In The Arms of Stone Angels
- Jordan Dane
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
E-Arc courtesy of netgalley and Harlequin Teen
Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl’s body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me. Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can’t get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he’s not in juvie—that he’s in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can’t turn my back on him again. No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn’t trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me. I’m as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can’t be a coward. This time I have to be his friend. Even if I get lost, as well...
Brenna is a troubled teen. Firstly she sees dead people and feels more at home amongst cemeteries and graves than in her own bed. Secondly she found her friend over the body of a murdered young girl and turned him into the cops. So it’s no wonder that at the start of the book Brenna is self-obsessed and feels sorry for herself. Returning to the town she grew up in after two years she discovers that White Bird has never stood trial and has been locked inside his head ever since. For the sake of their old friendship she begins to find a way to re-connect with him and in doing so begins to re-connect herself with the people around her especially her bewildered mom. I have to admit I didn’t really like Brenna at the start - she seemed selfish and prickly, but there are good reasons for this. I liked how as the story progressed she learned to trust her mother and open up rather than bottling up her feelings.
There is a great mystery here and this takes precedent over any romance plot – an element I really appreciated having read far too many YA with the focus on romance and not plot! Most of the book is told in first person but occasionally would jump to third to explore some of the other characters motivations. At first this was a little jarring, but I appreciated seeing what others were dealing with – even if I didn’t particularly like them. The sheriff particularly comes across as prejudiced and unwilling to investigate while the other teenagers seem downright mean – what they do to Brenna should be classed as assault!
The supernatural element is downplayed but adds enough spice to make the story a good blend of mundane and otherworldly. In all this is a good YA mystery that stands out from many of the other books exploring prejudice in small towns as well as coming of age.
Recommended for fans of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Power series and Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shift series. 7 out of 10.