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Devine Intervention

Devine Intervention

4.6 10
by Martha Brockenbrough

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There is a great legend of the guardian angel who traveled across time and space for the human girl he loved, slaying those who would threaten her with a gleaming sword made of heavenly light. This is not that story. Jerome Hancock is Heidi Devine's guardian angel. Sort of. He's more of an angel trainee, in heaven's soul-rehabilitation program for wayward teens. And


There is a great legend of the guardian angel who traveled across time and space for the human girl he loved, slaying those who would threaten her with a gleaming sword made of heavenly light. This is not that story. Jerome Hancock is Heidi Devine's guardian angel. Sort of. He's more of an angel trainee, in heaven's soul-rehabilitation program for wayward teens. And he's just about to get kicked out for having too many absences and for violating too many of the Ten Commandments for the Dead. Heidi, meanwhile, is a high school junior who dreams of being an artist, but has been drafted onto her basketball team because she's taller than many a grown man. For as long as she can remember, she's heard a voice in her head - one that sings Lynyrd Skynyrd, offers up bad advice, and yet is company during those hours she feels most alone. When the unthinkable happens, these two lost souls must figure out where they went wrong and whether they can make things right before Heidi's time is up and her soul is lost forever. Martha Brockenbrough's debut novel is hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful, with a sense of humor that's wicked as hell, and writing that's just heavenly.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Brockenbrough devises a devilishly clever narrative, alternating Jerome's first-person account with Heidi's tightly focused third-person perspective…As the clock ticks down on Heidi's soul, readers will be rooting for both Jerome and Heidi with all their hearts.” -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Jerome's bumbling logic and wickedly funny observations are what make Brockenbrough's first book for teens so much fun. Underneath the occasionally risqué humor and unexpected plot twists (including the possession of multiple animals' bodies) is an insightful story about seizing life for all it's worth while you have the chance.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Brockenbrough's droll style delivers some laugh-out-loud moments. Reluctant readers will find the Heidi-Jerome dynamic entertaining and heartrending.” -- School Library Journal

“This is a love story. Not a romantic love story, but a story of the development of a deep caring relationship with another being. Humorous and sad at times, it brings us to ask ourselves what we think about heaven and how we get there. Believable and fast-paced, it keeps us reading to the end.” -- Library Media Connection

Publisher's Weekly
Heroes don\u2019t get much more unlikely than Jerome Hancock, who met an early demise courtesy of an arrow to the head. In the 16 years since, Jerome, frozen at age 17, has been laboring through afterlife rehab, trying to make it into heaven. He\u2019s not promising material, but he\u2019s game, sticking close to Heidi Devine, the soul he\u2019s been assigned for guardian angel duty. \u201cHow much work could a baby be?\u201d he says. \u201cAlso, her mom was hot, so I didn\u2019t mind hanging around one bit.\u201d Heidi grows up to be an awkward, selfconscious teen, who thinks motormouth Jerome is just the voice inside her head until she accidentally falls through pond ice and drowns, discovering that there is a soul that goes along with that voice. But is Heidi really dead? Jerome\u2019s bumbling logic and wickedly funny observations are what make Brockenbrough\u2019s first book for teens so much fun.
Underneath the occasionally risqu\u00e9 humor and unexpected plot twists (including the possession of multiple animals\u2019 bodies) is an insightful story about seizing life for all it\u2019s worth while you have the chance. Ages 12–up. - Jill Corcoran, the Herman Agency

