cover image About Luv

About Luv

Angel Stell. Heavenly Image, $13.95 paper (280p) ISBN 978-0-9834853-0-8

Stell's well-structured debut features a fresh voice wasted on underdeveloped characters and a plot driven by emotional immaturity. In alternating chapters, readers are introduced to the lives of three 20-something, African-American friends: Joeziah, Jynise, and Paiyge. Mustang-driving security guard Joeziah falls for Nevaeh Charles, but when Joeziah learns she's an escort,%C2%A0he quickly ends the relationship. Jynise is obsessed with cheating fianc%C3%A9 Lansc to the point where a lunch spent stalking him results in the loss of her job. Despite Lansc's lies, Jynise seesaws between lovelorn pining and manic suspicions%E2%80%94a state in which readers will quickly lose interest. Raised by her older sister, Paiyge can't understand why her absent mother hates her. When her cartoonishly resentful sister refuses to provide answers, Paiyge decides to search for the father she's never known, discovering a painful family secret that leads to reconciliation with her mother. Stell's portrayal of friendship, family, and Christian themes may resonate with some readers, but only if they can ignore the melodrama.