Emma is devastated by her parents' divorce. Her life quickly spirals out of control as she struggles to cope with the ugly, far-reaching tentacles of divorce. Will Emma learn to turn to God before she completely implodes?
Angry hit me on a couple different levels. I'm a divorced kid. It doesn't matter that I'm 29 years old and my parents broke up a hundred years ago. A divorced kid is always a divorced kid. It informed such a huge part of my childhood and adolescence that I can't help but ache when Emma does. The hardest part is watching Emma try to deal with this situtation without God (which was also my experience, as there was 10 years between my parents' divorce and my salvation experience). I wanted to climb into the novel and tell Emma that, trust me, painful moments are easier with faith. Downright bearable, in fact.
Angry is a quick read, perfect for older teens. I don't say older teens because I think the writing will be too difficult for a younger audience, but simply because there is some mild profanity in the book. Parents will want to use their discretion on this. Hey, if your kid goes to public school (or pretty much hangs out in public AT ALL or watches any TV or listens to the radio, etc.), they've heard all these words before. Were not talking about the f-bomb here, and Smith doesn't use them in a gratuitous, sensational way, just at a few key moments when Emma can't seem to articulate her feelings any other way. But you make the final judgment call.
There are also some touchy subjects in play here. Obviously, divorce is one. We also touch on alcoholism and more-than-hint about infidelity (the horrible, blatant, unrepentant kind). Emma's also very open about her own questionable sexual past. I think you probably get a lot of the backstory on this issue in Hot: A Novel, which is the second book in this series from Smith and deals directly with that topic. Angry is the third. Anyway, you'll want to use your discernment here, too.
This could be a great resource for Christian girls struggling with a messy divorce in the family, and perhaps anger about any number of issues. But I think it'd be especially helpful for girls who have friends dealing with this issue. Perhaps the window into Emma's mind would allow those who have never experienced this level of hurt (plus anger, betrayal, abandonment, and all the other fantastic things divorce incites) to understand what their friends are experiencing. There is a free discussion guide available from NavPress that I think is awesome. It deals with the biblical perspective on the issues Emma is facing, as well as her unbiblical responses to her problems. Because the book is written first-person from Emma's point of view, we can only hear whispers of author Laura L. Smith's perspective coming through (which they do, but more so at the end). The discussion guide is a must-have, even if you're reading this book alone.
Bottom Line: Worth reading, especially if you're dealing with these issues or know someone who is. Bravo to Smith for tackling a difficult, controversial topic from a teen's point of view.