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Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery Paperback – November 5, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156689333X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566893336
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Recalling the turbulent era of the second Philippine People Power Revolution in 2001, Angel de la Luna is a poetic coming-of-age story about personal loss and the transformative power of political activism. Fifteen-year-old Angel's father was killed in a horrific accident, and with her mother consumed by grief, the teen copes by getting involved in community organizing efforts to depose President Joseph Estrada. Through her grandmother, Lola Ani, Angel also learns about the surviving Filipina "Comfort Women" who suffered atrocities during World War II. Meanwhile, Angel's mother decides to move to America for a better life, promising to send for her daughters. Unable to forgive what she perceives as maternal abandonment, Angel further immerses herself in consciousness-raising and activist work. When her mother eventually sends for her, the teen arrives in Chicago sullen and homesick; she struggles to reconnect with her mother and to bridge cultural differences. While compelling, the novel has some slight shortcomings-large chunks of Tagalog dialogue are interspersed throughout with limited context and no glossary to assist with interpretation. At times, the story feels bogged down by complex themes that potentially overwhelm when combined into one narrative. Yet, the tender generational bonds between Angel and Lola Ani, as well as the teen's staunch feminist awareness, pack an emotional punch and ring true. Galang artfully contrasts political instability in the Philippines with the personal upheaval in a teen's life in a way that will resonate with patient readers.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA

From Booklist

The death of Angel’s father has left her mother overcome with grief and Angel feeling doubly alone. When her mother subsequently leaves for the U.S., Angel must take care of her sister and grandmother. Soon she becomes involved with the activist group The Filipina Comfort Women and begins to learn about revolution. When her mother relocates Angel to the U.S., she is forced to unpack the anger and grief that she has hidden away. Galang weaves the tale of a girl’s coming of age with a country’s history as Angel’s life intersects with the 1986 Philippine People Power Revolution and the efforts of the Comfort Women of WWII. The author incorporates English and Tagalog words as well as slang throughout the novel, seamlessly giving readers context clues to discover the meanings of unfamiliar terms and dropping them right into Angel’s world. As Angel grows up, she becomes an activist and discovers more about her family and herself. Galang’s prose has a poetic lilt and her protagonist is a strong one, making this an unusual journey well worth taking. Grades 9-12. --Sarah Bean Thompson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mcarl303 on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
Another good book by Galang. I read her first book "Wild American Self" short stories. As a fellow Filipina American, born in the U.S., of immigrant parents.....when I read a book about the immigrant experience, it feels both good and bad. Good, because I'm reading stories of people I know....rebellious daughters, hard working parents, Asian American kids who want to be artists, who want to do something new.....and it also feels bad because so much of these stories are filled with pain, financial hardship, communication difficulties, confusion, frustration, anger, homesickness.

This was another great book by an Asian American writer. Filipino American female writers and readers have another great book to read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Crystal on June 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Within just a few pages I suspected that this was a book that would challenge me and make me work – make me think. Prior to reading this book I had very little knowledge about the history of the Philippines and the novel covers a lot of historical territory. The bigger issue initially though was language. The majority of the text is in English, but Galang’s characters code switch between English and Tagalog and there are no italics to be found. Yes, the meaning was often clear through context, but it was challenging to read with that bit of uncertainty. Looking to the back of the book, I found that there was no glossary, but there was a rather thorough explanation for that choice “In Context (Or, Why There is No Glossary)”[...]-... I’ve read articles about authors using or not using italics and including or omitting glossaries and she makes a very strong case for writing in this style. The reader who doesn’t know Tagalog may choose to use the Internet and find the definitions or just fall into the story and go with the flow. I really wanted to know what all of the words meant, but a conversation between Angel and her father convinced me to skip the definitions. He was explaining about how to listen to the blues, “The trick, Angel, is not to think. Just feel it.”

There is plenty to feel in this story. Angel and her family are dealing with the unexpected loss of her father. In the aftermath, her mother pulls away from the family and adds one more loss. The book moves on to other issues though as Angel becomes increasingly involved with politics. She protests the corruption in the government in an effort to overturn the presidency. This section of the book was a little harder for me to follow.
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I am only in the third chapter, but I found myself sobbing last night out of joy, relief, sorrow and simply being moved by Evelina's words and storytelling. I felt I was mourning with the family in the book, mourning my young self and how I always felt like I was stupid and a slow reader compared to American children. Being an immigrant, writing and reading has been a challenge for me though I consider myself a writer and artist now. This book in just a few chapters already captures the memory and understanding I lost after leaving the Philippines, it connects me to a motherland I can't currently return to while undocumented, it perfectly captures the religious and folklore practices and beliefs in our culture and the use of Tagalog are all woven carefully and thoughtfully in a way that moves the reader, especially if they are Filipin@ and speak Tagalog. I feel extremely nostalgic for a home I don't even remember, but am living vicariously through Evelina's writing.
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