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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 12 up.
Freya Harrison finally seems headed toward normal teenage life after years of intensive psychotherapy that began around age 8--soon after she saw the angel Hestron in her bedroom. Freya has even fallen in with popular girl Amy Carr's group of friends, despite her older brother Luke's objections. When the formerly home-educated Stephanie Rice arrives at school, she has obvious trouble fitting into the mold the other students have set for their peers. Freya subtly tries to give Stephanie some tips on fitting in; however, Stephanie is poorly socialized and unaccustomed to dealing with others. When she mistakes Amy's feigned interest in a piece of jewelry as genuine interest and launches into a long lecture about angels and their appearance in the beliefs of many faiths, Stephanie's social status as permanent outcast is sealed. Freya must make a difficult choice, which is further complicated by the re-emergence of angels in her life. She senses a somewhat kindred spirit in Stephanie's passionate study of all things angelic, but is worried about falling back into her mad obsession. Her concern is deepened by recent visions she's had of Hestron's brother Mestraal, a dark angel. When he manifests outside her bedroom and offers to answer her questions, events begin to spiral out of Freya's control, particularly after Hestron returns and tells Freya she has both human and angel parts, that she belongs to both (and yet neither) worlds, and that the number of angels is far outweighed by the number of humans who need them. At first, Freya finds playing angel to others fulfilling, but as she learns of the darker, more demanding side of helping others, she begins to doubther abilities. The book's spiritual themes should appeal to teenagers of many faiths, as should its handling of difficult issues like homelessness, peer pressure, and bullying. Reviewer: Jennifer Wood