Daddy's Little Angel
by Shani Petroff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Bedeviled / 978-0-448-45111-4
The set-up for this novel is quite cute: main character Angel is going to have a tough enough time in eight grade without having to deal with the realization that her father is the literal devil, and having her mom trying to rectify the situation with her New Age philosophies and healing stones isn't going to help matters any.
For the most part, this novel delivers on the cute premise - the dialogue and characters are well-written, and the overall feel of eight grade middle school (and the temptations and dangers therein) is well captured. For a 200+ page novel, though, the story is surprisingly brief - at 45 chapters, that's a lot of white space and page breaks - and veteran readers will probably rip through this novel in a matter of hours.
And after a promising beginning with such a delicious premise, the actual conflict of the novel simmers back down into your standard romance-crushing and popularity wars (with a blonde Libby / Alpha Queen, of course), with the supernatural elements being largely confined to Lou (i.e., Lucifer) popping in from time to time on the faces of volleyballs, causing Angel to hiss at him and getting her strange looks from her classmates - this is repeated something like seven times, and after awhile it loses its sting as a literary device.
Younger readers may enjoy reading about Angel's adventures in middle school, but older readers may be a little off-put by the realization that most of Angel's problems are predictably of her own making - at least until the end when she grows up a little and learns the value of clear communication - but overall this is a cute novel and a pleasant afternoon read. It will be interesting to see where the author goes from here and whether the interesting premise gets a little more time devoted to it in the next books rather than serve as a literary device behind the usual middle school angst plots.
~ Ana Mardoll
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