Kirsten's Reviews > Heaven

Heaven by Angela Johnson
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Aug 13, 08

bookshelves: work-related, from-library, fiction, children-or-ya
Read in August, 2008

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 the road and his dog named Boy. When Marley learns that everything about her family isn't the way it seems, it forces her to re-examine life and her place in it.

This is a novel that, despite its brevity, does not go for easy answers or one-dimensional characters. Everyone has a depth to them. Marley's voice feels authentic; while she is clearly intelligent and sensitive, she is also fourteen and confused, and it comes through beautifully. I loved this book.
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