- Publisher: Month9books
- Format: Paperback | 302 pages
- Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 20mm | 386g
- Publication date: 25 February 2013
- Publication City/Country: Fuquay-Varina, NC
- ISBN 10: 0985029439
- ISBN 13: 9780985029432
- Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
- Sales rank: 879,426
In this compelling and spirited debut novel, 16-year-old Rayna Evans has spent the last three years in a mental institution for seeing angels--intent on remaining free, she ignores signs that she may be slipping into a world she has tried to climb out of. When her hallucinations begin showing up at school, can she keep her sanity and prevent students from dying at the hands of angels she cannot admit to seeing? Psychiatry, fantasy, and realism come together here in a story of a young girl struggling with identity, secrets, and confronting her greatest fears.
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Lisa M. Basso is a writer and fan of young adult fiction. She lives in San Francisco.
By Sarah Elizabeth 01 Mar 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Month9Books and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Ray has spent the last 3 years of her life in and out of a mental healthcare facility that she likes to refer to as SS Crazy, and now that she's finally home, she wants a normal life.
Back at school the last thing she wants to see is wings. Thinking that she saw angels was what got her locked up and medicated in the first place, and she's so not going back there. So when the other new kid Cam has brightly shining wings, Ray just hopes that she's not going to get sent back to SS Crazy.
Things soon spiral out of control though when another girl at the school kills herself though, and after drawing an angel - with black wings.
Ray is freaked out, but even more freaked out when another angel (Kade) turns up at the cafÃ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Ã?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?â??Ã?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?â??Ã?Æ?Æ?Æ?Æ?â??Ã?Æ?Æ?Æ?â??Ã?Æ?Æ?â??Ã?Æ?â??Ã?â??Ã?Â© where she's just started working, and he has black wings.
Things aren't so clear-cut though. Is the black winged angel responsible for Alison's suicide? What is Cam here for? And what will happen when they discover that Ray can see them for what they really are?
I've read loads of angel books, to the point where I was even wondering if I was getting a bit sick of them, but I totally didn't have that problem with 'A Shimmer of Angels'. Even though this was about angels, it had a different feel to it, and I really enjoyed it.
Ray was a great character. Even though she'd been locked up in an institution, she still maintained that the angels were real, and that she wasn't crazy, which must be difficult to do when that is what everyone has been telling you for 3 years. She was shocked when she saw an angel again, but she tried her best to hold it together, which was difficult for her, especially when Alison died.
I'm afraid we did have a bit of a love triangle in this book, but it wasn't a bad one funnily enough. Cam was a 'good' angel, and although he did have feelings for Ray, he couldn't act on them, because loving a human is against the rules and will cause an angel to fall. Ray did have feelings for Cam too, but worried that nobody would want her because of the 'crazy' label.
Kade was a bit more of a bad boy, as the fallen angel, although it seemed that although he was fallen, he hadn't really gone over to the dark side, he was just living on earth as a human. Kade scared Ray initially because of his dark wings, but as she got to know him better she started to like him (no insta-love folks). Kade was my favourite out of the two though.
I liked the storyline in this book and there were plenty of twists and turns that I didn't really see coming. There was also plenty of action at the end, and some occurrences that I would never have guessed! I liked that even though this book was about angels, it wasn't your average angel story, and I liked how who was 'good', and who was 'bad' wasn't obvious or easy to work out either.
Overall; I really enjoyed this book, and I'm interested to see what will happen to Ray, Cam, and Kade in the next instalment.
7.5 out of 10.
By Rainy Days and Pajamas 14 Feb 2013
I requested this book on NetGalley but was initially a little unsure about it. I'm not big on the whole "angel" thing (with the exception of Hush, Hush) but I decided to give it a try anyway. I have to say that I'm really glad that I did because I actually really enjoyed A Shimmer of Angels.
I really liked the storyline and the characters (Kade = yum) but the leading female did get on my nerves a few times. Obviously not enough to deter me from the rest of the book, but something that did stick out to me.
I might have to rethink my stance on angel books because I really enjoyed this one a lot and definitely plan on reading the next in the series.
By Pretty Little Reader 03 Feb 2013
While A Shimmer of Angels started off quite promising - a young girl institutionalized for three years for seeing wings? That's gotta result in some pretty cool psychological twists, right? - it quickly escalated into the oh-so-stereotypical paranormal romance where the protagonist is clumsy-and-plain yet every-guy-says-she's-gorgeous, white-winged angels are good while black-winged angels are evil, love triangles run rampant, and the word love is thrown around with abandon after mere days.
