Published by Knopf Books on February 8th 2011
The first time I meet an angel, it is Raphael and I am eighteen.
Miriam is an unassuming college freshman stuck on campus after her spring break plans fall through. She's not a religious girl--when pressed she admits reluctantly to believing in a higher power. Truth be told, she's about as comfortable speaking about her faith as she is about her love life, which is to say, not at all. And then the archangel Raphael pays Miriam a visit, and she finds herself on a desperate mission to save two of her contemporaries. To top it all off, her twin brother, Mo, has also had a visitation, but from the opposite end of the good-evil spectrum, which leaves Miriam to wonder--has she been blessed and her brother cursed or vice versa? And what is the real purpose behind her mission?
A good versus evil plot that finally has our lead falling for someone of her own species. I have to say the beginning of the book made me realize this wasn't going to be your average paranormal book (finally!). When Miriam receives a visit from the angel the first time, it's painful and the holy power of God literally makes her pee her pants. No joke. Finally, someone who has captured the real power of angels and how their presence really is stunning.
I like the way that we learn about Miriam. With little pieces here and there and really seeing her interact with the world around her. She does find a romantic interest and I love the real way they interact with each other. It's not all love at first sight and instant kisses. There's dates, there's getting to know each other a little bit at a time and there's not instant commitment to die for one another.
But back to the plot, Miriam becomes torn between her mission and the fact that her twin may be on the other side. She's only human and tries her best to accomplish her mission in the ways that she can. Miriam is not wonder woman, she can't magically fix things, but she uses what she has to accomplish the task.
There were parts in this book that made me cry, I'll be honest, especially towards the end. There's a ton of emotion in what is going on throughout the novel and it truly is a realistic way of threading the good vs. evil battle into the human world.
I really loved Miriam. She's realistic, comes from a home that reminds me of my own in ways, and just overall really had a cheerful spirit when all was well. I love her connection to Emmett, the tattoo artist, and seeing them grow closer throughout the book.
Her twin Mo has more charisma, but you can tell he's not as good as Miriam. He's a little too happy-go-lucky about helping out the devil when she finds out. Their relationship becomes strained during the novel. It's hard not to love your sibling and you can see that strain between them and what their missions are forcing them to do. Ultimately it comes down to this battle of emotions and the outcome changes what happens slightly, but not enough. I'm hoping to see more of these two in a sequel.
Final Verdict: I think anyone who had an upbringing in the church will relate to this, along with those who have siblings that were once close to and then drifted apart. Definitely a lot to relate to in this novel.