From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A 16-year-old caught up in a life of drugs and prostitution finds the strength to protect a younger girl in this lyrical novel in verse. Angel describes how her pimp, Call, lured her from her family with promises and "candy," the drug her body craves even as she tries to resist it, and onto street corners in Vancouver, where she struggles to earn enough money to please him. Angel worries about a friend who has disappeared-there are rumors of a serial killer preying on prostitutes, though the police seem unconcerned. In simple but evocative language, Angel takes readers into her world and makes them understand how she fell into Call's clutches. But when he brings home an 11-year-old, Angel realizes that she must risk her life to fight back. Leavitt deftly tackles a difficult subject without a hint of melodrama or voyeurism. Angel's story could belong to any teen on the streets, though her voice is wonderfully unique. She sees the human side of everyone she meets, even the johns who choose her because she looks even younger than she is. Despite her circumstances, she never loses hope. Reluctant readers looking for a gritty story that is also a quick read will be swept up in this one, as will anyone who appreciates novels in verse. This is a powerful book that will leave readers wishing they could hear more of Angel's gripping story.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Angel’s life on the street begins when Call, the man she thinks is her boyfriend, gets her hooked on “candy,” and before she knows it, she is forced to sell herself to support him—and her habit. But when Call brings home an 11-year-old girl, Melli, and demands that Angel train her for the street, Angel realizes that things must change. However, change may require a miracle. This novel is itself something of a miracle: a spot-on, compassionate—and passionate—account of a heartbreakingly horrible life. Perhaps there are angels looking after Angel, though; her efforts to save Melli and herself are heroic and, ultimately, inspired. In this novel in verse, Leavitt has created in Angel’s voice a perfect mix of innocence and experience, a blend that is underscored by seamlessly introducing passages from Milton’s Paradise Lost into her narrative. Death, too, is present in Angel’s life as women she knows begin vanishing from the street—victims, perhaps, of a serial killer. The story is loosely based on the epidemic of murders that began in Vancouver in 1983 and continued through 2002. But Angel’s story is uniquely her own, and Leavitt has done a brilliant job of imagining and recording it. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart