Missing Angel Juan

[openbook booknumber=”0064471209″][rating:4/5]

Lonely City

A tangly-haired, purple-eyed girl named Witch Baby lives in glitzy L.A. She loves a guy named Angel Juan. When he leaves for New York she knows she must find him.

Looking For Love

So she heads for the city of glittery buildings and garbage and Chinese food and drug dealers and subways and kids playing hip-hopscotch.

Finding Trouble

Her clues are an empty tree house in the park, a postcard on the street, a mannequin in a diner. Angel Juan is in danger, and only Witch Baby’s heart-magic can make him safe.

For every fan of the new modern love triangle, “tru wuv”, your love is my drug, I will die without you YA romance novels that have been published recently I humbly beg and plead for you to read this book. It’s time for you to wake up.

Missing Angel Juan is a fantastical, magical, fairy tale story that addresses some very real emotions, needs and addictions of a teen couple that separate due to their fear and addiction to love.

Dear Angel Juan,
       You used to guard my sleep like a panther biting back my pain with the edge of your teeth. You carried me into the dark dream jungle, loping past the hungry vines, crossing the shiny fish-scale river. We left my tears behind in a chiming silver pool. We left my sorrow in the muddy hollows. When I woke up you were next to me, damp and matted, your eyes hazy, trying to remember the way I clung to you, how far down we went.
       Was the journey too far, Angel Juan? Did we go too far?

Angel Juan leaves to try and find himself. He feels like he is only an object to be loved and used like a drug, he feels like he is being suffocated in this unhealthy, clinging, I-will-die-without-you relationship and wants to go and find himself. He fears love as well for those reasons.

Witch Baby feels lost and alone without him. She loves him, she needs him and she doesn’t understand why he went away. She leaves school and follows her (older, out of school) boyfriend to New York to try and find him. She starves herself and pines and discards everything and everyone in her life to track down her other half. That’s when both Angel Juan and Witch Baby discover things they never expected. Witch Baby meets up with her step mother’s father Charlie Bat (a ghost that only she can see, by the way) and Angel Juan meets up with someone far more sinister (if you can believe it).

They both have a lot of lessons to learn. She needs to learn to use herself to find happiness through music and art and life. She needs to learn to love, but also to let go. He needs to learn the same lessons about finding and using himself for his own happiness, and also how to love and be loved in return. They both need to learn about how to form a healthy relationship and how to be happy both together and apart.

With each new book in Dangerous Angels Francesca Lia Block gets better and better. Witch Baby was always her most well rounded and vivid character and she really comes into her own in this novel. I loved reading about Witch Baby’s take on New York and about the magic she finds on every street corner, whether in soho, central park, or the meat packing district. The language sparkles and really brings the world and characters to life.

The message is also one that you hear precious little of in YA romance today and it’s one I would like to see more of. I want to see girls forming healthy relationships, getting out of or changing unhealthy ones, changing unhealthy mindsets, and having enough self respect to draw the line even if it feels like it’s going down your middle. Most importantly I want to see them learning the difference between love and need and addiction and seeing that they are not all one and the same. This book does just that.

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