Rayna was the worst kind of protagonist. At first, her mental stability was hanging by such a thin thread, I was anxious to the point of uncomfortableness, worried for her seemingly inevitable return to the S.S. Crazy - her term for the mental health institution she stayed in. As A Shimmer of Angels progressed, I looked forward to her character development as she slowly grew to realize that her hallucinations were real. Instead, I watched her tumble into confusion, as she warred with herself about her sanity. Her constantly conflicting emotions made her extremely self-centered, to the point where I began to dislike her as a character.
"Worry bit at me like a pesky mosquito. Lee was the only person in this world I could trust - with everything but the angel thing; no one would believe that. Except, well, the angels. And to repay his kindness, I'd gone and twisted myself up with Cam and Kade, leaving him high and dry. What a spectacular friend I was turning out to be. No wonder he'd missed school; he was probably avoiding me."
He couldn't have missed school because he was sick, or because he had a family emergency. No, that wouldn't make any sense. He must have missed school to avoid having to see Rayna. *headdesk* Somehow, she managed to turn her friend's possible illness or personal emergency into something concerning her; conceited, much?
I also didn't enjoy Basso's writing. She repeated the same imagery, to the point of ridiculousness.
"My hair blew into my face."
I lost count, the number of times an angel's wings made Rayna's hair blow into her face. Every time it happened, I waited to see what everyone's reaction would be to the mysterious and sudden indoor breeze. Of course, Basso never had anyone else comment on this oddity, which kept distancing me from her world. Why have something happen - and happen often - if no one's going to comment on it? Even Rayna seemed to get more agitated with each use of it, pushing the hair out of her eyes with more and more ferocity.
And then there was the list of Twilight-esque cliches that had me cringing at every instance. Rayna describes herself as plain, especially in comparison to her sister who inherited their mother's shiny blond locks and heart-shaped face, yet numerous guys seem to fall instantly in love with her - Luke, Cam, Kade - without explanation. Her clumsiness was written to rival Bella's,
"I jerked back. Too hard. My chair tipped over, talking me with it. I smacked Jeremy in my mouth on my way down. My head bounced off the floor..."
"The coffee pot shattered against the tile floor, littering me with tiny fragments of glass and a hot rush of coffee."
and she was caught in between the ultimate love triangle, with the good, white-winged angel on the one side, and the bad, black-winged angel on the other (even though the "bad" angel did nothing but help her whenever she asked...). And lastly, because what paranormal romance is complete without it's insta-love!, she managed to fall in love with someone she had about a handful of interactions with.
"Trust Cam. With not only my life, but so many others. I'd never been able to trust any of them before. But Cam was different. He had...oh what the hell, if I couldn't admit my feelings when I was falling toward Hell, then when could I? He had my heart. There, I'd said it."
But don't trust me, trust Rayna's best friend Lee:
"Sorry, Ray. I never would've pushed him on you if I'd known he'd only be around a few weeks."
I had to change the subject. The thought of Cam gone forever hurt too much."
While these YA cliches on their own are annoying enough, easily, my biggest issue with A Shimmer of Angels was Basso's treatment of the mental health system. Rayna's mental stability is a large part of A Shimmer of Angels, and it was referenced repeatedly throughout the whole book. But even though it is touched on constantly, I didn't understand Rayna's father's reasoning behind institutionalizing her for so long - and at such a young age - because we were told nothing about Rayna's history with her illness, other than the fact that she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. How long had she been seeing wings for? Had it ever caused her to harm herself or others? Was she in therapy for a while, and because it wasn't working they decided on something as extreme as institutionalization? And why was she in the institution for so long? Considering how often Rayna commented on her "craziness" during the first half of the book, I expected to learn quite a bit about her illness and the reasons for her extreme treatment. But not only was the fact that she was institutionalized at thirteen never explained, Basso takes it even further by having Rayna explain how awful it was to be restrained, which had me wondering what such a meek and scared little girl could do, while heavily drugged, in order for someone to think it was necessary to forcibly restrain her limbs? I am often asked to suspend disbelief in fiction. In this case, as nothing surrounding the treatment of Rayna's mental illness was grounded in any type of reality, I was unable to suspend such disbelief and thus, unable to enjoy anything else A Shimmer of Angels might have had to offer.