Mezzowriter's ReadWriter Blog

Reading, Writing, and The Search for Buried Gems of Literature

What I’m Reading #27: Green Angel April 15, 2010

This is the third Alice Hoffman book I’ve read and reviewed, along with Incantation and The Foretelling.  This happened to be in my car today when I went to get my hair done, and I read it while waiting.

I’m getting to be a huge fan of her lean, lovely prose.


Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

Scholastic, 2003

Courtesy of

From Booklist

Gr. 6-12. Hoffman’s latest fable for teens begins with an apocalyptic scene that mirrors the events of 9/11: a girl watches as her city across the river explodes into smoke and fire, and people leap from buildings. Green, named for her uncanny gardening talent, is 15 years old, and, in the tragedy, she loses her beloved family. Faced with grief and an anarchic world, Green finds solace in the brittle numbness of daily tasks and in the pain of the tattoos that she begins to draw on herself. Slowly, she connects with survivors, especially a mysterious boy, who helps her replant her garden and feel joy again. Hoffman’s lush prose and moody, magic realism will easily draw readers into the harsh, ash-covered world that follows the explosion, as well as the sunny world that precedes it, when “bees would drink the sweat from . . . skin, and never once sting.” Green’s brave competence and the hope she finds in romance will appeal to many teens, particularly those with gothic tastes. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Strengths: I really thought this was a beautiful book.  The idea of a post-apocalyptic fable is not new, but Hoffman makes it fresh and hauntingly lovely.  The narrative resonates with a message of hope, even in the dark terror of Green’s new world.  It’s a touching story about the power of the soul to survive even the harshest of realities.  I love its edginess that makes the softer moments even more sweet.  A fast read in Hoffman’s incredible style, it looks simple but speaks volumes.

Potential Flaws: Hoffman’s sparse style may be too bare for readers who crave lush narratives.  And the question of exactly WHAT happened to destroy the city is never truly answered (and in fact, is relatively unimportant), but some readers may be bothered by the lack of explanation.  I certainly wasn’t.

My Rating:

Classic Hoffman: Deceptively simple with a rich complexity that speaks hauntingly to the soul.


One Response to “What I’m Reading #27: Green Angel”

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