Publication date: July 21, 2009 (Walker Books)
Tags: middle grade, YA, magic, angels, coffeehouse, friendship, passion
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Katrina has no talent, no drive for anything. She’s not passionate for art, like her best girl friend Elizabeth, or swimming, like her best guy friend Vincent. All she does is help run her grandmother’s dying coffeehouse, go to school, and work at the empty coffeehouse until she goes to sleep at night.
Then, Katrina gives coffee and pastries to the young homeless guy in her alley, and her world changes. The guy, who calls himself Malcolm, says that he is an angel, and he must grant Katrina’s deepest desire before he can move on. The trouble is, Katrina doesn’t seem to know what she wants, and her first two wishes for fortune and fame only seem to get her into more trouble. The coffeehouse is in jeopardy from competition next door, and Katrina has no idea how to save it.
Malcolm can’t move on until Katrina knows what she most desires, but as they spend more time together, Katrina can’t help but think that she might want him almost as much as she wants to save the coffeehouse and find what she’s good at.
Reading COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL is like reading a Disney movie: clueless and spineless girl gets into trouble, the bit of magic she gets involved in gets her into more trouble, she realizes her potential after the troubles, she gets with the guy and they all live happily ever after. It’s a fairy tale-like story that can’t fail to be cute, and that’s how you’ll feel when reading COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL.
Katrina is simultaneously a sweetheart, with her genuine concern for the coffeehouse’s well-being, and annoying with her inaction and naivety. However, the greatest part is probably the valid ambiguity of Katrina’s positions: for example, she gets legitimately mad at Vincent for not helping her save the coffeehouse, but is also at fault herself for always waiting for someone to come to her rescue. It’s difficult to balance ambiguity in a novel, but Suzanne Selfors succeeds in this story, which is amazing.
I’m a little less impressed with the supposed romance between Katrina and Malcolm. It seemed like Katrina was a little too eager to fall in love with Malcolm simply because he was good-looking and available. Of course, this fits in quite nicely with the whole story’s overall fairy-tale-like feel, so it may not bother you all that much if you keep that in mind.
COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL is a sweet read for reluctant tween and teen readers looking for a story with a healthy dash of love, magic, and character growth. Read for the feel-good smile it will leave on your face as you turn the last page.
Jenny O'Connell (The Book of Luke)
Want more? I'll be sure to consider Suzanne's books for when I need a light read.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 4 out of 5 - I've always liked this cover, and after reading the book, I like it even more. I can totally picture Katrina looking like that Scandinavian model, and I didn't even realize there was a guy standing in the doorway until I had the book in my hand! It definitely captures the book's feeling very well.
Thank you, Anna, for sending me a copy for review!