Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough
When his best friend shot him in the head with an arrow, Jerome died instantly. Now he finds himself in between Heaven and Hell, given a second chance to save himself from eternal torment. He’s been appointed as Heidi’s guardian angel as part of soul rehabilitation. Jerome didn’t actually read the handbook for guardian angels, so he’s mostly just winging it. Heidi has heard Jerome’s voice in her head since she was small. When she got older, she started to realize that others don’t hear voices like that and that she may be crazy. So Heidi started to withdraw and kept more and more to herself. She doesn’t always listen to Jerome’s advice, though he tries to help. So when she and her best friend head on stage during Talentpalooza and there is a major wardrobe malfunction, Heidi has no one but herself to blame. But that’s not why she was out on the pond’s thin ice at all. Though her life (or death) will never be the same after falling through.
Brockenbrough strikes just the write tone in this novel. While deep issues are dealt with, she keeps the writing light and playful. It helps that she is a truly funny author, writing with a hilarity that makes reading the novel pure fun. At the same time, she does fully explore the meaning of life in the book, what death may hold for us, and the importance of family, even dysfunctional ones. Her lighter tone makes these deeper issues all the more reflective and powerful.
The two main characters are very successfully drawn. For me, Jerome is the voice of the book. It is his perspective on life and death that makes the book work so well. Heidi on the other hand is vital to the book, but doesn’t have the whiz and bang of Jerome. That said, a book only needs one star of a character. Heidi makes a grand secondary lead character, offering a different perspective and a lot of action to the book.
This funny teen novel about death and life features juvenile delinquents as guardian angels. I think that explains a lot about life. Appropriate for ages 13-15.
Reviewed from ARC received from Arthur A. Levine Books.