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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 anyoneespecially herselffrom the Dark Forces.
Is love a great enough power against evil?
About the Author
Alexandra Adornetto was only fourteen when she published her first book, The Shadow Thief, in Australia. Halo was her U.S. debut and debuted in Fall 2010 on The New York Times bestseller list a week after it was published. It has been published in over twenty countries. The daughter of two English teachers, she admits to being a compulsive book buyer who has run out of shelf space, and now stacks her reading "in wobbly piles on my bedroom floor." Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ally is now a college student in the U.S.
Read an Excerpt
OUR arrival didn’t exactly go as planned. I remember it was almost dawn when we landed because the streetlights were still on. We had hoped our descent would go unnoticed, which it mainly did, save for a thirteen-year-old boy doing a paper round.
He was on his bicycle with the newspapers rolled like batons in plastic wrap. It was misty and the boy was wearing a hooded jacket. He seemed to be playing a mental game with himself to estimate where exactly he could get each paper to land. The newspapers hit the driveways and verandas with a thud, and the boy smiled smugly whenever he estimated right. A Jack Russell terrier barking from behind a gate caused him to glance up and alerted him to our arrival.
He looked up just in time to see a column of white light receding into the clouds, leaving three wraithlike strangers in the middle of the road. Despite our human form, something about us startled him—perhaps it was our skin, which was as luminous as the moon or our loose white traveling garments, which were in tatters from the turbulent descent. Perhaps it was the way we looked at our limbs, as though we had no idea what to do with them, or the water vapor still clinging to our hair. What ever the reason, the boy lost his balance, swerved his bike, and crashed into the gutter. He scrambled to his feet and stood transfixed for several seconds, caught between alarm and curiosity. In unison we reached out our hands to him in what we hoped was a gesture of reassurance. But we forgot to smile. By the time we remembered how, it was too late. As we contorted our mouths in an attempt to get it right, the boy turned on his heel and fled. Having a physical body was still foreign to us—there were so many different parts that needed to run concurrently, like a complex machine. The muscles in my face and body were stiff, my legs were trembling like a child’s taking his first steps, and my eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the muted earth light. Having come from a place of dazzling light, shadows were foreign to us.
Gabriel approached the bicycle with its front wheel still spinning and righted it. He propped it against the closest fence knowing that the boy would return later to collect it.
I imagined the boy bursting through the front door of his home and relating the story to his stunned parents. His mother would push the hair back from his forehead to check his temperature. His father, bleary-eyed, would comment on the mind’s ability to play tricks on you when it has time to wander.
We found Byron Street and walked along its uneven sidewalk, scanning for Number 15. Already, our senses were being assaulted from all directions. The colors of the world were so vivid and so varied. We had come from a pure white world to a street that looked like an artist’s palette. Apart from color everything had its own different texture and shape. The wind brushed against my fingertips, and it felt so alive I wondered if I could reach out and catch it. I opened my mouth and tasted the crisp, sharp air. I could smell gasoline and burning toast mingled with pine and the sharp scent of the ocean. The worst part was the noise. The wind seemed to howl, and the sound of the sea beating against the rocks roared through my head like a stampede. I could hear everything that was happening in the street, the sound of a car ignition, a slamming screen door, a child crying, an old porch swing creaking in the wind.
“You’ll learn how to block it out,” said Gabriel. The sound of his voice startled me. Back home, we communicated without language. Gabriel’s human voice, I discovered, was low and hypnotic.
“How long will it take?” I winced as the shrill cry of a seagull sounded overhead. I heard my own voice, which was as melodic as a flute.
“Not long,” Gabriel answered. “It’s easier if you don’t fight it.”
Byron Street rose and peaked in the middle and there, at its highest point, stood our new home. Ivy was immediately charmed.
