My rating: 3 out of 5
There were a lot of neat elements in this book. I enjoyed Adornetto's presentation of angel lore and her exploration of angels on Earth. However, I wasn't too terribly impressed with the main character, Bethany. Bethany is sent to Earth with her two archangel siblings to help the people of Venus Cove during a turbulent time. They decide that the best way to proceed is to try to blend in as much as possible, which for Bethany, means attending the local school. Before she even makes it to school on the first day Bethany meets a handsome teenage boy, Xavier, and the two become attracted to each other immediately. As time goes on (a short amount of time, I should say) Bethany and Xavier become an item very quickly.
"Romeo and Juliet" explores an all-consuming relationship between two people, so does Halo, but this isn't what I take issue with. What I take issue with is Adornetto's plot line. I think the book would have been much more interesting if Xavier would have been the one Bethany ended up having to help and look out for, instead of just being a love interest. If Adornetto still wanted the two to be romantically drawn together, then Bethany would have to struggle with her duties in protecting Xavier and then being attracted to him. If that had been the case then Bethany and Xavier would have been far more interesting characters.
Essentially - I disliked that Bethany and her siblings spent more time trying to blend in than they did helping people. They help others some of the time, and Bethany even saves a girl's life, but it didn't feel like a 'major event' in the book. The narrative would have been much stronger if the three angels would have arrived on Earth in a small house with minimal furnishings than in a posh one with all the bells and whistles, minus a TV. I would have liked to see have seen more of their struggles with fitting in. This would have allowed them more room to develop as characters, instead they were stifled.
As for Halo as a young adult book, I didn't appreciate the speed in which Bethany and Xavier became an item. It was very quick and very forced - a message that we don't need to be sending to today's teens who are already being bombarded with these kinds of messages. However, the rapid pace at which Bethany and Xavier's relationship develops could be a beneficial topic to discuss in the classroom because it develops so quickly. In other words I'm not discounting the novel completely.
Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces. Is love a great enough power against evil? (Book cover)
Key phrases/concepts:angels & spirituality, love & romance, fantasy, high school education, Christianity
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