Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review - Coffeehouse Angel

Coffeehouse Angel
by Suzanne Selfors
Date: 2009
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 276
Format: e-book
Source: Amazon

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down. Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Well, that was... cute?  It's the type of book I probably would have enjoyed when I was fourteen.  But as an adult, I'm afraid that it didn't really impress me that much.  It reads like a romantic comedy intended for young teenagers... complete with a few fart jokes.  And, unfortunately, because it was supposed to be romantic, it really didn't work for me.

What was the problem?  Katrina is an okay character.  She actually describes herself (she's not really an "insert-yourself-here" sort of heroine), though parts of that had me shaking my head.  (Note to the author: Five foot eight is not that tall for a teenage girl... unless all the teenage boys in that town had stunted their growth by drinking too much coffee.  But I digress.)  Despite the fact that Katrina doesn't really know what she wants to do after she graduates, we get a good sense of her character because of how she interacts with the other people in her life: her best guy friend, Vincent; her best girl friend, Elizabeth; her grandmother, Anna; the old men who hang around her grandmother's coffee shop; and the Darling family, with their overachieving daughter and smarmy father (who just happens to be in direct competition with Anna's grandmother's coffee shop).  However, her relationship with Malcolm, the "guardian angel" (more on him in a moment), really fell flat for me.  Those two had absolutely zero chemistry, so when Katrina inevitably starts spouting about how much she loves him, it comes across as kind of phony.  The internal monologue she gives us about how it's impossible to know how love works only makes it worse.  These two people supposedly loved each other, and I had no idea why.  Saying "they just do" is a cop-out.

There was something else about this book that bugged me.  The synopsis on Goodreads (and on the inside of the book) both refer to Malcolm as a "guardian angel"... but he's only ever referred to as an "angel" in the book.  The thing is, he's actually neither.  He's a messenger, and he wears a pair of talaria... which puts him closer to the Greek god Hermes (or the Roman god Mercury... whatever floats your boat).  He's called an angel because a Catholic nun decides he is.  And I guess so the book could have a cute title.  Coffeehouse God sounds... well, silly.

The plot was okay and the story unfolded at a decent pace... but I just couldn't feel much for these characters.  Even the climax was a little disappointing, as it was resolved extremely quickly (and almost too easily).  Like I said earlier, this book might appeal to the younger end of the young adult age group... but those looking for more sophistication in their novels aren't going to find it here.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.29 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. I do remember thinking this was cute but probably not so much as an adult now-there are definitely some YA books out there that are seriously meant for the young and don't really crossover.