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Review - Devine Intervention

Monday, June 11, 2012
Devine Intervention
by Martha Brockenbrough

Publication: June 1, 2012
Pages: 320
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Imprint of Scholastic Inc.)
Buy it: AmazonB&N | Book Depository

Jerome Hancock is Heidi Devine's guardian angel. Sort of. He's more of an angel trainee, in heaven's soul-rehabilitation program for wayward teens. And he's just about to get kicked out for having too many absences and for violating too many of the Ten Commandments for the Dead.

Heidi, meanwhile, is a high school junior who dreams of being an artist, but has been drafted onto her basketball team because she's taller than many a grown man. For as long as she can remember, she's heard a voice in her head - one that sings Lynyrd Skynyrd, offers up bad advice, and yet is company during those hours she feels most alone.

When the unthinkable happens, these two lost souls must figure out where they went wrong and whether they can make things right before Heidi's time is up and her soul is lost forever.

Devine Intervention is a light-hearted read about two misfits in the forms of a guardian angel and his ward. Beginning with a story from Jerome's past, the book alternates perspective between Jerome's first-person narration and Heidi's third person narration. It's a bit of an awkward transition at first, but I enjoyed looking at each character through their own eyes in addition to the other narrator's perspective. Both Heidi and Jerome have their respsective strengths and misgivings about themselves, and they've had a rough time with their friends a families.

Jerome is quite the character, as well as the source of all the comic relief in this book. He doesn't have the brightest track record, never having believed that he could make something of his life while he was still alive, and he's done some cruel things that he's not proud of. In fact, if he didn't make me laugh so much, I would write him off as a jerk. Cross that. He is a jerk. A nice, well meaning jerk. Heidi, on the other hand, is more timid. She doesn't go out of her way to take the spotlight despite being rather tall for a girl. While everyone encourages her to take advantage of her height on the basketball court, Heidi prefers to spend her time drawing--paper, napkins, her jeans... you name it, and she's probably doodled on it at least once in her life, if not fifty times. The only unique quality she believes she possesses is the voice lurking in the back of her mind, and it's not something that she likes to share with people because they'll think she's crazy.

In addition to the narration, the book presents the Ten Commandments for the Dead and the Ten Commandments for the Living, which are revealed one by one as they apply to Jerome and Heidi. The first threatens Jerome with a sentence to Hell, and the second presents hope to the two. More than a book meant for comic relief, Devine Intervention explores self-identity and one's purpose in life, some heavy topics that teens sometimes only consider when faced with death. I myself never considered my future seriously until the end of my first semester of college. Heidi is like me in that she thought that she would have time later, and Jerome couldn't appreciate his life until after death.

As the book progresses, Jerome and Heidi learn more about themselves and what is important to them. I enjoyed watching Jerome mature from a fun-loving, immature teen to someone willing to place his soul at risk to protect those he cares about, and Heidi from a timid teenage girl who listens to others to someone able to speak her mind and follow her heart. Someone won't always be around to tell her what to do, and life won't get better if she waits for someone to tell her what to do. Every teen realizes this at some point. Devine Intervention is a read for those who appreciate humor in a YA novel with paranormal elements. It is also a read for those who appreciate a good, realistic ending that will move readers to tears.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
6 comments on "Review - Devine Intervention"
  1. seems like a pretty.. different YA? from your review i kind of had a bit of everything? but I'm not that into the different POVs and the transition, however the cover is cute!

    great review!

    - juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    1. It's one of the cuter paranormal reads that I think of as a contemporary novel with a paranormal twist. It's a book that I can recommend to upper grade school children and tweens. Yeah, multiple POVs works better for me when it's done in all in third person.

  2. LOL from the way you describe him, I already know that Jerome is going to steal my heart! I love boys who can make me laugh, even if they are jerks (albeit nicejerks sometimes) -- actually, I'm pretty sure that's especially if they're jerks LOL x) And I love that Heidi writes on her jeans, because I've always adored artistic people like that!

    Amazing review, Kris! Gotta love those paranormal contemps :) <3

    1. LOL. I seem to have a soft spot for YA jerks as well. And paranormal contemps rock <3

  3. I really want to read this now. Jerome sounds like a character I'd love, even if I hate jerks. Well meaning jerks are a whole different story, though. ;) Heidi sort of reminds me of one of my friends, although my the only connection between them is art and height. My friend's a total bitch, but she's an amazing artist. Her jeans always have doodles on them.

    Great review! This sounds like a different genre than what I usually read, but I've added it to my tbr list. Thanks for reviewing.

    1. This has been a different read from my norm as well, but I really enjoyed it. I usually don't like jerks as well, but after getting to know Jerome I can say it's just in his manners. He means the best, and he's learned from his mistakes.


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