Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down. Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .
Katrina lived most of her life in her grandmother’s coffee shop, helping her maintain the place with another friend Irmgaard, who has been helping them out without a word because of her vow of silence. Business for their coffee shop was dying because of the next door coffee shop Java Heaven, which is more modern than theirs, and naturally attracts more customers. Katrina generally keeps to herself, happy with her two best friends Vincent and Elizabeth, but deep inside, she’s sad because she doesn’t know what she’s good at, unlike them.
One day, Katrina chances upon a homeless guy sleeping in the alley, and despite her fears about him, she leaves him some food to tide his hunger over. Little did she know that this little act will change her life.
In this time of teen girls falling in love with boys who have supernatural roots, it’s easy to get jaded over the entire concept already. That’s because everything pretty much has the same storyline: girl meets mysterious guy, tries to stay away but is very attracted, ends up spending time with him, learning his dangerous secret, but still falling in love regardless of the possible consequences. It gets tiring, really, and one can only use so many creatures to fall in love with.
Coffeehouse Angel was a fresh twist on that storyline. In a way, it may not even be the same storyline because the romance part wasn’t the sole focus of this novel, but mainly Katrina, and finding out what she is passionate about. Malcolm, the angel, was more of a catalyst than a main character or a love interest, for that matter. I had fun reading this because all the characters were well developed, from the old men who hang out at Katrina’s coffee shop to Ratcatcher the cat. The conflict felt real, and I felt especially sympathetic to Katrina when she started to lose Vincent when he started dating someone.
The story wasn’t shallow either — a lot of things were revealed as the story progressed, and I would never have guessed why Irmgaard was quiet all the time, or why Heidi, Katrina’s “rival” was doing what she was doing. Important lessons were imparted in the book as well, such as being the better person by not blackmailing your enemy, living life, finding your passion and forgiveness.
The only thing that didn’t really sit well on me was, surprisingly, the love angle. I didn’t really feel that much chemistry between Katrina and Malcolm, except that she was annoyed at him first, but as they got to know each other, he just had this “warm” aura that everybody loves. It was clear that they liked each other, but it was kind of hard for me to really believe it. I probably would have believed it more if Katrina fell for Vincent or something like that. Nevertheless, the ending was quite good, too, and it didn’t mean losing one’s mortality, or going totally crazy over each other that they lose their identity.
It’s a good story, one of substance, and one that I would definitely recommend over the other YA supernatural romance novels out there. :)
I end this review with this quote from the book.:
Was I really going to the Solstice Festival with an angel? How do you wrap your head around something like that? There are so many stories about girls dating vampires and fairy kings but those are dark stories, dangerous where the simple act of falling puts the girl’s life at risk. Malcolm didn’t seem one bit dangerous. Angels are supposed to be pure and sinless, so it would be a pure and sinless date. I didn’t have a problem with that. It was kind of a relief that I wouldn’t have to fend off blood-sucking or an enchantment on our first date.
Hm. Could this be pointing to what I think it’s pointing? ;)
2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 17 out of 100 for 2010