“Oh, look.” She clapped her hands in delight. “It even has a name.” The house had been named after the street and BYRON was displayed in an elegant script on a copper plaque. We would later discover that the adjoining streets were named after other English Romantic poets: Keats Grove, Coleridge Street, Blake Avenue. Byron was to be both our home and our sanctuary while we were earthbound. It was a double-fronted, ivy-clad sandstone house set well back from the street behind a wrought-iron fence and double gates. It had a gracious Georgian façade and a gravel path leading to its flaking front door. The front yard was dominated by a stately elm, wrapped in a tangled mess of ivy. Along the side fence grew a profusion of hydrangeas, their pastel heads quivering in the morning frost. I liked the house—it looked like it had been built to weather any adversity.
“Bethany, hand me the key,” said Gabriel. Looking after the key to the house was the only job I had been entrusted with. I felt around the deep pockets of my dress.
“It’s here somewhere,” I assured him.
“Please tell me you haven’t lost it already.”
“We did fall out of the sky, you know,” I said indignantly. “It’s easy for things to go missing.”
Ivy laughed suddenly. “You’re wearing it around your neck.”
I breathed a sigh of relief as I slipped off the chain and handed it to Gabriel. As we stepped into the hallway we saw that no expense had been spared in preparing the house for our arrival. The Divine Agents who’d preceded us had been meticulous in their attention to detail.
Everything about the house suggested light. The ceilings were lofty, the rooms airy. Off the central hallway were a music room to the left and a living room to the right. Farther along, a study opened onto a paved courtyard. The rear of the house was an extension that had been modernized and was made up of an expansive marble-and-stainless-steel kitchen that spilled into a large den with Persian rugs and plump sofas. Folding doors opened onto an extensive redwood deck. Upstairs were all the bedrooms and the main bathroom with its marble vanities and sunken bath. As we walked through the house, its timber floors creaked as if in welcome. A light shower began, and the rain falling on the slate roof sounded like fingers playing a melody on a piano.
THOSE first weeks were spent hibernating and getting our bearings. We took stock, waited patiently as we adjusted to having a physical form, and immersed ourselves in the rituals of daily life. There was so much to learn and it certainly wasn’t easy. At first we would take a step and be surprised to find solid ground beneath us. We knew that everything on earth was made up of matter knitted together in a complex molecular code to form different substances: air, rock, wood, animals. But it was very different experiencing it. Physical barriers surrounded us. We had to navigate our way around these barriers and try to avoid the accompanying feeling of claustrophobia. Every time I picked up an object, I stopped to marvel at its function. Human life was so complicated; there were devices to boil water, wall sockets that channeled electrical currents, and all manner of utensils in the kitchen and bathroom designed to save time and increase comfort. Everything had a different texture, a different smell—it was like a circus for the senses. I could tell that Ivy and Gabriel wanted to block it all out and return to blissful silence, but I relished every moment even if it was overwhelming.
Some evenings we were visited by a faceless, white-robed mentor, who simply appeared sitting in an armchair in the living room. His identity was never disclosed, though we knew he acted as a messenger between the angels on earth and the powers above. A briefing usually followed during which we were able to discuss the challenges of incarnation and have our questions answered.
“The landlord has asked for documents regarding our previous residence,” Ivy said, during our first meeting.
“We apologize for the oversight. Consider it taken care of,” replied the mentor. His whole face was shrouded from view, but when he spoke small clouds of white fog appeared from beneath his hood.
“How much time is expected to pass before we understand our bodies entirely?” Gabriel wanted to know.
“That depends,” said the mentor. “It should not take longer than a few weeks, unless you resist the change.”
“How are the other emissaries coping?” Ivy asked with concern.
“Some are adjusting to human life, like yourselves, and others have been thrown straight into battle,” replied the mentor. “There are some corners of the earth riddled with Agents of Darkness.”
“Why does toothpaste give me a headache?” I asked. My brother and sister flashed me stern looks, but the mentor was unfazed.
“It contains a number of strong chemical ingredients designed to kill bacteria,” he said. “Give yourself a week, the headaches should pass.”
After the consultations were over Gabriel and Ivy always lingered for a private discussion and I was left hovering outside the door, trying to catch snippets of the converation I couldn’t be part of.