Review: 'Devine Intervention' shows there's life in afterlifeMartha Brockenbrough's young adult debut is a snarky but sweet tale of teen angels in training.
By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
June 11, 2012
In Martha Brockenbrough's heaven, old people show too much leg playing leap frog, and the church choir covers classic rock. Clearly, Brockenbrough is not a follower of the New Testament.
That's good news for heathen readers who will delight in the author's absurdist take on the after life in her devilishly riotous young adult debut, \u0022Devine Intervention.\u0022 Steeped in the heavenly tropes of guardian angels and lost souls, \u0022Devine Intervention\u0022 is a satire in the vein of Libba Bray's \u0022Beauty Queens,\u0022 only with a decidedly sacrilegious twist.
It opens with a page from a handbook that is sent, upon death, to select members of SRPNT—the Soul Rehab Program for Nefarious Teens (Deceased) — in an effort to combat the \u0022growing problem of crowding in the lower levels of Hell.\u0022 One of those teens is a 17-year-old named Jerome, who had the misfortune of being punctured in the forehead by a friend's wayward arrow and finds himself at the pearly gates that are festooned with motivational posters and guarded by a man with \u0022a mustache the size of a harmonica.\u0022
Jerome reacts as any dead teen would when denied immediate entrance and given specific rules to follow to reclaim his soul. He misplaces the handbook and proceeds to violate its Ten Commandments for the Dead.
Among his soul rehab assignments was playing guardian angel to 16-year-old Heidi, but the one time he was really needed, Jerome was too busy yukking it up with a fellow SRPNT member to prevent Heidi from walking across a frozen pond and falling through the ice to her death. Now Heidi and Jerome are both in soul limbo.
The two are quite the odd couple. Heidi is a \u0022not hot ... cross-dressing lumberjack,\u0022 according to one of the book's uncharitable bit players. Jerome is a sexually frustrated virgin. But in death, their relationship is like an old marriage — more familiar than romantic, as well as conflicted, especially once Heidi realizes Jerome may have jeopardized her soul through sheer laziness.
They do have one thing in common that's likely to resonate with the book's intended audience. Neither Jerome nor Heidi felt loved by friends or family or were especially true to themselves when living. Death allows them to witness loved ones from another plane like a scene from Charles Dickens' \u0022A Christmas Carol.\u0022 Seeing others grieve their absence builds the self esteem of these troubled souls and brings some emotional heft to a story where comedy dominates.
\u0022Devine Intervention\u0022 is told in chapters that volley between a third-person perspective on Heidi and first-person narratives about Jerome. While both perspectives are written with searingly inventive humor, it's Jerome's voice that will have readers flipping pages as quickly as they can turn them to see what he'll have to say next.
Brockenbrough is a gifted writer who finds amusement in focusing on life's minutiae and who captures the slow-mo drama with which teens experience them, such as the time when Heidi's \u0022tongue felt like a lump of nasty cotton living in the armpit of a bum who has an apartment at the dump and not even the good kind of dump with busted car parts. The kind with fish heads ... and old transvestite wigs.\u0022
It is a pleasure to read a writer who so delights in language, and who writes so captivatingly in a teen voice with such imaginative description.
The story isn't without its flaws, however. The timeline of certain scenes is confusing, including the lead-up to the book's conclusion, which sees Heidi's fading soul morph in and out of a dog's body. But for readers who appreciate an apocryp

