A seemingly average twelve-year-old girl transfers to a new school, yet again, and soon finds out that nothing about her life ... or past lives ... is ordinary. Audie is pulled into a war only she can end, and must figure out how to win against evil while trying to untangle her feelings for her human friend Cave and the charming angel Luce.
The idea of this book is cute, and I think it will catch young readers' eyes. Situations where other kids are fighting against great power and evil intentions never fail to capture the attention of children who daydream about doing just that. Even better, Audie has friends by her side to help her figure out her past, her new powers, and what she should do next.
Personally,I have to admit that I had a hard time connecting with this book. I think that was partly due to my expectations not meshing with what I actually got. This book is listed as middle grade, however it is much longer than the standard middle grade novel coming in at over 240 pages. The writing style is a mixture between narration, which using goes more with early readers than middle grade, and simplistic dialog and internal thoughts. The characters are also 12 years old, which is on the bubble of YA literature, but the story is too young for YA readers. It doesn't quite fit in either category, which makes it hard to recommend to either group.
The area I had a hard time with was Kathryn's version of heaven. Many readers have particular ideas about heaven, and for me, magic forests and mermaids seemed more like a fantasy world than heaven. It was difficult for me to feel immersed in the setting, which affected my ability to feel engaged in the story overall.
I think the storyline itself is cute and will attract readers. The length may be a problem for very younger readers, though. Katheryn provides interesting moments and excitement with the training and the relationships. I don't categorize divine power and magic in the same category so I didn't enjoy the new abilities as much as I could have, but other readers may have no problem with that and truly enjoy this aspect. Audie's feelings for both Luce and Cave provide more conflict, but it will appeal more to older readers more toward the YA age group than middle grade.
Another issue that may trip readers up is that the editing is not as good as it could have been. In many places it affected the readability of the story and proved to be distracting. I think this series has potential, but I would hope to see future books in this series have a length more appropriate for middle grade readers, cleaner editing, and more a more age appropriate style and language.
Audie the Angel is available from Amazon.