When seventh-grader Bette finds an angel coin she puts it in her pocket and forgets it but soon the mysterious and kind Gabby moves into her building and helps her face her major losses, and then the coin connects her with three classmates who all find new ways to believe in themselves.
A simple coin stamped with the image of an angel doesn’t really have super powers but somehow this little talisman brings together four students from a performing arts magnet middle school in a magical way. The Broadway musical, “The Big River,” an adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, is the backdrop for this delightful novel. Bette is grieving over the death of her mother, her sister has gone away to college and her father is so involved in his new nightclub he’s never home. Joe is a bully; angry at his absent father, trying to be a loving and supportive son to his divorced mother, while preying on weaker kids at school. Andy is small for his age, plays the violin and is the victim of Joe’s abuse. Viv is Andy’s twin sister, an accomplished pianist, trying to grow up with severe asthma and transitioning from being home-schooled back to a regular classroom. Ilene Cooper takes these diverse personalities and weaves their stories into an engrossing story about finding friendship in unexpected places.
Recommended by: Roberta Ash, Eagle Branch Library
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