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
An introductory page in this novel is from The Guardian Angel's Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition, and advises the reader he/she has been selected for membership in SRPNT: The Soul Rehabilitation Program for Nefarious Teens (Deceased). This is followed by Chapter 1, Subsection ii: The Ten Commandments for the Dead. What could possibly follow in the ensuing pages? "Thou shalt not complain about being dead" is the First Commandment. The reader then takes a journey with 17-year-old Heidi Devine as she travels this road, and learns whether or not she can make things right. When her guardian angel, Jerome Hancock, is not able to save her from drowning in a frozen lake, he tries to save her soul. Jerome, however, has his own problems. The least of which is he had violated too many of the Ten Commandments for the Dead, and has too many absences from his assigned work. Can he help Heidi so her soul won't be lost forever? The teen and probationary angel make a terrific team in this endeavor. This debut novel has amusing and poignant moments as these less than perfect souls try to gain redemption. It is an excellent read about second chances. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Everything Jerome Hancock touches ends in disaster—even in the afterlife. His 17-year-old soul was a firebrand in life and, for the last 16 years, has been in Soul Rehab. Depending on his success in the program, he can either earn a spot in Heaven or descend into one of the nine levels of Hell, which range from Level I: Everlasting Standardized Testing for the Ungrateful to Level IX, where people are reborn as maggots. His future depends on how successful he is as Heidi Devine's guardian angel. Heidi has been hearing his voice in her head since she was a child and as a teen she thinks she's having "auditory hallucinations." Jerome is certain that he's going to Hell, especially after Heidi falls through thin ice and drowns while he is distracted by a devious angel. The plot thickens as the antihero helps Heidi make sense of her life and regrets and tries to discern why her soul hasn't moved on. Told from Heidi's and Jerome's alternating perspectives, the chapters are introduced by and/or interspersed with commandments and sections from Jerome's Guardian Angel Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition. Even if the story line is a bit tired and Jerome's immaturity excessive, Brockenbrough's droll style delivers some laugh-out-loud moments. Reluctant readers will find the Heidi-Jerome dynamic entertaining and heartrending.—Jamie-Lee Schombs, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
Jerome is no teen angel. A hell raiser when alive and killed by his cousin in eighth grade in an unfortunate archery accident, he has spent his afterlife in Soul Rehab assigned to Heidi in an attempt to win his way into Heaven. Not that he's very committed to the notion; he lost his "Guardian Angel's Handbook" pretty much right away, but he sort of tries. Heidi has more or less enjoyed Jerome's company, though he could sometimes be annoying. When Heidi, having experienced unendurable humiliation in a high-school talent show, ventures onto thin ice and falls through, Jerome does his best to save her soul--as much for her own sake, he's surprised to find, as for his. Brockenbrough devises a devilishly clever narrative, alternating Jerome's first-person account with Heidi's tightly focused third-person perspective. Tying both together are commandment-by-commandment excerpts (often footnoted) from Jerome's lost handbook, each stricture slyly informing the succeeding chapter. The rules governing Jerome's afterlife lead to frequently hysterical prose. He can't swear, of course, so he substitutes euphemisms: "… if I weren't so chickenchevy"; "It was a real mind-flask." Beneath the snark, though, runs a current of devastatingly honest writing that surprises with its occasional beauty and hits home with the keenness of its insight. As the clock ticks down on Heidi's soul, readers will be rooting for both Jerome and Heidi with all their hearts. (Paranormal adventure. 12 & up)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
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Scholastic, Inc.
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File size:
942 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Martha Brockenbrough is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers, including The Game of Love and Death, which earned four starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist, Devine Intervention, and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at marthabrockenbrough.com.

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Devine Intervention 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
Devine Intervention is a light-hearted read about two misfits in the forms of a guardian angel and his ward. Beginning with a story from Jerome's past, the book alternates perspective between Jerome's first-person narration and Heidi's third person narration. It's a bit of an awkward transition at first, but I enjoyed looking at each character through their own eyes in addition to the other narrator's perspective. Both Heidi and Jerome have their respsective strengths and misgivings about themselves, and they've had a rough time with their friends a families. Jerome is quite the character, as well as the source of all the comic relief in this book. He doesn't have the brightest track record, never having believed that he could make something of his life while he was still alive, and he's done some cruel things that he's not proud of. In fact, if he didn't make me laugh so much, I would write him off as a jerk. Cross that. He is a jerk. A nice, well meaning jerk. Heidi, on the other hand, is more timid. She doesn't go out of her way to take the spotlight despite being rather tall for a girl. While everyone encourages her to take advantage of her height on the basketball court, Heidi prefers to spend her time drawing--paper, napkins, her jeans... you name it, and she's probably doodled on it at least once in her life, if not fifty times. The only unique quality she believes she possesses is the voice lurking in the back of her mind, and it's not something that she likes to share with people because they'll think she's crazy. In addition to the narration, the book presents the Ten Commandments for the Dead and the Ten Commandments for the Living, which are revealed one by one as they apply to Jerome and Heidi. The first threatens Jerome with a sentence to Hell, and the second presents hope to the two. More than a book meant for comic relief, Devine Intervention explores self-identity and one's purpose in life, some heavy topics that teens sometimes only consider when faced with death. I myself never considered my future seriously until the end of my first semester of college. Heidi is like me in that she thought that she would have time later, and Jerome couldn't appreciate his life until after death. As the book progresses, Jerome and Heidi learn more about themselves and what is important to them. I enjoyed watching Jerome mature from a fun-loving, immature teen to someone willing to place his soul at risk to protect those he cares about, and Heidi from a timid teenage girl who listens to others to someone able to speak her mind and follow her heart. Someone won't always be around to tell her what to do, and life won't get better if she waits for someone to tell her what to do. Every teen realizes this at some point. Devine Intervention is a read for those who appreciate humor in a YA novel with paranormal elements. It is also a read for those who appreciate a good, realistic ending that will move readers to tears.
Kimmiepoppins More than 1 year ago
It's no secret, I have a soft spot for dead teen books, so I couldn't wait to read this one. It did not disappoint. What I loved about DEVINE INTERVENTION was it's snarky humor and how it perfectly walked the line between a guy book and a girl book. I also adored the supplemental information like The Guardian Angel's Handbook, particularly the sarcastic notes on the bottom. But despite all the great snark and sarcasm, there was a thread of sweetness, vulnerability and hope that was impossible not to love. Can't wait to see what Brokenbrough has up her sleeve next!
Icecream18JA More than 1 year ago
This book is comic relief from cover to cover. There are, of course, plenty of the "more serious" conversations and events in this book, but the author manages to keep the tone light for the most part. I read Devine Intervention after spending three hours in a zoology lab where I was classifying pinecones (I know, weird. I was doing botany in an animal laboratory). Brockenbrough’s book brightened my day and helped me stop categorizing ever bit of plant life I saw on my way home from college. Heidi is able to hear the voice of her guardian angel. Jerome, Heidi’s guardian angel, is still in training and practically incapable of giving her decent advice, but she truly appreciates his presence. After a disaster, Heidi’s soul could be lost forever and Jerome could be sent to Hell, unless they are able to work together to figure out how to save themselves. I really loved Brockenbrough’s writing. I hate being bored, and while reading this book, I was more than entertained. There are so many twists in this novel that the reader may guess at, but never assume will happen. Devine Intervention could be read and enjoy by any female with a sense of humor. I give this novel, five stars!
Daniela07 More than 1 year ago
Okay, so this probably sounds like any other guardian angel book full of gooey romance and annoying heroines, but if you read the synopsis then you'll know that this isn't one of those books at all. It's not a lie either. Trust me on this one. The book is about 3% romance and 97% fall on the ground rolling with laughter. Devine Intervention is original and refreshing on so many levels. I loved this book because of the sweet balance between laughter and crying. The main concept of the book is somewhat depressing (since it includes death and family grieving), but Brockenbrough makes me cry from laughing so hard. Seeing things from Jerome's point of view will have you grinning throughout the novel, guaranteed. Reading about Heidi will somber you up a bit and probably make you sad. The balance between both characters works its miracle though. Both the main characters aren't very hard to understand. Jerome is very easily a jerk. He's someone that you wouldn't like in real life and yet he worms his way into your heart just as quickly as he has you laughing. It's tough to not find yourself attached to him in the end. He's a troubled guy, but in his heart he knows what's right and would sacrifice anything (even going to Hell for an eternity) for the ones he loves. It's almost heartbreaking. There isn't really anything that annoyed me about him. His way of seeing things is very realistic and he definitely sounds like a teenage guy. He was immensely flawed (compared to other angels in other books) and it was incredibly refreshing. Heidi wasn't like most heroines. She was willing for one, and not a whiner. The main reason why I loved her character so much is because she wasn't perfect. She's not a cheerleader, she's really tall, not skinny, not very pretty, and she even had some very horrifyingly embarrassing moments (like really humiliating). I admired her sacrifice sometimes and it hurt to see things through her point of view. She was suffering just as much as her family and friends were. If Jerome wasn't there to have me cracking up, I'm sure I would be bawling my eyes out with her. And it takes a whole lot of courage to do the things she did. Other than the characters, the plot was interesting. It wasn't really that captivating and it had a couple of glitches, but I enjoyed the originality. One problem I had though, was the pacing. It was all over the place. The beginning started off smooth enough with a gradual pace, and then it slowed down, and then it sped, and then it slowed down, and then it sped up... it felt like I was on a roller-coaster (not one of the fun ones). It got me annoyed and I seriously felt like skipping pages to get to the real action. Apart from the pacing, there wasn't anything major that I disliked. Overall, Devine Intervention is a fun, light read that I recommend if you feel like laughing. The characters were entertaining and definitely unique. I would totally come back to reread this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Mm." ((Gtg.))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No, Master, there is no reason why you shouldn't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and the characters. At some points you feeel like hitting Jerome in the head, you just need to keep remembering he is still a teenager which completly explains his actions and your desire to do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago