Emergency Rescue Angel (Cate Whittle, Scholastic)
Mitch is rudderless and lonely after the death of his dad and the upheaval of his best mate across the country. Max is a goth angel—an Emergency Rescue Angel, to be precise—who isn’t afraid to break the rules. She appears in Mitch’s life to save him from completely disconnecting with the world in his grief, but Mitch’s attempts to re-engage with school and life aren’t as simple as Max expects them to be. Imagine Touched by an Angel meets Round the Twist: a heartwarming, quirky story about friendship and self-discovery set in a seaside town. Max is a rollicking character and the gentle humour throughout helps to leaven the otherwise heavy subject matter. Mitch’s changing relationship with his mum is particularly satisfying, as he begins to realise how much she does around the house and that she, too, is grieving. The book is perhaps slightly too long for the kinds of readers who would most identify with Mitch—he is much more the skateboarding, computer-gaming type rather than a committed student—and the secondary characters are somewhat one-dimensional. The justifications for Max’s assignment also seem a bit meagre when she has touched the destinies of famous historical figures such as Joan of Arc and Michelangelo. Emergency Rescue Angel is for confident readers aged 10 and above.
Annie Waters sells books, writes about books and podcasts about books