 Ciarra fields is currently reading it
I'm not really far into my book yet i think it is a pretty good book so far. Well my book is about emporers and rulers of kingdoms and i dont really thgink it goes into a lot of detail about some of the characters but other than that itg is an aweesome book. I would oly suggest it to people who dont like detail because it doesnt have much in it. Also, if you like kingdoms/palaces and snobby annoying people to go along with it than this is the perfect book for you.
Richard (Rick)
Dec 28, 2010 Richard (Rick) rated it really liked it
Shelves: upper-elementary
My family really likes Whelan's other book, "Homeless Bird." This one wasn't as good as Homeless Bird, but was still enjoyable. It's about an aristocrat girl and friend of the royal family whose life changes during the Russian overthrow of the royal family. My 8-year-old daughter loved it. It's appropriate for all ages, although maybe a little unsettling or sad for sensitive young readers.
Apr 02, 2016 Erin rated it really liked it
This is the second time I have read Angel on the Square. I first read it when I was 10 or 11, but now that I am 25 all I could remember about the book was that I liked it and it had something to do with Russia. Now that I have finished the book for a second time, I realize my memory, while vague, was accurate. I still enjoy the book and it does take place in Russia-1914 Russia, to be exact.

That main character Katya is the daughter to a lady in waiting of the Empress. They are part of the minor R
Margaret Fisher
This was recommended by someone who also read and was disappointed by a YA novel about the Russian Revolution, and I enjoyed "Angel on the Square" much, much more. I remember reading "Homeless Bird" when I was about twelve and I remember loving it, so I was looking forward to seeing Whelan's take on Imperial Russia.

The setting was gorgeous. Whelan has a great talent of dropping you easily into a location and using the perfect descriptions to make you feel totally enveloped in the setting. She ch
Nov 04, 2015 Cookav rated it really liked it
It's the fall of 1914 and Katya Ivanova, the daughter of a Russian duchess, lives a comfortable life in St. Petersburg. Little does she know how much her life will change over the next 6 years: She and her mother will be chosen to wait in the Tsaress's court, she will become good friends with the grand duchess Anastasia, World War 1 will break out, and her cousin will be sent to fight. Politics are going to become more and more controversial in Russia, riot are going to break out, and there will ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This is a well-written historical fiction novel for children that is a pleasure to read for adults as well. As a lover of Russian history, I was so pleased to come across these books for my children so I could interest them in this country too. The material is handled well. This book covers the beginning of World War I, the end of the Tsar's reign, and ends in the summer after the Bolshevik Revolution. Though it does not give the raw horror of this time period for many Russians, it does give the ...more
Ann Woodbury Moore
Jan 30, 2016 Ann Woodbury Moore rated it really liked it
This is a surprisingly gentle, charming children's book, given its subject matter--the Russian Revolution and the downfall of the Tsar. Katya, daughter of a wealthy aristocrat, narrates events from 1913-1918. When her mother, a countess, becomes a lady-in-waiting to the Empress Alexandra, Katya's life intersects with the royal family. At the same time her older revolutionary friend, Misha, grounds her in reality. Katya personally experiences many of the nation's upheavals and is a changed person ...more
Nov 01, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: heart-of-dakota
I read this aloud to the kids for school. It was a very well written book that really drew our attention.

The author excels at knowing how to set the scene so that you are taken to another place. In this case, that place was Russia from 1913 to 1918 and it follows the story of a young girl from an aristocratic family that goes to stay with the royal Russian family shortly before the start of the revolution.

I felt that this book was superb for allowing you to see both sides of the story without
Nov 02, 2012 Magda rated it really liked it
I started with the second book in the series, but very much enjoyed this first book. I think any of the three I have read so far can be read as a stand-alone, but they are so good you naturally want to read all of them.
Sharon Honeycutt
Mar 17, 2016 Sharon Honeycutt rated it liked it
This story pulled me into early 20th century Russia fairly quickly. I had a hard time putting it down. There is much to learn here about Russia, the Romanovs, WW I, the Russian revolution, and the Bolshevik Revolution. I do find myself wondering about the accuracy of certain events. Not knowing Russian history very well, I am not confident in in the portrayal of these events. Since Whalen is not Russian herself, nor ever lived in Russia, I have tried to find information about Whalen's research i ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Cassondra rated it really liked it
This book was an interesting portrayal of the Russian Revolution through the eyes of an adolescent girl who is friends with the Grand Duchesses as her mother is the Empress's lady-in-waiting. While the story is clearly told for young people, with a bit of oversimplification, it does clearly portray the conflict that any revolutionary must have in going to war against his own country. It also introduces interesting historical details that even I learned from, history buff that I am. Overall, a pl ...more

Here's another book on the Russian Empire I surprisingly waited this long to read. And honestly? It was a mixed-bag, but luckily it had more good things going for it than bad.

First of all, let's start with the good stuff, since there actually are a lot.

The descriptions in the first half of this book are BEAUTIFUL. Being a childrens' book, they are simple, yet the saying' less is more' truly reigns supreme in this book. I could perfectly picture everything that was gong on-
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
Feb 18, 2012 Maggie Desmond-O'Brien rated it it was amazing
How do you describe the magnetism some books have when you're half-asleep at eleven p.m. looking for something to read? This book appeared on my bedside table one day, probably rescued from 10-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother's perpetual room cleaning, and somehow "I'll read a page or two" turned into the whole book. Go figure.

It's a book we were supposed to study in our homeschool group one summer, only I moved. Somehow I still ended up with a copy, and with my friends back at my old home
This is another effortlessly engaging piece of historical fiction by one of my favorite young adult authors. Whelan has such a talent for bringing together time, place, characters, and thought-provoking content in a way that is both richly informative and easy to read.

The main focus of this book is not so much the characters, but Russia itself during this pivotal time in its history. Through the eyes of Katya, it covers the many different sides of what led to the downfall of the imperial regime
Feb 14, 2012 Ashe rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow!

My teacher assigned this book to us and I confess, I would not have picked up this book if it hadn't been for him. We've all heard many times that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover but there's this part of me that just dies when I see a great book with a fantastic plot yet donned in such a bland cover.

This isn't the type of book that hooks you in from the beginning. The main character being an ignorant, slightly contemptuous child didn't help that either. But it IS one of thos
Naomi Kenorak
Apr 18, 2013 Naomi Kenorak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, russian
The series is so engaging that you hardly realize how much you are learning about Russian history in the process. The books are probably aimed at the middle-school and up read-alone crowd; however, I read this book aloud when my children were still in elementary school. The historical themes definitely warrant (and encourage) discussion and the real-life tragedy may be too intense for some kids.

The first book, Angel on the Square, follows a girl whose mother becomes a lady-in-waiting to the last
May 14, 2014 Samantha rated it it was amazing
The novel, Angel on The Square was a fantastic novel. Gloria Whealan did a wonderful job in painting a picture in the readers mind, what 1914 would look like in Russia. I would definitely recommend this book to all of my classmates, and I defiantly would like to read the rest of the series. The book was very informational and it was interesting that the narrator was not Anastasia unlike many other Russian revolution era novels.
Dec 06, 2015 Ashley rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this little bit of historical fiction. Written for YA readers it takes a multi-sided approach of viewing the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. I think this book would be a good way to introduce a young reader to further study on the era. Katya our main character shows an interesting evolution of thought, and is quite determined to survive. The book never gives the impression that her character is truly tested however. The writing is a bit simplistic, but you will pick up a few Russian wo ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Debbie rated it it was amazing
My son's lit class is reading this so I decided to read it too. A good book for middle school readers about the Russian Revolution, told from the perspective of a young girl who lived with the Tsar's family.

Made me want to read more about the subject as I had no idea the Tsar had a camera and was an avid photographer of his family. Wonder if any of the photos survived.
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Gloria Whelan is the best-selling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award; Friutlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect; Angel on the Square and its companion, The Impossible Journey; Once on this Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell to the Island; and Return to the Island. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods ...more
More about Gloria Whelan...

Other Books in the Series

St. Petersburg (4 books)
  • The Impossible Journey (Angel on the Square, #2)
  • Burying the Sun  (Angel on the Square, #3)
  • The Turning (Angel on the Square, #4)

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“It is hard to give up what you know for what you don’t know.” 17 likes
“I thought I understood what was best. I knew too little and believed too soon.” 7 likes
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