Angel Eyes

Angel Eyes - Shannon Dittemore Initial reactions: Not bad, but definitely not the best angel book I've had the pleasure of reading. I think there are certain moments where the book shines with the chemistry and interaction of the characters, as well as the imagery. However, there are quite many awkward pop culture references and transitions that did deter me as I was reading the book. Did I find it too telling? In some parts, yeah, but I don't think its messages were that heavy handed compared to other reads I've had. I just wish the book could've flowed a bit more organically, and perhaps limited the perspectives a little to make it more cohesive and less telling.Full Review:I found something to like in Shannon Dittemore's "Angel Eyes". It tells an interesting story of a girl who moves to live with her father in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy, and comes across a boy with an extraordinary gift (and company). But in the mix of things, there's a villain who seeks to use that gift for corrupt means, and it results in a clash that may threaten to tear the boy and girl apart.Sounds intriguing, no? It is, but at the same time, I was disappointed in the execution of this novel. It tries a little too hard to be contemporary - what with several pop culture references (including multiple references to Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight") that feel non-organic. I understand wanting to appeal to your respective audience, but I think if the novel had toned down with some of these references, it could've been an overall better story in terms of its flow.The other aspect that impeded flow to a certain extent were the multiple character perspectives. Don't get me wrong, I love reading books from different vantage points - I'm no stranger to them. However, I think the perspective character that really didn't contribute much of anything in the scheme of the story was the villain, despite the religious ties and references. He was comparatively weak compared to the other perspective characters. I understood the necessity to have him because of the ongoing conflict, but it still felt like he didn't have much of a role in the overall novel and he wasn't even a compelling enough character to care about in the sense of his role in antagonizing/working against the protagonists.The relationship established between the main character, Brielle, and the boy with the healing gift, Jake, is perhaps the best aspect of the novel. Their relationship felt palpable and interesting to watch unfold as Brielle deals with the loss of a friend who was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend. Brielle has a natural chemistry with Jake, and Jake - in spurts, actually proves to be funny (maybe relying a little too much on the tutu humor, though - it became repetitive after a while).The overarching novel in terms of its messages and subsequent morals aren't too heavy handed to me, not in terms of the weight of Christian fiction titles in the YA spectrum from what I've read. There were moments toward the end where it felt a bit expositional, and that's something that did detract from my enjoyment, but before that point, most of the text, particularly taken from Brielle's perspective, were nice to see.The ending also felt a bit rushed to me in terms of events because it was like the bad thing happened and then, like out of a Disney movie - things are a-okay. Not that I'm knocking it for being positive, but I would've liked to see more of the emotional bearings and build-up. That could've been helped a bit with a little more vetting of the characters.I do intend to at least try Dittemore's second book in the "Angel Eyes Trilogy" - to see where she takes these characters and how she expands upon them. I think those who like books about angels and a clean, nice romance between the leading characters will find something to like in this novel. I only wish it could've improved upon some of its elements a little more.Overall score: 2/5Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Thomas Nelson.