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Tin Angel Paperback – October 31, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"Rich with imagery and raw with emotion...this is a must read. Starred Review." (Quill and Quire 2007-10-01)

"A finely woven, heart-wrenching, coming-of-age narration." (Kirkus Reviews 2007-10-01)

"Readers will not be able to put down this marvelous, righteous tale that feels ripped from the headlines. Cowan vividly presents issues that are worthy of classroom discussion." (VOYA 2007-12-01)

"beautifully written and well paced...Cowan gives her readers characters to connect with, characters to mourn and characters to despise, all of the unforgettable." (Vancouver Sun 2007-11-01)

"Set in the Vietnam years and alive with protests, violent activism, and the struggle for teenage rights within the court systems, this complex, multilayered novel will prompt comparisons and connections between the story's time period and today." (Booklist 2008-01-01)

"A fascinating and well-conceived first foray into YA literature... readers will stay with it from the firt page to the last." (Canadian Children's Book News 2008-04-01)

"Haunting imagery, challenging vocabulary, and subtle nuance...promis[e] a fulfilling reading experience, one created by an undeniably skilled writer." (CM Magazine 2007-11-01)

"[Cowan] evokes the isolation and beauty of the Coast Mountains, the rhythms of small-town like, and the events and mood of the late 1960s and early '70s to creat a rich story about a mysterious and violent incident and an unlikely criminal." (Montreal Review of Books 2007-09-01)

"All the elements that will appeal to young readers—it doesn't talk down to them and it allows the protagonist to solve her own problems." (Victoria Times Colonist 2008-07-01)

"Explores several very diverse topics including: the youth justice system, radical activist groups in the 1960s, and the brutality of high school life." (Resource Links 2007-12-01)

About the Author

Shannon Cowan received her Masters in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her first novel, Leaving Winter, was published in 2000. She won the Eden Mills Literary Prize in 2002, was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Competition, and received the Norma Epstein Award for Creative Writing for Tin Angel (Lobster Press, 2007). Tin Angel was also selected for Quill & Quire's "Best Books of the Year" list, and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. Cowan lives on Vancouver Island in Errington, B.C., and edits the web site


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Lobster Press (October 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897073682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897073681
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 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: #5,864,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on September 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Yesterday, a child came out to wander
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star." -- Joni Mitchell, 1970 from "The Circle Game"

Ronalda Page, 13 at the opening of the story which begins in 1969 is suffering the usual pangs of adolescence. She and her older sister Marcia, 16 live in a mountain resort called Raven's on Canada's West Coast in British Columbia. The girls are homeschooled and their mother years for a city life and an office job. She rues having inherited the rustic cabin.

In late 1969, the girls' father dies and the family moves to a house in a city. Their father dies in a car accident ironically, en route to meet an investor with the idea of saving Raven's from having to be sold. Ronalda enrolls in high school and is skipped two grades. She makes one friend, a girl with a birthmark named Janice, who later betrays her. Marcia works in a neighborhood theater and sometimes allows Ronalda in to watch movies for free.

The girls' mother sinks into alcoholism and despair, neglecting the girls and the house. The girls go for weeks without meals at home and at one point, Ronalda faints in school due to poor nutrition. Things deteriorate to the point where their mother is hospitalized.

A man named Louis has taken the girls under his wing, much to Ronalda's great displeasure. She chafes at Louis wanting to take over Raven's and eventually buy the place which she feels belongs in her family. Marcia, on the other hand is ready to accept Louis' help and is his staunchest ally.

By November 1970 things come to an ugly head. Ronalda harbors a fugitive in Raven's and, a month later confronts Louis there.
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Format: Paperback
At the age of fourteen, Ronalda Page was arrested for the murder of Louis Moss, an old friend of her mother's who had supported their family after the death of Ronalda's father. In three separate parts, Ronnie takes us back through the events that led her to this point, where she has been vilified for killing one of the town's most respectable citizens.

Raven's, an internationally renowned lodge high up in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, has been in Ronnie's family for generations, but even that can't save them from the shortage of funds to keep the place running. Despite the efforts of Ronnie's father, all of their hopes collapse when he's killed in an automobile accident, on his way to meet with a possible investor. Devastated, Ronnie's family collapses as well. Now left with few options, they sell the lodge to Louis Moss, who in turn puts them up in a suburban home in town and provides a job for Ronnie's mother.

While her mother drowns herself in alcohol and her older sister grows distant (and a bit too familiar with Louis), Ronalda struggles with her adjustment to attending school, getting along with her peers, and finding enough food in the cupboard to eat. As all of these things begin to elude her, she manages to finally find a friend in a young man who would prefer that questions not be asked. When his life and freedom come under danger, Ronnie's efforts to help him take her back to Raven's, and the horrifying night of confrontation that will change her life permanently.

The main part of this story appears to be in the third section, where Ronalda faces her detainment, questioning, and subsequent trial. While I'd been invested in Ronnie's story up until this point, I felt that the lesson obviously being taught about Canada's treatment of criminal minors detracted from Ronnie's tale somewhat. That aside, I found this book to be a well-written, poignant story with a few twists, and definitely worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
Ronalda Page, aka Ronnie, has had the perfect childhood. She lives at a mountain resort on the west coast of Canada. She has a loving mom, a beautiful older sister, and a doting father. She loves her life.

Then, after her thirteenth summer, tragedy strikes and her father is taken from them. In order to survive, they must sell the resort to Louis Moss, an old family friend who Ronnie doesn't trust. They then move to a small town near them and try to adjust to the loss of their father and husband.

Ronnie's mother becomes an alcoholic, and her sister takes up with Louis. Ronnie feels alone and not wanted. She is malnourished and ignored. Then, on a fateful night, Louis Moss is killed and Ronnie is framed by the local police for the murder and is tried as an adult.

The treatment of Ronnie by the police is brutal and is the most interesting part of the story. I felt that Ronnie simply reacted to the events of her life and never fought. Even when she goes on trial, she just lets things happen to her. She never lets authorities know what a hell she is living in and never trusts anyone to help her. During part of the story she is set up by a girl that she doesn't really like to let a boy make out with her and thinks that this is wrong but doesn't stop him. I mean, she is told to go behind the gym after school and she does, even though she knows what will happen, She doesn't like that her mother is not there, but she doesn't even try to make life livable. I had a hard time thinking that she didn't know how to cook when she was adept at living on her own in the mountains.

Even with these problems, though, it is a story which will make you think and be thankful for the wonderful legal system we have now.

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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