cover image Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery

Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery

M. Evelina Galang. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $12 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-56689-333-6

It’s the year 2000 in Manila, and 14-year-old Angel is grieving the sudden death of her papang (father). When Angel’s ináy (mother) becomes a certified nurse and moves to Chicago, Angel grasps for new footing and rejects everything from god to her supposed gift of healing hands. Through her studies, Angel becomes an activist, protesting corruption in a country where the Filipino “Comfort Women” of WWII and the 1986 Philippine People Power Revolution haunt many minds. Angel is eventually summoned to Chicago, bringing a fresh set of challenges including attending an American high school. Galang’s (One Tribe) writing is ethereal and immersive; she blends English, Tagalog, and slang in her sentences (“Pintig, I hear my papang calling, pintig”), forcing readers to tease out the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases (or fire up Google Translate). Readers may find it a challenge, but it’s entirely doable—Galang gracefully laces her narrative with contextual clues. Angel is hyperaware of her world and steeped in social consciousness; following her as she seeks her “true nature” is a pleasure and an education. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)