May 19, 2014

The A-Word Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Joy Preble's The A-Word! Today I have my review of the book to share with you and don't forget to follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the banner above!

The A-Word (Sweet Dead Life #2)

Author: Joy Preble
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen


Jenna Samuels is about to turn fifteen. It's been almost a year since her stoner brother, Casey, bit the dust. Almost a year since he returned as her guardian angel, along with his "angel boss," Amber Velasco, the hot twenty-something former EMT. Almost a year since Casey and Amber used up their one-time-only angel power of flight to save Jenna from the evil Dr. Renfroe, swooping down to catch her as she tumbled off the balcony at the Houston Galleria. In short, a lot of A-word shenanigans and a mostly happy ending.

Except now Casey's begun to wonder why he's still hanging around—not that he minds protecting Jenna. She's a handful, but there's got to be a bigger picture, right? Something to distract him from his on again/off again, doomed relationship with cheerleader Lanie Phelps, who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead. After all, he can't use his angel wings anymore. Neither can Amber.

Enter Bo Shivers, Amber's "angel boss"—a mysterious A-word guy Jenna and Casey didn't even know existed. Whiskey-guzzling. Handsome in a grizzled way. Unpredictable. Okay, make that crazy. Bo lost his angel wings in an earthly flight a long, long, long time back—and he's been a thorn in Angel Management's side ever since. But Bo knows something is coming. Something big. Something that was worth forfeiting wings for Jenna... something that might just change everything for everyone.
The A-Word is the second installment in a young adult paranormal series that follows leading lady Jenna Samuels along with her brother, Casey, who is now an angel (a-word) as they try to go back to their normal lives after the catastrophe that happened last year - when Jenna almost died and Casey died to protect her and then came back as her guardian angel. Things are hard enough with high school, boys, friends, and the other things Jenna can't talk to anyone about except Casey - then enter the mysterious Bo Shivers. He's the boss of Casey's A-word boss, Amber. They didn't even know he existed until he appeared out of nowhere - a bit rough around the edges and with tidings of bad things to come. 

I found this to be a fun and solid second book in a series that combines humor and paranormal elements to form an original creation. I loved all the tidbits of information we get to learn about throughout the book - about the angels, their history, the stories about the trouble that's coming - all of it had me fascinated from the beginning. Jenna continues to be a realistic teenage character who does a pretty good job of balancing normal teen problems with the A-word stuff that's going on around her. We see a bit of character growth in both her character as well as Casey's, which I thought was refreshing. The plot wasn't anything totally original, but the author did a good job with the humor and descriptions to make it stand out in its own right. I loved getting to know the secondary characters better as well as more of the angel lore and prophecies. Overall, this is a well written YA paranormal sequel in a series that gives a different and fresh look at angels and the humans they protect. Recommended for fans of the genre as well as those who enjoy fantasy and paranormal fiction.

Joy Preble is the author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series (Sourcebooks) and the SWEET DEAD LIFE series (Soho Press), a YA Texas makeover of the angel book. Joy grew up in Chicago, where she dreamed of being a back up singer but settled for becoming a writer so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives with her family in Texas, where when she's not writing, you can find her eating guacamole, watching trash TV, and embracing her inner nerd.

Joy's DREAMING ANASTASIA series (DREAMING ANASTASIA, HAUNTED, ANASTASIA FOREVER - all from Sourcebooks) blends YA paranormal romance with historical fiction. DREAMING ANASTASIA was nominated for a Cybil Award in the Teen Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category in 2009. It was named a Best Book for Children, Teen Category in 2009, and was featured in Justine Magazine.

Joy's THE SWEET DEAD LIFE series (THE SWEET DEAD LIFE and the forthcoming THE A WORD, May 2014, both from Soho Press) are part of the new Soho Teen imprint. Kirkus hailed THE SWEET DEAD LIFE with "Hallelujah! A paranormal tale of angels that's not a romance, making it a novel that breaks the mold."

Booklist observed, "There's a whole lot going on here: poisonings, blackmail, sibling relationships, romance, and abandonment, in addition to angels, but the unifying thread is Jenna's clever, bitter, self-aware, and loving voice... Preble's lively descriptions and unusually well-drawn, caring sibling relationship (a topic not usually explored in teen fiction) are especially noteworthy."

Joy is a member of SCBWI and RWA and speaks and presents widely on writing, books and literacy.

Joy earned an English degree from Northwestern University and has held a variety of jobs including: English teacher, youth education director, JV girls' volleyball coach, and some positions in the fast food industry that are best left unmentioned. She still knows how to make change and has a deep regret for the incident with the milkshake machine. (Picture and information taken from author's website.)

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* A big thanks to Soho Teen for sending me a copy of the book for review!*

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