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Speer, a music video director, makes a solid literary debut with a romantic thriller set against the backdrop of a transformed Los Angeles, a true City of Angels. A century ago, angels revealed themselves to the world. Soon after, they began charging (exorbitantly) for their protective services and have become the ultimate celebrities, commanding immense wealth, power, and popularity. When hottest-of-the-hot angel Jackson Godspeed meets waitress Maddy Montgomery, it's a Cinderella story with a twist. The media goes wild, but their families forbid the burgeoning romance for reasons that hark back to the angels' darkest secrets. Accurately hitting on celebrity-obsessed culture and the dichotomy between the glitterati and everyday people, Speer blends romance and mystery to deliver a fresh take on the "angel novel," first in a planned trilogy. The author draws on several of the more well-trod aspects of the paranormal genre (hidden destinies, forbidden love), yet strong writing, well-rounded characters, and an enticing hook in the form of the mercenary/celebutante angels breathe life into the world Speer has created. Ages 12-up. Agent: Claudia Ballard, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 8 Up-As residents of Angel City (aka Los Angeles), guardian angels are more famous than Hollywood stars. Constantly trailed by paparazzi, they throw lavish parties, wear designer clothes, and even have their own TV network. Jackson Godspeed, a hunky angel from an influential and wealthy archangel family, is about to become the youngest Guardian in history. But when he saves Maddy, a high school girl who is not assigned to him, their instant attraction causes turbulence in their very different worlds. Though their relationship is forbidden, the pair is determined to stay together despite the flashing bulbs, disapproving relatives, and the fact that Jackson is a suspect in a spree of angel murders. The protagonists are better developed as individuals than as a couple; their abrupt romance smolders despite them not knowing anything about each other. The angels are not at all religious, and God is completely removed from the equation. The premise is interesting, but the slow-paced story will appeal only to the most die-hard fans of angel-centered novels, such as Lauren Kate's Fallen (Delacorte, 2009) and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush (S & S, 2009). The characters, events, and plot elements are typical of paranormal romances, complete with flawless immortals, a seemingly normal human girl, instant attraction, an annoying best friend, a jealous ex-girlfriend, a spoiled little sister, and insufficient parental guidance. The murder mystery seems tacked on simply to add intrigue to a story that reads more like an extended episode of TMZ. A complete miss.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.