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If you like Ellen Hopkins, you'll love...

posted Oct 24, 2012, 7:32 AM by Peter Langella   [ updated Oct 24, 2012, 7:32 AM ]
My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt

From Publisher's Weekly:

This exquisite novel in verse tells the story of 16-year-old Angel, who has been working as a prostitute in Vancouver for nine months after her father throws her out. After Angel's friend Serena disappears, Angel decides to give up her pimp Call's "candy" (the drugs he feeds her) and try to return home. Angel's withdrawal is severe ("I threw up in Call's bathroom sink/ so hard I thought bits of stomach/ slid out of my mouth") but it's nothing compared to the pain she feels when Call brings home an 11-year-old girl, Melli, to follow in Angel's footsteps. Angel is determined to keep Melli safe, even while other women continue to disappear. National Book Award finalist Leavitt (Keturah and Lord Death) makes good use of Milton's Paradise Lost, which a john has Angel read aloud to him "while he does his thing," but the triumph of this story is in Angel's painfully real voice. Her matter-of-fact descriptions of her time with the johns are searing, and the casual brutality of her life will haunt readers.
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