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Martine Leavitt

My Book of Life by Angel

Martine Leavitt My Book Of Life By Angel
$8.56 New
 
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Biographical note:

Martine Leavitt has written several award-winning novels for young adults, including Keturah and Lord Death, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Heck Superhero, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. She lives in Alberta, Canada.

Excerpt from book:

Bid her well beware …
 
 
 
When Serena went missing
I looked in all the places she might go
and she wasn’t anywhere,
just like a lot of the other girls weren’t anywhere.
I thought oh no
when Serena didn’t show up at her corner one night
and not the next night or the next,
and then she didn’t show up to church Wednesday.
She always went to church Wednesday
and told her man Asia it was for free hot dogs
but it was really for church—
she told me that secret.
Once a man came
who smelled so bad everybody pulled away,
but Serena said, welcome, you are with friends,
have a hot dog.
She said she picked me to love
because of my name Angel and because of my face,
but then she loved me just because.
She said that.
She said her heart’s desire was to see an angel.
She said, if I could see an angel
that would mean I’m still God’s little girl.
 
She said,
Angel, if you get scared sometime
on a bad date,
do this—
She stared big-eyed at nothing over my head
and said
angel, angel …
I laughed, said, you see an angel?
She said, no not yet,
but just saying it or thinking about one
has powers.
Really, Serena? I said.
ha ha really?
you think there is such a thing as angels?
She said soft, maybe.
But she meant yes really.
 
The first time Call told me
to get out there
and me scared and not knowing anything
and Call watching from the café across the street
saying no more candy for free—
that first time Serena said, I’ll tell you what I know.
She said, your eyes be always on the man
you don’t have eyes for anyone but him
you don’t have business with anybody but him—
that’s the only way he can stand it,
if you aren’t alive except when he needs you to be.
Serena taught me about drinks and dinner,
told me how to make it go fast, how to fake it.
She said, and don’t you forget
your name suits you.
 
When she wasn’t at church Wednesday
I said, Asia, where is she?
He said, she’s run out on me.
I thought, but did not say,
she gave me her running-away money
to hide under my mattress
and it is still there.
 
Last church Wednesday
Serena said to me,
Angel, you write about Nena
who had a pretty house
and pretty parents
and was a ten minute walk from Micky D’s.
One day she didn’t go home for supper
and then she didn’t go home for curfew
and then she didn’t go home.
Nena went for a burger
and ended up at Hastings and Main.
Her man, the one who found her, lonesome,
said to his friends,
it’s the ones from good homes
who follow orders best—
it’s the ones from good families
who have the best social skills,
who never learned how to fight—
they make the best money.
 
Serena said to me,
tell the story of Connie
who said, I’m leaving the life behind,
who said, I’m going to testify against the man
who brought me here and dogged me awful.
She said, I’m going to protect other girls
and get that boy in jail.
On courtroom day, there he was,
wearing a pink tie,
and in every seat of the courtroom
were his buddies,
saying with eyes
if he goes down
so do you.
Write how Connie failed to prove to the judge
that she was in imminent and present danger
so her man walked away
and Connie got * "Angel’s story is a stunning, haunting portrait of exploitation and redemption." —Horn Book Magazine, starred review

* "This is a powerful book that will leave readers wishing they could hear more of Angel’s gripping story." —School Library Journal, starred review

* "Angel’s story is uniquely her own, and Leavitt has done a brilliant job of imagining and recording it." —Booklist, starred review

* "Exquisite." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "An astonishing, wrenching achievement." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Powerful moments of brutality exist alongside equally powerful moments of insight in this exceptionally moving portrayal of life on the street." —BCCB

"Astonishing! Dark matter shot through with light. This is Leavitt at her brilliant best." —Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner

"My Book of Life by Angel is exquisite—a story that sees into and under and above all manner of things. Martine Leavitt’s angry-making, beautiful, and profoundly compassionate story is a wonder that embraces both human and divine. What a glorious book!" —Caroyln Coman, author of Many Stones, a Printz Honor Award and National Book Award finalist book

"The title is perfect, the voice authentic, the depth of research must have been excruciating. Once we begin this compelling, essential story, we find we must read to the end. The compassion and sensitivity of the telling make it possible to do so." —Helen Frost, Printz Honor award–winning author of Hidden

"Martine Leavitt creates a tight, desperate space where Billy Budd and Lucifer co-mingle. Unblinkingly grim. Masterfully ethereal." —Rita Williams-Garcia, author of One Crazy Summer, a National Book Award finalist book and a Newbery Honor book

"Without a doubt this book will go a long way in building awareness in all those who read it." —Wayne Leng, creator of missingpeople.net


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