Monday, June 7, 2010

Penitence by Jennifer Laurens (ATWT)

Paperback: 322 pages
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing (April 29, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1933963832
ISBN-13: 978-1933963839

Seeing good and evil spirits is a gift Zoe guards with her life. Despite her guardian angel's disappearance, Zoe forces herself to accept that she still has a purpose-but how does she carry the weight of her brother's drug abuse, the hardship of living with an autistic sister, and a best friend who's obsessed with a guy who only wants Zoe? She's never felt more alone. When a mysterious spirit appears, Zoe thinks she has a new guardian angel. Instead, her brother's addiction worsens, her parents are on the brink of separation, and her best friend tries to kill her. The spirit she thinks is her new guardian isn't there to protect her: he's out to destroy her family and seize Zoe's soul. . . for Hell. Will Matthias' return mean that he is Zoe's guardian angel again? Or is their love the reason the jaws of Hell now gape open?


After spending about two weeks recovering in the hospital after a terrible accident, Zoe Dodd decides to start life with a different approach. When her previous guardian angel disappears, she's left more confused than ever. The act of keeping up with the surroundings happening in her current life take a back seat to the thoughts and sights that Zoe now experiences with a new view. Getting a new guardian angel is the last thing she expects, and when she knows who and what he really is she's gets more questions than answers. As she contemplates what this new "angel" might bring upon her world, she slowly sees signs of her life becoming more dangerous by the minute.
In this sequel of Zoe's life touched by the spiritual, Penitence brings more background on it's cast of characters, and adds a new one that's yet to be dealt with. More somber than Heavenly, Penitence digs deeper into Matthias' past, and progresses in Zoe's friendships and blossoming relationships.

Having tasted an entrancing debut with Heavenly, Penitence was just made to add to the growing suspense of future actions in Zoe's life. Dealing with her family and friends intermingles with her daily dose of dealing with the spiritual. I loved the way Laurens really developed the cast of characters in this book. She was able to explain through voices and actions the reasons for some past occurrences and build up to the present challenging events. What was deeply unexpected was Zoe's internal chaos of sensations that was the result when she slowly realized there's more to the people around her than she originally thought. It was a refreshing wave of something new in an already deeply touching tale. Leaving off on a cliffhanger just added to the thrill of waiting for the third installment in the Heavenly series, Absolution.

Grade: A

"You're the first girl who's had the guts to touch my controls." --pg. 234

Other books in the series I reviewed:
Heavenly (Book 1)