Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review by Alex- Coffeehouse Angel

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down. Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .

First Impressions: Heard quite a bit of good things about Coffeehouse Angel. Sounds cute, interesting. Just the right thing for my mood (which was down as I was in my first weeks of school.)

Coffeehouse Angel did not disappoint me. It's every bit as cute and just as easy to relate to as I thought. For a light novel, it also provides quite bit of insight and sensible passages. For example,

"Our main focus as teenagers, according to just about everyone, is to jam-pack our lives with activities so that we can get into an Ivy League college and therefore succeed in life. Because that's the way it works. Weak application = crappy college. Crappy college = crappy job. Crappy job = crappy life. In other words, poverty, alcoholism, obesity, and depression. It's enough stress to make your hair fall out." - p. 14-15

The book just lightly taps into some of the deeper wonderings of a teenage girl.

The main character, Katrina, is someone all girls probably feel like at one point, or relate to in at least some small way. She's the average nice girl-next-door. She doesn't have any special 'thing' like her two best friends, and no matter how hard she tries, she doesn't seem to excel in anything. Katrina can be a little meek and annoying, but I think her overall goodness makes her a wonderful character.

I was actually surprised that the focus wasn't always on the guardian angel and wishes plot. Sure, there is that, and Katrina is given wishes (who go to others by mistake) like fortune and fame. But the novel's more about growing up and discovering who you are on your own, not by some magic. I didn't feel as if I was ever really able to understand Malcolm, the guardian angel, nor some of the secondary characters, as much as I wished. Katrina is well formed, but some of the other characters remained a bit of a mystery. The novel's relatively short, however, so it makes sense that not everything could be perfect.

While Coffeehouse Angel doesn't have an oustanding and original plot- and angel coming and giving someone whatever she desires (actually, pretty sure I read a series of books as a child with that exact theme)-it's the details that make it wonderful. That the novel takes place in a little town called Nordby, a Scandinavian town in the middle of the US. That Katrina's an orphan, the fact that she works at her grandmother's coffeehouse. That she really is just friends with a boy. All the little details add up and make Coffeehouse Angel a delightful novel to read.

Final Impressions: A wonderfully amazing pick-me book. Coffeehouse Angel is filled with kindness and heart, perfect for a quick read. If you love cute contemporary books like this, definitely pick this one up. Even if you don't generally like these types of books, Cofeehouse Angel may change your mind.

Add to Shelf: I'd say yes! Although I'd maybe wait until it comes out on paperback- it's 276 pages, it's not really that thick to be worthwhile to pay for in hardcover. Still, try to borrow this one if you can as soon as possible- from a friend or the library.

Note This! Katrina's grandmother owns a small, old fashioned coffeehouse, and is slowly going out of business as the next door's new coffeehouse takes all the customers. So quite a bit of the novel revolves around Katrina trying to save her coffeehouse- and therefore her life.


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