Jersey Angel

Jersey Angel

3.2 15
by Beth Ann Bauman
     
 

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It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool

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Overview

It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn't want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself  spending more time with Inggy's boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.

Editorial Reviews

Jessica Wakeman
It's all too easy for adults who write for adolescent girls to caricature their subjects…But some young adult authors, most notably Judy Blume, respectfully develop nuanced teenage characters who are capable of doing more than furthering a story line. In Jersey Angel, an intimate coming-of-age story, Beth Ann Bauman's portrayal of Angel Cassonetti, a 17-year-old girl who controls and enjoys her sexuality, manages this feat. Though Angel is the prototypical pretty high schooler of young adult literature, Bauman…successfully humanizes her. In the process, she creates a delicate and very real story about the way a teenage girl grows up—and in certain ways, apart, from her mother.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Bauman (Rosie and Skate) returns to the Jersey shore for her second YA novel, an acutely intimate portrait of a girl’s efforts to better understand herself and her relationships. The summer before her senior year, Angel Cassonetti is enjoying her freedom. Her family owns three houses on the shore, two of which they rent out to the tourist “bennies” who swarm the area every summer. Angel spends her days hanging out with friends and her half-siblings and working at her father’s marina gas station. Nights, she bikes over to her ex Joey’s window, trying to get back with him after she’s rebuffed him one too many times. While her best friend Inggy goes on college tours, Angel, whose sexual self-confidence contrasts with her insecurity about her future, has a steamy fling with Inggy’s boyfriend, Cork. “It won’t count,” she tells him after they have sex for the first time, during a boating trip. “I want it to count,” he replies. One can almost smell salt and sunscreen in the air in this soulful and insightful coming-of-age story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2012:
“One can almost smell salt and sunscreen in the air in this soulful and insightful coming-of-age story.”

Review, The New York Times Book Review, May 13, 2012:
“Whatever the resolution to Angel’s story, it is clear that with Bauman— whether she’s Judy Blume’s successor or not—the genre is in good hands.”

VOYA - Paula Brehm Heeger
Beautiful seventeen-year-old Angel Cassonetti does not take much about her life seriously. Living with her twice-divorced, boyfriend-seeking mother and two younger half-siblings during the summer months and next door to them during the non-tourist season in another home her family owns, Angel has freedom and privacy to do what she wants. And doing what she wants is what Angel does. Her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Joey, has had enough of Angel's games and ends their relationship once and for all, but Angel does not go wanting for male attention. She promptly begins an affair with her long-time best friend's boyfriend, Cork. Because they can end things whenever they want to, Angel determines all of their sex and secrets "don't count." The reader can certainly see Angel's point as it is hard to tell exactly what is intended to "count" in this stream of consciousness-style book centered on a vapid, shallow high school senior. The meandering narrative might be more engaging if Angel were not a distinctly unlikeable individual. Her emotional inaccessibility permeates the story, making it hard to care with whom she has sex or if she is more upset about the results of the Miss Merry Christmas contest or the birth of a stillborn child by a friend. With some frank sexual discussions and references, this title may be of interest to older high school girls looking for an edgier coming-of-age read that does not require much thought or critical thinking. Reviewer: Paula Brehm Heeger
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Angel Cassonetti exists in the moment. Given a lot of freedom by her mother, the 17-year-old lives by herself in one of her family's Jersey Shore rental properties during the off-season, but she drinks and hooks up even when she's living with her family during the summer. She's never really paid attention in school or worried much about the future, unlike her friend Inggy, who's college-bound. But the summer before her senior year, when Inggy leaves for college visits and Angel's longtime, on-again-off-again boyfriend, Joey, says it's off for good, she finds herself wondering what comes next—and getting much too close to Inggy's boyfriend, Cork. While seemingly aimed at fans of raunchy reality television, this novel is Jersey Shore with heart. Bauman sometimes trips with awkward, scattered dialogue, and most of her secondary characters are stereotypes (the flighty mother, the perfect best friend, the sensitive ex-boyfriend), but Angel herself grows from flat to nuanced. Readers looking for a role model won't find it in her, but as she sees the effects of her freewheeling lifestyle (she's embarrassed by her failed attempt to take the SATs, hurt by classmates imagining her in a dead-end job after high school, and horrified after she discovers her mother kissing Cork), she promises herself that, "when I'm Mom's age, I'm going to know when to stop being a girl," and then realizes that her maturation must start now. Through it all, Angel remains her own person, independent, unashamed of enjoying sex, and determined to find her own way.—Gretchen Kolderup, New Canaan Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Six months in the life of a proudly sex-positive 17-year-old from the Jersey Shore (but definitely not Jersey Shore). Angel Cassonetti's life is based on two things: her exquisite awareness of and facility at wielding her sex appeal, and her close, almost sisterly friendship with Inggy Olofsson. Pale and blond, studious and monogamous with her longtime boyfriend Cork, Inggy stands in sharp contrast to the easily tanned, curly brunette, scholastically blasé and sexually precocious Angel. When Angel's longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend Joey tells her he's done playing games--"I don't want to sleep around. I want to sleep with my girlfriend"--she finds herself drifting through the summer before senior year. She begins a potentially explosive secret fling that she can't quite find a way out of, though she tells herself "I can stop it anytime. And I will. It's not cool. It just isn't." School begins anew, and Angel is forced to confront her future. How long will this secret relationship continue? What comes after graduation, if her carefree approach to school has made college a no-go for now? Aided by a strong evocation of the tourist-driven rhythms of life on the Central Jersey Shore and a satisfyingly complicated, modern protagonist, this quick read will please readers looking for both nuance and heat in their beach books. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385908283
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
05/08/2012
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Jersey Angel


