Published: May 13th, 2014
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy
Jenna Samuels is about to turn fifteen. It's been almost a year since her stoner brother, Casey, bit the dust. Almost a year since he returned as her guardian angel, along with his "angel boss," Amber Velasco, the hot twenty-something former EMT. Almost a year since Casey and Amber used up their one-time-only angel power of flight to save Jenna from the evil Dr. Renfroe, swooping down to catch her as she tumbled off the balcony at the Houston Galleria. In short, a lot of A-word shenanigans and a mostly happy ending.
Except now Casey's begun to wonder why he's still hanging around—not that he minds protecting Jenna. She's a handful, but there's got to be a bigger picture, right? Something to distract him from his on again/off again, doomed relationship with cheerleader Lanie Phelps, who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead. After all, he can't use his angel wings anymore. Neither can Amber.
Enter Bo Shivers, Amber's "angel boss"—a mysterious A-word guy Jenna and Casey didn't even know existed. Whiskey-guzzling. Handsome in a grizzled way. Unpredictable. Okay, make that crazy. Bo lost his angel wings in an earthly flight a long, long, long time back—and he's been a thorn in Angel Management's side ever since. But Bo knows something is coming. Something big. Something that was worth forfeiting wings for Jenna... something that might just change everything for everyone.
SEE HOW IT ALL STARTED IN
In the galley version of THE A-WORD, my editor observed that one of things he enjoyed the most about THE SWEET DEAD LIFE and now its sequel, is their meshing of the “strange quirks of the every day with the unseen and magical.” I loved that he said this because it’s exactly what I’m aiming for and what I think has resonated with so many readers. Hopefully you, too!
People ask me all the time where I get my ideas, and mostly I respond that I simply look around me and listen. People say and do the oddest and most wonderful things. To me, my every day suburban world is filled with the strange and the ironic and the down right crazy, along with the normal stuff. (Is there really normal stuff? Maybe not.)
In A-WORD, Jenna is the primary conduit of these observations. Her opinions are not always mine, but her worldview is clear and specific and definitely reflective of my belief that the universe is has quite a sense of whimsy.
Plus I absolutely love juxtaposing the heavenly with the mundane. So here’s Casey Samuels, an actual bona fide angel living on a suburban cul de sac somewhere north of Houston and his parents and neighbors are totally oblivious to this real life miracle right in front of their noses. To me, it seems that’s how it would work if it really happened. Because who would suspect say, the lady offering you sushi samples at the grocery? Or your Wal-Mart cashier. Or the stoner dude next who’s driving a borrowed POS Mercury Marquis and taking care of his sister while his parents are too busy trying to get it together and decide if they’re splitting up.
So there’s Mrs. Gilmore, the old lady next door, putting angels on the lawn at Christmas and decorating fake tombstones with fake epitaphs at Halloween and worrying about her ailing husband and asking Jenna if she believes in miracles. But when Casey holds her hands and walks her to her house and clearly imparts this angelic sense of comfort, well, of course she has NO IDEA.
You don’t have to notice these things to enjoy the books. You can just have an angel mystery with a sweet romance between Jenna and cupcake-baking football player Ryan Sloboda. That’s fine with me. But if you want to enjoy that mixture of ordinary and extraordinary, I welcome you to do that, too!
Enjoy THE A-WORD!
Joy Preble is the author of the popular and highly acclaimed Dreaming Anastasia series as well as The Sweet Dead Life, the prequel to The A-Word. A former English teacher, Joy grew up in Chicago and is a graduate of Northwestern University. She is now a full-time writer and lives with her family in Texas, where she has learned to say "y'all" without any hint of irony.
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