cover image Angel in My Pocket

Angel in My Pocket

Ilene Cooper, Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-37014-5

Cooper (The Golden Rule) composes a quiet story set in Chicago that leavens the realistic problems of four near-teenagers with a hint of magic. Bette is grieving over her mother's death and her sister's recent departure for college ("[I]n the part of her where belief might have been there was only a void") when she finds a coin with an angel on it. Soon after, things take a turn for the better. Then Bette's hostile classmate, Joe, who is dealing with economic stress at home, steals the coin, and the luck seems to transfer to him. Finally, fraternal twins Vivi and Andy, also from Bette's school, receive the talisman. All four seventh-graders are artistic, yet are bogged down by self-pity and pain. When a school musical and several unexpected visitors draw them out, they are given the chance to recover and shine. Cooper's introspective novel gently circles around themes of overcoming pain and applying one's talents. The characters and setting are lovingly crafted, and readers will be left contemplating the roles of luck, magic, and inner strength in the kids' transformed lives. Ages 10–14. (Mar.)