Angel & Hannah

One World. May 2021. 192p. pap. $18. ISBN 9780593134320.
Gr 9 Up–Hannah, the daughter of Korean immigrants in Queens, meets Angel, a Puerto Rican boy in Brooklyn, and “It was shock at first sight, loud as lightning, da charge/between them nearly stopped traffic.” Facing discrimination from both of their communities and the larger world, they feel like Romeo and Juliet as they embark on the first love of their lives. Dreams of a future together are ground down by poverty, racism, addiction, and the impacts of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s. Divided into four sections, this novel in verse moves from spring through winter, following the blossoming of their young love and its gradual withering under the reality that you cannot save someone else, only yourself. Angel and Hannah’s tale asks “Would we/altar their love higher, deem it Epic” if they weren’t poor people of color.
VERDICT A realistic love story for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo or James Baldwin. A good general purchase for high schools.

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