By Beth Ann Bauman

Wendy Lamb Books

Copyright © 2012 Beth Ann Bauman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385908283

chapter 1

A whiff of seaweed blows in the window from across the bay, and the bed fills with sunlight. I reach for my sunglasses and have myself a long stretch. Maybe tonight will be a good time to see Joey, patch things up, and put a sweet ending on the day.

The screen door squeaks, feet dash up the stairs, and the kids charge into my room—­Mossy with a meatball on a fork and Mimi sloshing Coke from a glass loaded with cubes, just the way I like it.

“Happy birthday!” Mimi shouts, plunking the wet glass on the dresser and jumping into bed with me.

Mossy hands me the fork. “I couldn’t decide. Heated up or not.”

“Cold is de-­lish,” I say, sitting up and taking a nibble. What service.

“Gimme.” Mimi reaches for my sunglasses. She slips them on, curls on my pillow, and stares up at me. “Oh, I wish I was seventeen.”

“You’ll get there,” I tell her. Mimi’s short for Mimosa. She’s ten. Mossy’s eight. Mom was married to Tofu Bart when she had them, which should explain the names, and by the way, that’s Mimosa as in the flowering tree, not the champagne cocktail.

Mossy hands me a leftover valentine with hearts and Be Mine in big loopy letters. On the back he’s written Angel, treat yourself to something special and taped three dollar bills.

“Oh, my little man,” I say, throwing an arm around him. He smiles shyly, dropping his eyes.

“I didn’t make a card,” Mimi says. “And I’m broke, but I have a cheer.” She gets my shakers from the closet and stands at the foot of the bed in a purple bikini with a dirty white boa looped around her neck. She stamps her foot and waves the shakers.

“Angel is pretty!

Angel is great!

Angel is my sister

And she goes on dates!

Angel has a birthday

And we’ll have a cake—­chocolate!

Angel has boobs

And they’re not fake.”

She crashes to the floor in a split.

“Oh brother,” Mossy says.

“Who has fake ones?” I say, chewing.

“Nefertiti’s mom. She just got them. They’re bazoombas.” Mimi crawls back in bed. “So, you like it? On a scale from one to ten?”

“Loved it. Nine.”

She stretches out on the bed and sighs. “If I was seventeen then I could do anything I want. Date boys and be mean to them when I feel like it and nice to them when I feel like it . . .”

“Why do you want to be mean to them?” I say.

She tilts her head. “Because!”

