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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    Love story to end all love stories

    HEAVENLY, by Jennifer Laurens, is a story about addiction and a love that can conquer it. Laurens created a family that was held together by a very thin thread. Zoe's sister, Abria, was autistic and a constant threat to herself, her brother, Luke, was a druggie, and Zoe battled her inner demons with heavy partying. All of these elements weighed down on this family, but Zoe's discovery of Matthias, Abria's guardian, changed their lives.

    This story was a brutally honest portrayal of a family in shambles. I really appreciated the straight-forwardness of the more unhealthy situations that Zoe and Luke got themselves into. And I liked how Laurens did not sugar-coat the way that Zoe felt about Abria and her condition. This book was so real that it brought strong emotions out of me while reading. I felt sadness and hate while Zoe partied and put herself in harm's way. And the next moment I felt exhilarated by the connection between Zoe and Matthias. I enjoyed the way that Laurens captivated me throughout the book.

    I think the overall theme this book encompassed was addiction. Zoe started off with an addiction to boys and alcohol, but eventually became addicted to Matthias. The very thought of him made her euphoric and she wanted to be a better person for him. At her turning point, she had to deal with her parents addiction to Abria and neglect of everything else. She also had to cope with Luke's addiction to drugs and her best friend's addiction to her boyfriend, or boys in general. This change in Zoe created better situations for the family and opened her eyes to a new world around her.

    The relationship between Zoe and Matthias was an epic love story. Matthias' revealing himself to Zoe started a chain of events that changed Zoe for the good, but at what cost? I will not ruin the ending but I was completely caught off guard, in a good way. There were some questions left unanswered that I hope to see answered in the sequel, Penitence

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

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    Great book

    I highly recommend this book

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

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    Loved it.

    Very great read.. actually made me tear up at the end! ha reading the second book right now.. stoked!

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

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    Touching and Moving

    Zoe is falling. She lives the life of a walking corpse. On the outside, she looks just like any normal teenager, but on the inside, she feels empty. Abandoned. Her sister Abria is an Autistic child who has speaking disorders and the attention level of 5 seconds. Her brother Luke is drowning himself in drugs. To run away from the harsh realities, she parties and searches for casual relationships.

    But everything changes when she meets the mysterious Matthias, who, according to himself, is a guardian sent to look after Abria. She feels happy, joyful and loved for the first time since Abria's Autism diagnosis. However, she seems to be the only person who can see Matthias. It does not take too long for her to realize that she is in love with him. Or is it?

    I did not know what to expect before started reading Heavenly. But it turned out to be quite good as I could totally relate to Zoe's mental condition, behaviour and thoughts. I did not see her as an undignified teen, but rather a poor girl who was suffering from stress and hungered for the attention and care of her parents. After observing the difficulties faced by the family to take care of little Abria in turns, even though I knew deep down that what Zoe and Luke did was wrong, I couldn't help sympathizing them. It's not entirely their fault to crumble when they had to shoulder such huge responsibilities. But still, according to the social norms of the society, they were not entirely blameless either.

    The presence of Matthias really lighted up the whole story. Zoe's tainted soul now yearned for forgiveness and goodness. She started to change, little by little, towards the better. And little Abria seemed to be still and quiet like a normal little girl when Matthias is present. Zoe started to learn about love, compassion and forgiveness. She saw through Luke's current self, only to discover the lost, helpless little boy within. It was a great experience to read about a family that holds on to each other in many ways, in which love reigns over all other things.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

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    Definite read for fans of angel reads!

    It took me a few pages to actually get into Heavenly, but once I was snagged - I was there for the rest of the book. Heavenly was a great read with real-life issues packed into the story to make it relatable to anyone that may pick up this book.

    I think the best part for me was the characters. They were flawed and sometimes made the worst decisions ever, but their actions and solutions were all very realistic. I loved Zoe and could definitely relate to her. I don't know if I agreed with every decision she made, but I know why she made the decisions that she did. I wasn't too fond of her overall obsessive thoughts of Matthias that constantly flooded the pages. HOWEVER, she is a teenager and teens typically are very dramatic over their first loves. I've been through it, so I know. Plus, her keeping Matthias on her mind at all times helped her make better life choices, and that's something to be grateful for. Matthias . oh, how I love thee! It's nice to see an angel that can love, yet not completely abandon his duties and responsibilities for that love. As far as Britt and the guys, I think we've all known people like that in our lives before. I think I was the most empathetic toward Luke and his addiction. Actually, I feel for their whole family - dealing with a disability is never really an easy thing, but I think at the end there was a good compromise and hopefully the family has completely pulled together.

    Speaking of the end: It's so bittersweet! I don't want to give anything away, but the entire last couple of chapters was nothing but an endless roller coaster ride of emotions for me. It's not a bad thing, and there's always the sweet happily ever after ending that's not completely happy - but it's the best ending for this book, I think.

    I think the beginning was a little slow, but once it picked up the pace it stayed constant. Heavenly was a pretty easy read and had a wonderful premise. It's definitely on my list of great reads.

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  • Posted October 23, 2010

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    Good, solid angel YA

    Zoe's baby sister Abria has a severe type of autism which keeps her whole family tied up in emotional knots as they try to deal with her many behavioral challenges. Zoe is into partying and guy-hunting as a means of escape from her home life, and her younger brother's small drug problem is gradually becoming a big drug problem. The whole family is sinking further into hopelessness and depression, but fortunately for Zoe, a divine intervention in the form of guardian angel Matthias comes along to protect Abria and provide surprising comfort for Zoe.

    The sub-genre of angel YA is getting to be a big movement lately, and Heavenly is one of the better examples I've read. Matthias is a straightforward non-conflicted, no-gray-areas angel, but it's easy to warm to him as a character because of how much love he shows for little 5-year-old Abria, who he rescues and calms time and time again. Abria is his assignment, but he genuinely values her and sees the purity of her soul when outside observers just see her tantrums, screams, and spastic movements. He's also very kind to Zoe, who can be a bit hard to deal with at times. Matthias falls into the perfect-type hero category, but that's not a bad thing--he's not creepy or controlling in the slightest, and his scenes are always sweet and comforting to read.

    As for Zoe, I love how much she cares for her little sister and I also love how she doesn't hide how painful and impossible it is to live with a child with such a severe disability. I admire how much she worries about her brother's pot habit, looks out for her best friend's welfare, and still loves her parents although they've become distant. But sometimes Zoe's actions feel a little hypocritical. A while after she's met Matthias, Zoe know he's out of her range, and so she goes to a party to find an easy guy and forget her troubles. Then once she's found her target for the evening, she starts to get disgusted with him, asking herself if she's just another body to him, when he's absolutely just another body to her. The reason she's rejecting him is actually because no one can compare to Matthias' goodness and awesomeness, but it doesn't seem fair that she's upset at a random hormonal boy because he's doing the exact same thing she is. Still, she's gradually learning to recognize the things in life that have true value, and she struggles to become a better person: she's a heroine who learns from her mistakes, and Heavenly has two sequels, so she has plenty of time to mature even further.

    Some final likes: I like that although Zoe feels major attraction, she doesn't immediately jump ahead and say that she's in love with Matthias. It's not insta-love, and it's based on a pretty thorough knowledge of each other, so their connection feels real. Also, early on, Matthias can't touch Zoe and it was intriguing to see a love story work out within those parameters, and the romantic conclusion was very satisfying.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

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    Review: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

    What Zoe discovers changes her world in ways she never though possible. Matthias is a guardian angel, and he isn't the only one. Guardian angels walk the earth, unseen to those that aren't open to seeing, and protect their chosen. And in her messed up life, she finds herself develop an unspoken attraction to her sister's angel, Matthias.

    The romance in this book is refreshing. I loved reading the scenes in which Zoe and Matthias were interacting. The connection always seemed to be there.

    Another thing I loved a lot in this book are the characters. No one seems to be one-sided. Zoe may seem like she has everything under control, but turns to alcohol when feeling like she has to get away. And Luke, her brother, is caught up in drugs. I have to say that I liked the characters a lot. They were unique and detailed. The situation with Abria is also a great addition to the novel. I don't think I've ever read a book where the main character's little sister has autism.

    The only problem I found with the novel was the lack of shock or reaction. Like when Zoe discovered what Matthias really is, she doesn't have much of a reaction. So the believability there was lacking just a little. Other than that, everything else was enjoyable.

    HEAVENLY is satisfying in a way that only exists in the presence of a guardian angel. I can't wait to read more of the sequel, PENITENCE, especially after reading the ending to HEAVENLY. Readers wont be disappointed with this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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