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Title: Everyday Angel #1: New Beginnings
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Synopsis: Meet a guardian angel like no other, from a writer like no other. Bold rising star, Victoria Schwab, makes her whimsical, inspiring, and clever middle-grade debut.
At a first glance, Aria seems like your average twelve-year-old girl. She has coppery hair, colored shoelaces, and a passion for cupcakes. But there's more to Aria than meets the eye. She can dream things into existence, use her own shadow like a door, and change the world in small, important ways. Aria is a guardian angel. She's been sent here to earn her wings. But to do that, she'll have to help three different girls.
Aria's first mission is Gabby Torres. Gabby's always been quiet, but ever since her brother got sick, she's barely said a word.When a new school offers her a fresh start, Gabby wants badly to be someone new, but she quickly learns it's hard to make friends while keeping half her life a secret.
And then Aria shows up. Aria, who knows exactly what to say and do to make Gabby feel better. Will she be able to help Gabby find her voice? And will Gabby still trust Aria when she finds out exactly what she is?
Think John Green for middle grade, with a touch of magic!
Review: Victoria Schwab continues to stun me with her gorgeous writing, incredible characters, and surprising plots. This is a middle grade book, but the only thing that makes it feel that way is the age of the characters. Other than that, I think this book could and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. It was so good!
I really loved that Aria is a guardian angel, but she isn't centuries old. She doesn't understand some things in our world since she's only been alive for about a week and on Earth less than that. Sure, she's sent to help, but she can only help in small ways. She can't heal Gabby's brother. She can't magically make Gabby discover that she's her own person. But she can be a friend and encourage Gabby to step outside her comfort zone, make friends, and find her voice. There are rules for guardian angels, and I thought that it was interesting to see how Aria would find ways to accomplish her mission in spite of those rules.
This book switches perspectives every chapter, and I think that that really helped developed both Gabby and Aria. It allows the reader to get inside each girl's head and find out how they're dealing with certain situations. Because, even though this is a middle grade book about angels, there's still hard subjects to deal with like sickness and death. We get to see Gabby struggle with her brother's sickness, and we get to see Aria's outsider perspective. I thought that the hard subjects were dealt with really well, and that this book could even help young girls who might be in a situation similar to Gabby's.
Another thing I really appreciated about this book was that, although Aria is a guardian angel sent to help Gabby, there's no mention of who sent her or where she came from or how she got to be an angel. I think that will help this book hit home for a larger audience, since you can believe whatever you want about Aria's beginnings. It makes it easier to relate to this story, and it helps the reader not become hung up on things that don't matter to the story.
I wish that there were books like this at my book fairs when I was in middle school, because I would have picked it up, devoured it, and then made all of my friends read it too. I'm really excited about this series, and I think that fans of any of Victoria's other books will really enjoy New Beginnings. It's a fresh new take on guardian angels, and I can't want to read the rest of the series! 5/5, for sure.