A Million Angels by Kate Maryon

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A Million Angels by Kate Maryon

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Bittersweet story of a little girl coping with a father in the army and away on a tour of Afghanistan. Easy to read and beautifully observed, this is a lovely and very contemporary kitchen sink drama.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0007326297

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Mima's father is the light of her life. She loves him more than anything. But he's also an army officer and this story opens with him leaving for a six month tour of Afghanistan. Her mother is heavily pregnant and her grandmother is spending all her time thinking about her childhood sweetheart. Her friend Jess is busily trying to make friends at school - army brats are forever having to make new friends. So nobody really has time to pay attention to Mima, who can't get her fears about her father being killed and injured out of her mind...

... and left to her own emotional devices, Mima hatches a plan to get the army to send her father home. It doesn't go well.

I really did like this story. Mima is quite an eccentric little girl and, as a parent, I can see why her busy, frazzled mother found her quite so difficult to deal with. Mima isn't the only one missing her father but she acts as though she is. But this story is told through Mima's eyes and it's equally easy to see how all the loving and concerned adults around her miss cue after cue indicating a problem and it's no wonder that the little girl feels so alone and isolated. Somebody needs to help her start dismantling the walls she's put up around herself. And it takes a real crisis - but not one of the crises surrounding her father being wounded or killed that Mima constantly imagines - to get the ball rolling.

It's easy to read and beautifully observed, from the bitchery and cliqueishness of tween girls to the breakdowns in communication that exacerbate family tensions. Maryon has a vivid turn of phrase and a gift for expressing complicated emotions through images - straight lines and neat things make me feel like a sandwich living in a lunch box.

I really felt for Mima throughout, even though I could see all the mistakes she was making and the way in which she gave no consideration to the way other people were feeling. Once she began to do that, things started to come right for her. And it made me smile.

This is a lovely and very contemporary kitchen sink drama and tween girls will love it.

My thanks to the good people at Harper Collins for sending the book.

Ice Lolly by Jean Ure is also about a little girl missing a parent - this time through bereavement. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher features a child going to similarly extreme lengths to try and mend a family.

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Buy A Million Angels by Kate Maryon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Million Angels by Kate Maryon at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Million Angels by Kate Maryon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Million Angels by Kate Maryon at Amazon.com.


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The author said:

Hello Lovely Book Bag People,

I just wanted to say thank you SO much for giving A Million Angels such a wonderful and well observed review.

You've brought a big smile to my face and ignited a warm rosy glow in my heart.

If it were a little later in the day I'd pour myself a huge glass of red wine to celebrate - as it is I'll have a nice cup of tea!

Sending a million angels to you,

Kate xxx