Angel Thieves

336p. S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781442421097.
Gr 9 Up—Houston today: a teenage boy and his father steal marble angels from cemeteries in the dead of night. A teenage girl, inspired by a young boy and a honey bear jar, takes a chance on love. An ocelot, trapped by a poacher, suffers and starves alone in its cage. Houston, 1846: a freed black woman runs away with her two enslaved young daughters, searching along the bayou for the marble woman who will mark their salvation. The Buffalo Bayou sees it all. The Buffalo Bayou gives what it can, and the Buffalo Bayou remembers. Told in interspersed perspectives across time, these tales are connected by their setting as well as by themes of desperation, hope, and faith. Short chapters and lyrical prose give this novel an atmospheric, poetic sensibility. Elements of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and magical realism will appeal to a range of readers.
VERDICT Spiritual, succinct, and emotionally gripping, this brief but powerful novel is a masterpiece, deserving of a place in every library that serves teens.

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