Desert Angel

Charlie Price

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Fourteen-year-old Angel wakes up one morning at her desert trailer home to discover her mother has been murdered by a lowlife named Scotty, who has vanished. Angel has no water, no weapon, but she knows that Scotty, an expert tracker and hunter, will surface soon in order to eliminate her as a witness. She has to run, to disappear, if she is to survive and tell the world what happened. Her flight takes her through a harsh landscape to places she never expected to be, forcing her to trust others for the first time and strengthening her in ways she doesn’t even anticipate . . . until it’s time to take a stand.


Read an Excerpt


The fight started after midnight, Scotty drunk, Angel’s mother shrill on crystal. When it didn’t die down, Angel left the trailer to sleep nearby in a small draw where one of the drainage creases made a cradle. Screened from night winds, cut off from the yelling and threats, Angel could nestle in her robe and watch the stars. She no longer made wishes. Fourteen was too old for wishes. Sleeping outside was just one more thing that had to be done. When she awakened at dawn, the truck was gone and the trailer was empty. The inside wall by the door was bloody.
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Praise for Desert Angel

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults   


* “A taut thriller about Angel, a 14-year-old who is pursued by a man who has a deadly need to silence her . . . The small, decaying towns, the Salton Sea and the desert heat provide a vivid backdrop for the unfolding drama. Angel is a tough heroine who needs help but knows if she accepts it, she is risking other lives, too. Relentless, heart-stopping suspense.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review


* “This will be a magnet for thriller aficionados.” —BCCB, Starred Review


“A fast-paced adventure.”   —School Library Journal


“Never showy, this is hard, gritty realism, and Price’s depiction of the twitchy psyche of an abused girl is dead-on. Serious thriller fans will be more than satisfied.” —Booklist


“If suspense is your bag, this is a book to read.” —VOYA


“Price delivers a visceral thriller . . . Pacing is tight, aided by direct, clipped prose that underscores Scotty’s brutality and Angel’s fragile emotional state. Both the best and worst of humanity shine through in this gripping novel.” —Publishers Weekly

In the Press

DESERT ANGEL by Charlie PriceKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of DESERT ANGEL . A taut thriller about Angel, a 14-year-old who is pursued by a man who has a deadly need to silence her.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Charlie Price

  • CHARLIE PRICE lives in northern California. His previous novel, The Interrogation of Gabriel James, was hailed as “top-notch” by Kirkus Reviews, “surprising” by Booklist, and “gripping” by BCCB, and won the 2011 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.
  • Charlie Price


Available Formats and Book Details

Desert Angel

Charlie Price

American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults