Elijah and Cassie aren’t your old-school angels chilling in the heavens and strumming harps. They’re members of the Guardians, an elite force of angels masquerading under the guise of high school teens.
mission is no walk in the clouds. In an effort to seek out troubled
teens, they, along with fellow angels, Rafe, Sophie and Gabriel, will
pose as a family of adopted brothers and sisters and enroll in high
school. Along with their gift of “emotional divination”, which is to
take on the pain of those who are suffering, they experience their own
roller coaster rides of teenage emotions.
Accustomed to working
with children, shy Elijah is overwhelmed when he is assigned to Abby, an
honor roll cheerleader. When she discovers she is pregnant and her
boyfriend abandons her, Abby turns to Elijah for support. As his
feelings for Abby intensify, Elijah also struggles with the desire to be
a guardian to Abby’s unborn baby. However, as Elijah is trying to do
good, a dark force hovers over him in the form of Lucius—one of Satan’s
demons. Things escalate when Elijah threatens Lucius. It will come to a
fight to the finish with Elijah either being defeated or damning Lucius
back to Hell.
Song bird Cassie sings her way into the lead of the
school musical and into the life of Zach, a guitar-strumming lost soul.
After constant beatings from his step-father drive Zach to a suicide
attempt, Cassie must teach him about hope and faith. However, a dark
force in the area leads Cassie to mistakenly interpret that Zach is her
assignment. Instead she was meant for Lauren, her musical rival and the
girl who has an intense crush on Zach. Cassie must somehow find a way to
befriend Lauren, help her along and continue to help Zach without
destroying Lauren in the process.
To fail means death for their assignments, and to fall in love ensures a fall from grace. No one ever said high school was easy.
First of all, gah gah gah, I LOVE that cover!! I can think of several other "angel" books that could learn something from that cover design, but I won't name names. Sooo pretty. The designer: Rachel Marks. Sooo talented. Check out her website.
On to the book: For me The Guardians was like tucking into the couch on a Saturday night and watching Touched By An Angel. Even if you're not extremely religious (and honestly I'm not), it still gives you that feel-good feeling of angels doing what angels do best - helping people. And like Touched By An Angel, the angels have a lot to learn in order to do their best - because humans are complex, and teenagers even more so. It was easy to relate to both Elijah's and Cassie's struggles. They both want so much to succeed, but in doing so they make mistakes which could ultimately do just the opposite. Um, I think that describes a lot of teenagers I know.
I was particularly drawn to Elijah's side of the story. He's so sweet and caring and non-judgmental. The perfect guy really. And in the end I kind of liked how his desire to help Abby with the baby was linked to him wanting to be a father. Perhaps not the most typical teenage response, but then Elijah wasn't exactly a teen. In any case, it's nice to see a guy who thinks about family. I also really liked the set up with his struggle towards the end (no spoilers, I promise), but Elijah has to make a choice, and it wasn't really the one I thought he was going to make.
Cassie's story forms the other half of the book, and I really felt what she was going through. She's sort of the newbie to the whole guardian angel gig and she wants so bad to do well. And of course she keeps messing up. And then things kind of get out of her control and she messes up even more. I like a character who can make mistakes, but I like a character even more who has a dozen hurdles thrown in their way and finds it in themselves to deal. This was Cassie.
Underneath all of this "assignment" stuff, there's something more complex going on with Lucius and the higher angels- or at least it's hinted at. I would have liked to see a bit more plot development with this because throughout I was kind of expecting there to be a big reveal as to why this particular family was targeted and why we were hearing the story of these particular angels. I thought there would be a huge tie-in, but either that was just my misconception or maybe I'll learn more with the sequel.
One last thing: despite the analogy I made in the beginning to Touched By An Angel, there are no lectures here and no overarching 'accept God into your heart' message. I appreciated that because as I said, I'm not religious even though I love angel stories. If there was any message I'd take from this book, it's simply that angels are cool (and possibly addicted to honey).