My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt
This realistically painful novel in verse will be loved by Ellen Hopkins fans and other readers of gritty, first person narratives. The novel is taken from the incidents in Vancouver, Canada, wich began in 1983. Prostitutes started disappearing, but the police showed little concern and little was done to find the killer(s). Leavitt tells the story of the fictional Angel, an unhappy sixteen year old who is more interested in stealing shoes from the mall than listening to her grieving father talk about about her mother who died of bone cancer. She meets Call at the local mall, who is kind to her, becomes her boyfriend, gives her a drug she’s nicknamed “Candy,” and eventually turns her out as a prostitute in the city’s notorious Downtown Eastside. After nine months, Angel’s best friend Serena stops showing up on her corner one night. Angel knows something is wrong when she finds Serena’s “running away” money still stashed under her mattress. Call seems unconcerned, and even brings the eleven-year-old Melli to their apartment to take Angel’s place if she does not want to “earn” for him anymore. Angel’s single-minded goal to keep Melli safe is what begins to change her life.
Readers looking for this type of story will love this book. It’s written in the form of a journal that Angel keeps for herself, and while it is explicit about her life, it won’t leave readers feeling like Peeping Toms. I highly recommend it to Ellen Hopkins fans and readers who like books like Go Ask Alice and A Child Called It.
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