The first big challenge was taking care of our bodies. They were fragile. They needed nourishment as well as protection from the elements—mine more so than my siblings because I was young; it was my first visit and I hadn’t had time to develop any resistance. Gabriel had been a warrior since the dawn of time, and Ivy was blessed with healing powers. I, on the other hand, was much more vulnerable. The first few times I ventured out on a walk, I returned shivering before realizing I was inadequately clothed. Gabriel and Ivy didn’t feel the cold. But their bodies still needed maintenance. We wondered why we felt faint by midday, then realized our bodies needed regular meals. The preparation of food was a tedious task, and in the end, our brother Gabriel graciously offered to take charge of it. There was an extensive collection of cookbooks in the well-stocked library, and he took to poring over these in the evenings.
We kept human contact to a minimum. We shopped after hours in the adjoining larger town of Kingston and didn’t answer the door or the phone if it happened to ring. We took long walks at times when humans were occupied behind closed doors. Occasionally we went into the town and sat together at sidewalk cafés to observe passersby, trying to look absorbed in one another’s company to ward off attention. The only person we introduced ourselves to was Father Mel, who was the priest at Saint Mark’s, a small bluestone chapel down by the water.
“Good heavens,” he said when he saw us. “So you’ve finally come.”
We liked Father Mel because he didn’t ask any questions or make any demands of us; he simply joined us in prayer. We hoped that in time our subtle influence in the town might result in people reconnecting with their spirituality. We didn’t expect them to be observant and go to church every Sunday, but we wanted to restore their faith and teach them to believe in miracles. Even if they stopped by the church on their way to do the grocery shopping and lit a candle, we would be happy.
Venus Cove was a sleepy beachside town, the sort of place where nothing ever changed. We enjoyed the quiet and took to walking along the shore, usually at dinnertime when the beach was mostly deserted. One night we walked as far as the pier to look at the boats moored there. They were so brightly painted they looked like they belonged in a postcard. We reached the end of the pier before noticing the lone boy sitting there. He couldn’t have been more than eighteen, but it was possible to see in him the man he would someday become. He was wearing cargo shorts that came to his knees and a loose white T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. His muscular legs hung over the edge of the pier. He was fishing and had a burlap bag full of bait and assorted reels beside him. We stopped dead when we saw him and would have turned away immediately, but he had already seen us.
“Hi,” he said with an open smile. “Nice night for a walk.” My brother and sister only nodded in response and didn’t move. I decided it was too impolite not to respond and stepped forward.
“Yes, it is,” I said. I suppose this was the first sign of my weakness—my human curiosity drew me forward. We were supposed to interact with humans but never befriend them or welcome them into our lives. Already, I was disregarding the rules of our mission. I knew I should fall silent, walk away, but instead I gestured toward the boy’s fishing reels. “Have you had any luck?”
“I come out here to relax,” he said, tipping up the bucket so I could see it was empty. “If I happen to catch anything, I throw it back in.”
I took another step forward for a closer look. The boy’s light brown hair was the color of walnuts. It flopped over his brow and had a lustrous sheen in the fading light. His pale eyes were almond shaped and a striking turquoise blue in color. But it was his smile that was utterly mesmerizing. So that was how it was done, I thought: effortlessly, instinctively, and so utterly human. As I watched, I felt drawn to him, almost by some magnetic force. Ignoring Ivy’s warning glance, I took another step forward.
“Want to try?” he offered, sensing my curiosity and holding out the fishing rod.
While I struggled to think of an appropriate response, Gabriel answered for me.
“Come away now, Bethany. We have to get home.”
I noticed how formal Gabriel’s speech pattern was compared with the boy’s. Gabriel’s words sounded rehearsed, as though he were performing a scene from a play. He probably felt like he was. He sounded like a character in one of the old Hollywood movies I’d watched as part of our research.
“Maybe next time,” the boy said, picking up on Gabriel’s tension. I noticed how his eyes crinkled slightly at the corners when he smiled. Something in his expression made me think he was poking fun at us. I moved away reluctantly.
