Title: The Day the Angels Fell
Author: Shawn Smucker
Genre: Young Adult, Grief
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
There is a lot of philosophical, quotable one-liners in this book about a young boy that loses his mother in a freak accident. If you are looking for a story that may help you or someone you know process death then I think The Day the Angels Fell is a good choice. Otherwise I'm not sure it's worth the read. It's very poignant and in places quite intense; but at no point did I really doubt what was going to happen.
Told in two parts; the first from the perspective of an old man, and the second, where we spend most of our time, from the perspective of the same old man as a boy. So there is never any doubt that our boy survives the bizarre and sometimes dangerous path he is following. I think Shawn Smucker intended for a 'reveal' at the end that makes you go, oh wow, and then cry. I did not get that and instead felt like the ending made good sense but wasn't anything super special.
The primary focus story centers around The Tree of Life. A tree that seemingly has the power to bring someone back from the dead. Of course our lead boy wants to find it so he can bring his just deceased Mom back. This is not a spoiler it happens in the first chapter. Surrounding him in this desire are of course the morales of what it means to be dead and if death is a 'good' thing or place. There are some men involved that try to mess things up and impose their will on our young man. And while both of these men appear to be really important; however in the end they are just props to move the plot forward, in my opinion. They say a lot but I'm not sure they are contributing in a valuable way as characters to the overall novel.
Quotable, but not enough
Overall someone could likely pull out a hundred quotes to use on mugs, posters, etc. from Smucker's debut novel; but for me that wasn't enough. While there is plot that consistently moves us forward in the story and characters that are interesting enough I just didn't care that much. I almost never felt sympathy or grief for our lead boy and so had a hard time connecting. Perhaps if you are in the throes of grief when you read this it would be more impactful? For me it just fell short of what I had hoped for.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.