YA BOOK of the week

Bangor Mail - - Family Matters -

GRIEF ANGELS

by David Owen, Atom, pa­per­back £7.99, ebook £4.99

★★★★★

THIS YA novel is a pow­er­ful med­i­ta­tion on grief and friend­ship told from the per­spec­tives of two strug­gling teen boys.

Owen, 15, has moved to a new house in a new area. His dad has re­cently died, his old friends have aban­doned him, and now he’s all alone in a new school. At the new school, Dun­can has trou­bles of his own – a friend­ship group he feels in­creas­ingly iso­lated from, a ter­ror of girls, a de­pres­sion he dare not tell any­one about. Both boys are lost to them­selves at a time of dif­fi­cult change.

The story al­ter­nates be­tween each view­point as Owen and Dun­can get to know each other.

What gives the novel an ad­di­tional, rich di­men­sion are our ex­cur­sions into Owen’s in­ner world. He sees pow­er­ful vi­sions of skele­tal angels which cir­cle above him and grad­u­ally lead him on a ter­ri­fy­ing oth­er­worldly quest to seek out the an­swers about who he is and how he can con­tinue.

This is a very sat­is­fy­ing read – tense, mov­ing and emo­tion­ally in­tel­li­gent. The pol­i­tics of teen friend­ships be­tween lads are well drawn, there’s a re­ally sat­is­fy­ing arc to be gripped by, and the vis­its to Owen’s other world add a pow­er­ful, al­most mythic per­spec­tive.

Highly rec­om­mended.

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