“That was so rude,” I said to my brother as soon as we were out of earshot. I surprised myself with those words. Since when did angels worry about coming across as slightly stand-offish? Since when had I mistaken Gabriel’s distant manner for rudeness? He had been created that way, he wasn’t at one with humankind—he didn’t understand their ways. And yet, I was berating him for lacking human traits.
“We have to be careful, Bethany,” he explained as if speaking to an errant child.
“Gabriel is right,” Ivy added, ever our brother’s ally. “We’re not ready for human contact yet.”
“I think I am,” I said.
I turned back for a final look at the boy. He was still watching us and still smiling.
Excerpted from Halo by Alexandra Adornetto.
Copyright © 2010 by Alexandra Adornetto.
Published in 2010 by Feiwel And Friends.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Table of Contents
3. Venus Cove,
5. Small Miracles,
6. French Class,
9. No Boys Allowed,
11. Head Over Heels,
12. Saving Grace,
13. His Kiss,
14. Defying Gravity,
15. The Covenant,
16. Family Ties,
17. Calm Before the Storm,
18. Dark Prince,
19. Into the Woods,
20. Warning Sign,
22. The "S" Word,
24. Only Human,
27. Playing with Fire,
28. Angel of Destruction,
29. A Friend in Need,
30. Raising Hell,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In a teen market overcrowded with dark, brooding supernatural novels, "Halo" stands out as something different. If the bright, liquid-gold light beckoning from the cover doesn't pull your eyes away from the black, angsty covers surrounding it, its premise will surely grab the attention of the reader looking for something "different." The novel initially caught my attention due to the fact that even though it was dealing with the supernatural theme of angels currently being made popular by smash hits such as Becca Fitzpatrick's "Hush, Hush" and Lauren Kate's "Fallen," the angels in "Halo" are still messengers of God. The book revolves around Bethany, a young angel visiting Earth for the first time, her brother Gabriel, an Arch Angel, and sister Ivy, a seraphim. The three messengers have descended in human form in order to combat the forces of evil infiltrating mankind. It takes a lot of time for them to adjust to life as "humans," especially Bethany, who is experiencing everything anew. She is more "human" than the other angels and is able to share their emotions, which leads her into trouble when she falls for a mortal boy at her new school. "Halo" is full of rich, vibrant detail that paints an image in the reader's mind. It's easy to envision the kind of world the angels came from and to see our own society through their eyes. The way Bethany viewed Earth felt very natural, like something an angel would think. Alexandra Adornetto masterfully wove words together to create such a cohesive point of view that never felt forced the way some other novels do. Readers looking for a romantic focus with a lighter form of the supernatural thrown into the mix will find themselves intrigued by the latest novel to enter the teen market. It's different from anything out there and might very well pave the way for other such stories. It's also nice to see books coming out this fall where it is the female main character who is a supernatural being and that the male she winds up falling for is mortal and not necessarily a brooding bad boy, first with Sophie Jordan's "Firelight" and now with "Halo."
Alexandra Adornetto has a bright future ahead of her. For being only eighteen she writes with a good amount of maturity. I really enjoyed the first half of the book but thought that the later half was a bit predictable, even said I couldn't put it down. I recommend this book. :)
I ended up buying this as a spur of the moment kind of thing. The synopsis of it was just so generic that it turned me off of the book but the back cover had a passage of the book that was captivating so I got it and I do not regret it! This book is touching and there is just something about it that shines a light on humanity that people can relate to. I hope there is another one coming out soon.
For whatever reason this is like the 4th book i picked up about some sort of angels. Of course the rest were fallen angels but still. angels. It started out a little slow and at one point i wanted to stop reading it because nothing was happening but i continued on anyway. when Beth did finally start dating Xavier, i thought they were way to perfect. i didn't really like how Bethany was so naive and when the bad guy came i just didn't really care. He was more interesting the Beth-Xavier. i like a little more spark into stories a little more corruption? i guess you can say. But if you do like the romances go ahead and read this one if you're still a twihard at heart.
I couldnt put it down!!!!!! I am a catholic so this book stuck home with me. This book is so different compared to other books for teens. The world is obsessed with murder, sex, and dark gloomy topics. This had a better, more religious topic PLUS romance. What more could you ask for?!