“I’m not mean to guys,” I tell her. I take a sip of cold, fizzy Coke. Bliss.

“But you break up with Joey Sardone.”

Mossy leans over and takes a bite of my meatball.

“Not because I’m mean. Because we need a little break now and then to spice things up.”

She closes her eyes dramatically, and her cheeks grow rosy. “Oh, I want to spice things up!”

“Angel,” Mom yells.

I lift the screen and hang out the window. She’s standing in front of the house in a lime bikini top and jean shorts, holding a bucket and mop. She has a bandana tied around her hair.

“Happy birthday, kiddo.” She shades her eyes. “How is it you’re seventeen? That practically makes me an old goat.”

“Hardly, Ma,” I say.

She shrugs. “Gravity’s getting the best of me.” Here we go. The truth is, with her long, dark hair, dark eyes, and upturned mouth, she looks kind of like a forty-­year-­old Kim Kardashian. We all look like Mom, especially Mimi. “Okay, cake later. Now we work.”

“I hate to clean!” Mimi yells, squeezing in next to me at the window.

“Me too!” Mossy whines.

“You think I like it?” Mom says. “We’ll do it fast. Let’s go. Mossy, where are my rubber gloves? Were you using them again for one of your experiments? Go find them.”

He rolls off the bed and trudges downstairs.

We own three houses on the Jersey shore. Every summer we rent out two to some of the tourists who descend on our little barrier island like a stampede, which means we pile together under one roof. During the off-­seasons, at least, we get to spread out and breathe. Mossy and Mimi live with Mom in the House, and I get my own place.

But now it’s time to clear out. I grab a Walgreens bag and start unloading my drawers—­bikinis, panties, bras, tanks, shorts, jeans. I throw it all in. I wad up my sheets and blanket and shove them in too.

Yup, we have three houses. My grandfather, Pop, bought the House years ago; then he won the Next-­Door House in a poker game, or so the story goes, and old Mr. Zimmerman, who was a little in love with Mom, or a lot, apparently, left her the Corner House—­my house. So three in a row, overlooking the bay. The moolah we make by renting has to last the rest of the year because Mom isn’t cut out for nine-to-five, or so she says.

“Here. Help.” I throw Mimi my duffel bag. “Take the closet.”

She steps into my spiky sandals and admires herself. “Fierce.”

I empty the medicine cabinet into a shopping bag—­undereye concealer, eight tubes of lip gloss, hair gel, Tylenol, a couple of condom packets, and my birth control pills. In the bag it goes. I squeeze out toothpaste and brush my teeth as I chuck in shampoo, soap, three kinds of conditioner, a loofah, and a razor.

Mimi puts a sundress on over her bikini and swirls in front of the mirror. “Oh, I wish I was you . . . but still me.”

“So basically you?” I spit in the sink and toss the toothbrush and paste into the bag.

“Basically.” She teeters over in the sandals and looks up at me, her eyes all dark pupils. “Is it exciting to be you?”

I swish out my mouth with a handful of water. “What a question, Meems. Is it exciting to be you?”

“No,” she whines. “I don’t wear mascara. Or have a best friend like Inggy Olofsson. I basically hang out with Nefertiti. We just eat Popsicles and watch TV. I’m too pretty to be so boring.” She lets out a tiny sigh and collapses to the closet floor.

“You’re such a snot-­nose,” I tell her.

She tips her face up to me. “I can’t help it.”

“Sure you can. Hang in there.” I lean over her and start dropping clothes off the hangers, some of them raining down on her head. “One day boys will come a-­knocking and everything else too. And then there’ll be no look- ing back.”

“How exciting,” she whispers.

Have I been excited in a while? Maybe not. Maybe I’m due.

Continues...

Excerpted from Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman Copyright © 2012 by Beth Ann Bauman. Excerpted by permission of Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2012:
“One can almost smell salt and sunscreen in the air in this soulful and insightful coming-of-age story.”

Review, The New York Times Book Review, May 13, 2012:
“Whatever the resolution to Angel’s story, it is clear that with Bauman— whether she’s Judy Blume’s successor or not—the genre is in good hands.”

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