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Alice Hoffman

Green Angel

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From School Library JournalGrade 8 Up-Beautifully written prose fills this first-person narrative of a teen whose world is turned around in an instant. This is both a survival story and an homage to the need to cherish life's every moment. Moody, introspective Green, 15, stays at home while her parents and younger sister travel to the city to sell their produce. Her disappointment at being left behind causes her to be cold and not say good-bye. Then the city is engulfed in flames, and ashes hover in the atmosphere for a long time. Green is left with her guilt for her sullen behavior and the solitude of her ruined garden. Hoffman has created a multilayered, believable protagonist. Readers suffer along with her and share her fears as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. The contrast between her original faith in the promise of the future and her later acknowledgment of the tentative nature of reality is vividly and eloquently portrayed. This is not an easy read, and though it is an absorbing tale, it will most likely appeal to more sophisticated readers. A powerfully written and thought-provoking selection.
Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
FromGr. 6–12. Hoffman's latest fable for teens begins with an apocalyptic scene that mirrors the events of 9/11: a girl watches as her city across the river explodes into smoke and fire, and people leap from buildings. Green, named for her uncanny gardening talent, is 15 years old, and, in the tragedy, she loses her beloved family. Faced with grief and an anarchic world, Green finds solace in the brittle numbness of daily tasks and in the pain of the tattoos that she begins to draw on herself. Slowly, she connects with survivors, especially a mysterious boy, who helps her replant her garden and feel joy again. Hoffman's lush prose and moody, magic realism will easily draw readers into the harsh, ash-covered world that follows the explosion, as well as the sunny world that precedes it, when “bees would drink the sweat from . . . skin, and never once sting.” Green's brave competence and the hope she finds in romance will appeal to many teens, particularly those with gothic tastes. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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    As far as I was concerned the future was a book I could write to suit myself, chapter after chapter of good fortune.
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