Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

Title: Heavenly
Series: Heavenly #1
Author: Jennifer Laurens
Available: Now
Reading Level: Young Adult

4 out of 5 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoe's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoe lost in her broken life. Zoe escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoe's autistic sister. After Zoe is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.

My thoughts:

Zoe is dealing with issues most other teens can’t relate to. Her family dynamic was altered significantly when her autistic sister was born. What was initially joy filled became heartbreaking and stressful as they came to realize what this diagnosis meant. Add in a younger brother with a drug problem, parents who are too stressed out to see what is happening in their own home, and you have one stressed out chick. She feels resentment towards her parents and her sister, Abria, which in turn makes her feel guilty. Zoe uses alcohol (and boys) as a way to escape her strained family life. She feels as long as it is just in a social setting it isn’t bad. After an encounter with a man who Zoe believes might be Abria’s guardian angel, she starts to look at life and her choices very differently.

Jennifer Laurens’ has a style of writing that made Heavenly hard to put down. As she describes the party, the music, and the vibe over the first few pages it is easy to feel like you’re actually there. It is at this party we meet main character, Zoe. Zoe is a flawed protagonist. She hasn’t made the best choices, and continues to struggle throughout the novel with her issues with alcohol. What I loved about her is that you can tell the desire to do the right thing is there. She may feel resentment towards her little sister and the changes their lives have gone through because of her autism, but she loves her unconditionally. 

Mystery man, Matthias, maintained the mysterious element throughout the book. Yes, we learn a few things but I know there are many more layers to him than what was revealed. Readers experience what Zoe is thinking and feeling along with her interpretations of the looks he gives her. I’m not sure it can even be called a romance. Zoe has a crush no doubt, but for the most part Matthias keeps his feelings mum. Zoe looks at him in a light other boys have never occupied. I love how she compares the intensity of her feelings for him to previous entanglements, and realizes it isn’t even on the same level. Her feelings for Matthias help her to learn to respect herself. Something she so desperately needed. The ending left me with so many unanswered questions and definitely longing for more from this series. 

The one thing I absolutely loved about this book is the characters had to struggle to achieve their goals. The changes didn’t happen overnight. They relapsed, they were angry, but they wanted it. It gave it a realistic vibe that as a reader I appreciated.

I’d highly recommend Heavenly to fans of angel books who are looking for a slightly different take. Heavenly does have alcohol and drug use. Also contains some sexual situations. With that said the booze, drugs, and sex aren’t glamorized, and lessons are learned.

Books in this series:

Heavenly (Volume 1)Penitence (Volume 2)Absolution (Volume 3)

Jennifer Laurens on the web:


  1. This sounds like something I'd love. Excellent review, Christie :)

  2. ~sigh~ I love a good romance! It's also lovely how romance is tied in with struggle. Putting characters through hell is so effective. ^_^ Great review, thanks!

  3. I don't really like the covers, but hey don't judge a book by it..right..but I do love the description of it. And I like hearing that the characters didn't get anything for *free*. I have not heard much about these books, but now I do have to look them up. Great review.

  4. Wonderful review, while these type of books aren't my cup of tea I always enjoy reading others reviews.

  5. Ah. Matthias is so awesome. I didn't want to put this one down either, and same goes for Penitence and Absolution.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog