My Book of Life by Angel

Martine Leavitt

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)




256 Pages


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When sixteen-year-old Angel meets Call at the mall, he buys her meals and says he loves her, and he gives her some candy that makes her feel like she can fly. Pretty soon she's addicted to his candy, and she moves in with him. As a favor, he asks her to hook up with a couple of friends of his, and then a couple more. Now Angel is stuck working the streets at Hastings and Main, a notorious spot in Vancouver, Canada, where the girls turn tricks until they disappear without a trace, and the authorities don't care. But after her friend Serena disappears, and when Call brings home a girl who is even younger and more vulnerable than her to learn the trade, Angel knows that she and the new girl have got to find a way out.


Praise for My Book of Life by Angel

"My Book of Life by Angel is exquisite—a story that sees into and under and above all manner of things, Martine Leavitt's angry-making, beautiful, and profoundly compassionate story is a wonder that embraces both human and divine. What a glorious book!"—Carolyn Coman, author of Many Stones, a Printz Honor Book and National Book Award Finalist

"Astonishing! This is Leavitt at her brilliant best."—Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution, a Boston Globe—Horn Book Award book

''The title is perfect, the voice authentic, the depth of research must have been excruciating. Once we begin this compelling, essential story, we find we must read to the end. The compassion and sensitivity of the telling make it possible to do so."—Helen Frost, Printz Honor Award-winning author of Hidden

"It's a rare talent who can write such beautiful poetry about such an ugly subject: the sexual exploitation or young girls. This story of a teenager on the streets sounds like it could have been ripped straight from the hands of one of the Angels I've known—it may be fiction, but this book is the real deal."—Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb

"Without a doubt this book will go a long way in building awareness in all those who read it."—Wayne Leng, creator of the Web site

"Angel’s story is a stunning, haunting portrait of exploitation and redemption."—Horn Book Magazine (Starred Review)

"Powerful moments of brutality exist alongside equally powerful moments of insight in this exceptionally moving portrayal of life on the street."—BCCB

"An astonishing, wrenching achievement.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This is a powerful book that will leave readers wishing they could hear more of Angel’s gripping story."—School Library Journal (starred review)

" . . . Angel’s story is uniquely her own, and Leavitt has done a brilliant job of imagining and recording it.”—Booklist (starred review)

In the Press

MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL by Martine Leavitt | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL . The tragedy of discarded children is skillfully explored in this stunning novel in verse.

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Bid her well beware …
When Serena went missing
I looked in all the places she might go
and she wasn’t anywhere,
just like a lot of the other girls weren’t anywhere.
I thought oh no
when Serena didn’t show up at her corner one night
and not the next night or the next,
and then she didn’t show up to church Wednesday.
She always went to church Wednesday
and told her man Asia it was for free hot dogs
but it was really for church—
she told me that secret.
Once a man came
who smelled so bad
Read the full excerpt


  • Martine Leavitt

  • Martine Leavitt has written several award-winning novels for young adults, including Keturah and Lord Death, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Heck Superhero, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. She lives in Alberta, Canada

  • Martine Leavitt



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