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Devine Intervention Hardcover – June 1, 2012
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Starred Review. Jerome is no teen angel.A hell raiser when alive and killed by his cousin in eighth grade in an unfortunate archery accident, he has spent his afterlife in Soul Rehab assigned to Heidi in an attempt to win his way into Heaven. Not that he's very committed to the notion; he lost his \u0022Guardian Angel's Handbook\u0022 pretty much right away, but he sort of tries. Heidi has more or less enjoyed Jerome's company, though he could sometimes be annoying. When Heidi, having experienced unendurable humiliation in a high-school talent show, ventures onto thin ice and falls through, Jerome does his best to save her soul—as much for her own sake, he's surprised to find, as for his. Brockenbrough devises a devilishly clever narrative, alternating Jerome's first-person account with Heidi's tightly focused thirdperson perspective. Tying both together are commandment-by-commandment excerpts (often footnoted) from Jerome's lost handbook, each stricture slyly informing the
succeeding chapter. The rules governing Jerome's afterlife lead to frequently hysterical prose. He can't swear, of course, so he substitutes euphemisms: \u0022… if I weren't so chickenchevy\u0022; \u0022It was a real mind-flask.\u0022 Beneath the snark, though, runs a current of
devastatingly honest writing that surprises with its occasional beauty and hits home with the keenness of its insight. As the clock ticks down on Heidi's soul, readers will be rooting for both Jerome and Heidi with all their hearts. (Paranormal adventure. 12 & up)
Heroes don\u2019t get much more unlikely than Jerome Hancock, who met an early demise
courtesy of an arrow to the head. In the 16 years since, Jerome, frozen at age 17, has been
laboring through afterlife rehab, trying to make it into heaven. He\u2019s not promising
material, but he\u2019s game, sticking close to Heidi Devine, the soul he\u2019s been assigned for
guardian angel duty. \u201cHow much work could a baby be?\u201d he says. \u201cAlso, her mom was
hot, so I didn\u2019t mind hanging around one bit.\u201d Heidi grows up to be an awkward, selfconscious
teen, who thinks motormouth Jerome is just the voice inside her head until she
accidentally falls through pond ice and drowns, discovering that there is a soul that goes
along with that voice. But is Heidi really dead? Jerome\u2019s bumbling logic and wickedly
funny observations are what make Brockenbrough\u2019s first book for teens so much fun.
Underneath the occasionally risqu\u00e9 humor and unexpected plot twists (including the
possession of multiple animals\u2019 bodies) is an insightful story about seizing life for all it\u2019s
worth while you have the chance. Ages 12–up. - Jill Corcoran, the Herman Agency
By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
June 11, 2012
In Martha Brockenbrough's heaven, old people show too much leg playing leap frog, and the church choir covers classic rock. Clearly, Brockenbrough is not a follower of the New Testament.
That's good news for heathen readers who will delight in the author's absurdist take on the after life in her devilishly riotous young adult debut, \u0022Devine Intervention.\u0022 Steeped in the heavenly tropes of guardian angels and lost souls, \u0022Devine Intervention\u0022 is a satire in the vein of Libba Bray's \u0022Beauty Queens,\u0022 only with a decidedly sacrilegious twist.
It opens with a page from a handbook that is sent, upon death, to select members of SRPNT—the Soul Rehab Program for Nefarious Teens (Deceased) — in an effort to combat the \u0022growing problem of crowding in the lower levels of Hell.\u0022 One of those teens is a 17-year-old named Jerome, who had the misfortune of being punctured in the forehead by a friend's wayward arrow and finds himself at the pearly gates that are festooned with motivational posters and guarded by a man with \u0022a mustache the size of a harmonica.\u0022
Jerome reacts as any dead teen would when denied immediate entrance and given specific rules to follow to reclaim his soul. He misplaces the handbook and proceeds to violate its Ten Commandments for the Dead.
Among his soul rehab assignments was playing guardian angel to 16-year-old Heidi, but the one time he was really needed, Jerome was too busy yukking it up with a fellow SRPNT member to prevent Heidi from walking across a frozen pond and falling through the ice to her death. Now Heidi and Jerome are both in soul limbo.
The two are quite the odd couple. Heidi is a \u0022not hot ... cross-dressing lumberjack,\u0022 according to one of the book's uncharitable bit players. Jerome is a sexually frustrated virgin. But in death, their relationship is like an old marriage — more familiar than romantic, as well as conflicted, especially once Heidi realizes Jerome may have jeopardized her soul through sheer laziness.
They do have one thing in common that's likely to resonate with the book's intended audience. Neither Jerome nor Heidi felt loved by friends or family or were especially true to themselves when living. Death allows them to witness loved ones from another plane like a scene from Charles Dickens' \u0022A Christmas Carol.\u0022 Seeing others grieve their absence builds the self esteem of these troubled souls and brings some emotional heft to a story where comedy dominates.
\u0022Devine Intervention\u0022 is told in chapters that volley between a third-person perspective on Heidi and first-person narratives about Jerome. While both perspectives are written with searingly inventive humor, it's Jerome's voice that will have readers flipping pages as quickly as they can turn them to see what he'll have to say next.
Brockenbrough is a gifted writer who finds amusement in focusing on life's minutiae and who captures the slow-mo drama with which teens experience them, such as the time when Heidi's \u0022tongue felt like a lump of nasty cotton living in the armpit of a bum who has an apartment at the dump and not even the good kind of dump with busted car parts. The kind with fish heads ... and old transvestite wigs.\u0022
It is a pleasure to read a writer who so delights in language, and who writes so captivatingly in a teen voice with such imaginative description.
The story isn't without its flaws, however. The timeline of certain scenes is confusing, including the lead-up to the book's conclusion, which sees Heidi's fading soul morph in and out of a dog's body. But for readers who appreciate an apocryp
About the Author
More About the Author
- The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, July 2013, Arthur A. Levine Books
- Finding Bigfoot: Everything You Need to Know, August 2013, (Feiwel and Friends)
- Devine Intervention, a young adult novel about the world's most inept guardian angel and the girl he accidentally kills. Arthur A. Levine is publishing this book on June 1, 2012.
- Things That Make Us [Sic], published in 2008 by St. Martin's Press
- It Could Happen to You, published in 2002 by Andrews McMeel Universal
She writes about pop culture, parenting, and other topics for MSN.com, Women's Health, Parenting, and other publications. Corporate clients include Cozi, Cranium, Hasbro, and Digital Kitchen.
She teaches a course in writing children's literature at the University of Washington (the spring section).
She founded both National Grammar Day and SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. National Grammar Day is every March 4. Mark your calendars!
Martha is on the national blog team for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
She has worked as a newspaper reporter, a high school teacher, and as editor of MSN.com.
Top Customer Reviews
My book preferences lean toward realistic fiction, so I wasn't sure I'd connect with Devine Intervention.
However, it's so full of heart and wisdom that I was hooked and read it in a day.
It made me laugh out loud many times, which is such a gift.
When I was done there was that blend of sadness that it was over and contentment from a fulfilling read.
The character of Jerome, who hides his grief and vulnerability behind a mask of obnoxious yet endearing self-absorption and cluelessness, reminds me of many boys I've known. He is so well-written that it was almost uncomfortable to be in his presence at times. And I mean that in the most positive way.
As a writer, I was in awe of Ms. Brockenbrough's skillful blend of two narrators, her tying up of every single thread in a satisfying way, and her inclusion of not one, but two sets of Commandments- one for the Living and one for the Dead.
Lots of wonderful grey areas in this book, too. It's a winner.
I really loved Brockenbrough's writing. I hate being bored, and while reading this book, I was more than entertained. There are so many twists in this novel that the reader may guess at, but never assume will happen. Devine Intervention could be read and enjoy by any female with a sense of humor. I give this novel five stars!
*Complimentary copy received for review, this in no way affects my opinion*
Following Jerome, a 17 year old boy (for the past 16 years) shot by an arrow and relegated to soul rehabilitation, and his awkward, unpopular charge Heidi, DEVINE INTERVENTION is a story about one boy's attempts to convince the girl he protects that 1.) he is not schizophrenia and 2.) he can actually save her. When an unthinkable accident happens, splitting Heidi's soul from her body, Jerome only has little more than a day to make sure she gets to Heaven, because no matter what, the fact he got her killed means a one way trip to Hell for eternity.
This book brought the tears - the happy tears, the sad tears, the tears of laughter that roll down your face in happy globs. It's a hilarious book about a difficult subject - life and the choices we make in it. It's so imaginative and unique and fun that I fear that I cannot accurately convey how much I adored this book and the characters in it. Bravo, Martha Brockenbrough - your YA debut has made me almost speechless. But not quite, because I have so much to just babble off about this one.
The characters are atypical. Jerome is a black sheep in reform after killing a cat while participating in underage drinking. Heidi is a social outcast with an embarrassing track record behind her.Read more ›
Hmm. So...this book wasn't terrible. It was okay. It was actually kind of cute but a little childish. It was meh.
Jerome was a troublemaker when he was alive. Not exactly malicious but kind of dumb and easily influenced by his older cousin Mike. Then when he was seventeen, his cousin shot him in the head with an arrow, killing him. Because he had been a troublemaker during his life, after death he was placed in a rehab/angel training thing. If he wants to go into Heaven, he has to pass through the training.
He is placed with Heidi when she is a baby. He is supposed to be her guardian angel, but he doesn't do a very good job if it. For most of Heidi's life, she believes she is crazy, hearing voices.
Heidi is a pretty typical sixteen year old girl; self-conscious, a little shy. She's a talented artist but her family doesn't give her much support. Instead they make her play basketball because she's freakishly tall and they want her to get a scholarship.
After a series of very embarrassing events at school, Heidi is walking her dog around a frozen pond, feeling sorry for herself. Jerome is not following her as he should be and she falls through the ice, and instead of saving her, he accidently pulls her soul out of her body. Now it's a race to get her soul back into her body before it disappears forever.
As I said, the book wasn't terrible. But it was written a bit on the younger side of the YA genre. More for middle school age. Which is fine, I think someone younger than me would probably enjoy this book.
It was also a tad weird.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good read from beginning to end with a perspective on life & death & heaven & hell I didn't expect.Published 6 months ago by P. M. Dionne
I've never written a review for Amazon before and I don't know the author from Adam. I borrowed the book from the library, because it was there when I needed something to read, but... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Maria Simson
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile. Read more
"Devine Intervention" and I never clicked. I really tried to like it but just couldn't get into it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by u mad, bro?
At the start of this book, I was ready to sit down and begin a book that would probably be about the dramatic adventure of two completely different beings trying to make it through... Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Jess Terhune
Originally posted on my blog, Books Forget Me Knot.
From the very first page to the very last word, Martha Brockenbrough's Devine Intervention captured my heart. Read more
Okay, so this probably sounds like any other guardian angel book full of gooey romance and annoying heroines, but if you read the synopsis then you'll know that this isn't one of... Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by Daniela @ YA Book Season
Devine Intervention is the kind of book that I can enjoy while I am reading, but I just could not fall in love with it. It is funny and lighthearted, but not very memorable. Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by Teresa