I had a terrible amount of trouble with this book. I bought due to multiple plane and car rides, so I figured even if it wasn't too good I would be bored enough to read it (I rarely quit on books anyway). Nope. I found it better to sit and stare at the seat back than suffer through this. The entire book is nothing but the angel girl being completely dependent on Xavier and whining about how much she misses him. That's it. DO NOT read. Looking for angels? Read Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. It's entertaining and interesting.
Let me start by saying I really thought I would like this book. I normally like Angel books and the cover of the book was really eye catching. I should have known that a book with more negative reviews than good was probably a waste of time but I had to find out for myself. This book was really hard for me to get into. I actually fell asleep when I was reading the first few chapters of the book. I pushed myself to read more and to finish it because I don't think you can fairly judge a book until you have read it completely. I will talk about some of the things that really bothered me about this book without giving away any story details. First and foremost I thought some parts had so much description it was just annoying. I understand that Bethany is an angel new to Earth and is experiencing it with fresh eyes but I just found it so annoying to read about it over and over again. Another big problem for me was the religion aspect. Now I am not super religious or anything but the inconsistencies of this aspect really bugged me. She would talk about her duties to God because she is an angel but turn around and sin. Trust me I know I might sound judgy but I really am not. It just felt like she was a big hypocrite. She also talked about how she couldn't believe that humans turned a blind eye to other peoples suffering BUT in this same paragraph she talked about how she couldn't watch the news because it made her depressed.. I mean come on! I also thought at times it promoted a bad self image. Bethany talked about changing herself to be who her boyfriend wanted. I like it when the main character is confident and doesn't need to change herself, especially for someone else, to feel better about herself. She also relied so much on her boyfriend that it made it seem like she couldn't face anything alone. I also thought that the romance escalated a little unbelievably. I know what it is like to have an instant connection with somebody so it's not like I am a sceptic on that but I just don't see someone completely changing their life for that person after hanging out one time. Even though I am only in my early 20's I feel like I was too old for this book. I just never really got into it and I never really liked the characters. I thought Bethany was weak and Molly was vapid. I started to like Gabriel and Ivy's characters more throughout the book and I liked Xavier except for the fact that he was a little too protective but none of the characters really stood out much. Needless to say this book just wasn't for me. I didn't like the writing and I didn't even like the story. I thought the story was pretty predictable and cliche so it wasn't very exciting to read.
Im in love with this book. Thanks to halo i learned the type of book perfect for me. If ur reading this then no that reading halo will leave u shaking at every love sceane.
I had heard great things about this book prior to me buying. People said it was cute, better than Twilight, and that it was a great romance. Never would I have imagined it to be this amazing. Beth is not your average teenage girl; she's an angel in disguise who was sent to Earth to help push away the dark forces. Armed with her two siblings, Gabriel, a handsome warrier, and Ivy, a magnificent healer, Beth and her siblings move along the shore in a little cookie cutter town where everyone knows everyone. The three angels are directed to not tell anyone about who they really are and to really not make any close bonds with any mortals. But since this is Beth's first time down to Earth, she has to learn the ways of the mortals and blend in, so she goes to high school. Gabriel too goes, but since he is older, he gets a job at Beth's school as the music teacher. Bethany, however, is a student and on her first day quickly stumbles into Xavier, a gorgeous boy who just so happen's to be the school's captian. Xavier carries a past that makes most people feel sorry for him. He and Beth start hanging out, despite Gabriel and Ivy's glared looks, and they really start to like each other. More time goes by and the two fall deeply in love, forcing Beth to be completely honest with Xavier. She tells him what she really is. Then Jake Thorn enters the picture, but he's not as nice as this certian angel thinks. He brings a bad aura with him, and is it really just a conicidence that once Jake shows up, bad things keep happening? This story is full love and detail, and eighteen year old Alexandra Adornetto did a fantastic job writing this novel. Props to you Ally, for being so young and already accomplishing so much.
This author is a great writer but it's weird because she's 17 and she wrote her first book when she was 14. I'm on my way publishing my first book but what's cool is that I already love this book. I read an excerpt and now I want it. It makes me want to finish my story on my computer. :) I already recommend this.
Like many I bought this book because the book cover is so lovely. I was let down the moment I opened the book. It was very childish which I should have known since the author was a teen when she wrote this. You honestly couldn't pay me to ready this the whole way through
To be honest, im not usually at all picky about the books i read , but this one Did. Not. Cut. It. I understand that Beth is an angel, but her perspectivd on things....i found annoying. No teenager is that innocent! I guess the main problem i had with the book was the characters and cnaracter development...the writing itself wasnt all that bad, but im not going to rrad the second one. Dont waste your time with this book
First, let me say this is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. This is the kind of cover that screams, "Read Me Now!" So I did. I could have waited. Part of my issue, I think, was I was so revved to read this book. I'm totally down with the angels, there's just something so damn appealing about their sexy other-worldliness. And I do like the characters in this book...I just thought the plot was rather loose. I can give you a few examples. 1. Their mission is urgent...but what is it exactly? They don't seem to do anything. Bethany goes to school, Gabriel teaches at school, and Ivy does a lot of volunteering for the community. They set good examples. Yeah? So? People do those things on a daily basis. Not sure what's so urgent about that in the angel world. 2. Demons can sense angels, but angels can't sense demons? And then, when they meet a demon, they can't act on it without talking to the bosses first? Meanwhile the demon is doing his demon thing, and all hell breaks loose. Hello! Urgent mission here! Give these people the tools they need to work, man! (And might I add, Gabriel is a warrior...let the dude loose to kick some demon ass without saying "Mother may I" first. Jeesh.) 3. Again, we have an urgent mission, yet the bosses decide to send a very immature, young, near-human angel. That made no sense. I'm sorry, but much of the plot lines felt contrived in order to put Bethany and Xavier together, and allow the demon to pull his demon strings without being stopped before he could cause his damage. And I won't spoil it by telling you who the demon is (though it's obvious when you're reading the book...no question there)...and he was probably the better-drawn characters. I would like to see a book about Gabriel (tall, strong, silent, who wouldn't want to read that?) Unchained. Gabriel Unchained. Yes. That's it. Now that would be fun reading! So, characters: check Cover: check, check. Plot: Just eh for me.
CRAP THESE REVIEWS ARE LONG!!! Oh and in the 3rd book Xav and Beth get married and God kills Father whats his name and releases his wrath... HAHA i just ruined it for you.
This book was amazing i could not put it down thats how good it was :)
Very good sample i love it
This story is really good. I think people should take the time out to read it. Its really worth the read.
U guys should read this awsome book!!!! I<3 this book
I managed to read all of it but to be truthful, it wasn't something that left me breathless and waiting for more. Some of the things in the book might offend some of you in the religious aspect. I'm really open minded so It didn't bother me as much. I recommend it only if you want something fast paced and simple.
I loved this book. I am a strong christian, and found nothing offensive nor wrong with the story. It was a easy beautiful read. I couldn't put it down! I went through a lot to get my hands on this book, but it was worth it. I can't wait to read the others. Im sure they will be just as wonderous. I would suggest this to any reader who wants a mystery, sci-fi, drama, love, and action story.this book covers it all.
This book is horrible. It is written so badly it made me cry. I read 40 pages, and thats because I wanted to give it a chance to get better. But did it.... NO! If u want to read a good book read The Selection by Kiera Cass. P.s. I'm only putting 1 star because I can't post this without one.
I love Beth and Xavier! I cant believe the description! Sci fi fantasy fiction and awesome book. Would recomend to anyone in middle of high school. Excellent bok! Fell in love with it right away! If you enjoy this-check out maximum ride by James Patterson. Enjoy!
The storyline had promise, but over all it let me down. The writing was good, and i appreciated the novel's length as many books these days are pretty short, but the characters were disappointing and underbaked so to speak. The main character was not interesting and i didnot like her at all, the love interest was equally horrible, and i just couldn't choke it downi will NOT be reading the sequal