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I Belong

Review: No Angel by Helen Keeble

No AngelTitle: No Angel

Author: Helen Keeble

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 8, 2013

Format: Paperback, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062082272 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062082275 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


Rafael Angelos just got handed the greatest gift any teenage boy could ever dream of. Upon arriving at his new boarding school for senior year, he discovered that he is the ONLY male student. But what should have been a godsend isn’t exactly heaven on Earth.

Raffi’s about to learn that St. Mary’s is actually a hub for demons-and that he was summoned to the school by someone expecting him to save the day. Raffi knows he’s no angel-but it’s pretty hard to deny that there’s some higher plan at work when he wakes up one morning to discover a glowing circle around his head.

Helen Keeble’s debut novel, Fang Girl, has been praised for its pitch-perfect teen voice, and VOYA called it “refreshing and reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series.” No Angel brings you angels and demons like you’ve never seen them-complete with the wry humor of Vladimir Tod, sinfully irreverent romance, and some hilariously demonic teenage dilemmas.

Quick & Dirty: The author attempted to write a witty and funny story but with the very unlikeable characters and the lack of an interesting plot this story just fell flat for me.

Opening Sentence: The shiny new sign above the towering wrought-iron gates said St. Mary’s Boarding School for Girls and Boys, which, as it turned out, was wrong by one letter.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Raffi Angelos just got into the school of his dreams or at least he thought he did. Saint Mary’s was once an all girl school and this is the first year they started accepting boys. Rafi’s mother went to the school and going there will be a great honor to her memory, plus there are tons of beautiful girls that go there. Upon arriving, Raffi finds out that he is the only boy attending Saint Mary’s and he was actually summoned by one of the students. It turns out that Raffi is part angel and Saint Mary’s is sitting on a Hellgate that is starting to open. Demons are escaping and Raffi is suppose to save the day but he won’t be able to do it alone. Raffi is going to need the help of Faith, a crazy and beautiful girl that is supposedly his soulmate. And Krystal, a blunt awkward girl that is too smart for her own good. Together will they be able to figure out how to close the gates for good before the demons destroy the world!

Raffi is your typical teenage boy and while I appreciate that he was authentic, I also felt that he was rather boring because of that. He’s shallow and superficial, which made him feel very one dimensional. There were also a lot of moments when he acted like a total jerk and I really didn’t like that. Because of that I had a hard time fully connecting to his character and caring about his story. But he wasn’t all bad, he possess’s some good qualities as well. I love how witty and funny he was. He is pretty quick thinking and can usually talk himself out of most situations, which was entertaining. He is sweet, brave and a good friend. He does show quite a bit of growth throughout the story, which I appreciated, but I would’ve liked him to start out as a more likable character. Overall, I would say he was just a middle-of-the-road character for me. I think that he could’ve been developed a little bit better but ultimately he wasn’t a terrible character.

Krystal is the spunky friend and I adored her! She was by far my favorite character in the book. She is super smart and one of those people that always seems to have a plan. She’s funny, blunt, loyal, and a little rough around the edges. But underneath her tough guy facade she’s actually a really sweet girl that was easy to connect with. Her relationship with Raffi was interesting and frustrating at times. There were times that Raffi was totally a jerk to Krystal and it made me mad because she deserved better. But they worked together well and they developed a great friendship.

Faith was A beautiful girl that everyone thought was crazy. In many ways I felt very sympathetic towards her because of everything she had to go through, but at the same time I thought she was kind of annoying. She was very dramatic about everything and she seemed super uptight. I really struggled connecting with her and ultimately didn’t really like her very much.

No Angel was an interesting story that was meant to be funny and witty. Unfortunately, it fell flat and I felt like it didn’t quite accomplish what the author set out to do. There were a few good laugh out loud moments but honestly, I felt like the story just really dragged. To be honest, I got about half way through and started skimming because I was so board. I think one of the main problems was how childish the story felt. I realize it is a young adult novel but the writing read more like a middle grade story. The plot was very predictable and sadly, not very unique. I obviously had a really hard time with the characters and I didn’t particularly like the romance. Overall, this was just not the book for me, but I do think that there will be readers that enjoy it. So if it sounds good to you, go ahead and give it a try. Hopefully you have a better experience reading it than I did.

Notable Scene:

On impulse, I laid my hand over hers – and caught my breath, everything I’d been intending to say knocked out of my head by the heat of her skin. Faith’s head snapped up, her startled eyes fixing on mine. For an instant that stretched like an eternity, we just stared speechless at each other.

Then a thick, black tentacle burst out of thin air between us, and hurled Faith over the edge of the roof.

Adrenaline turned everything as sharp and clear as glass. On pure instinct, I flung myself after Faith. My entire world shrunk to her terrified face, her golden hair streaming behind her like a tail of a falling star.

I caught her. The impact knocked the breath out of me, but I gripped her tight to my chest even as I wheezed. Her arms locked around my neck.

For a moment, Faith clung to me, her breath coming in hitched gasps. I could feel her shaking as it plugged into an electric current. She lifted her head to look into my face, her own barely a handsbreath away. “Rafael,” she whispered. Goldenstar shown in the depths of her wondering blue eyes.


FTC Advisory:  HarperTeen provided me with a copy of No Angel.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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