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Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

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Alice Hoffman's Green Angel has a dark beauty to it. First you meet Green. Green is quiet and moody, the total opposite of her little sister, Aurora. But Green has a gift, a green thumb. She can make any plant she touches grow. She can hear the plants growing. She knows exactly when to plant. You are introduced to Green as she is almost sixteen years old. While her family goes to the city to sell produce from their garden. Green is left behind to tend to the garden. A resentful Green does not even say goodbye. Instead she thinks of when she will cast out of the shadows and show the world who she is. But when the city catches fire and her family never returns home, she changes. Not to the happy girl she dreamed of being, but a darker Green.

Promising herself she will not cry, ashes from the embers of flames cloud her eyes. Green changes herself. Cutting off her long black hair, putting nails and thorns into a jacket and boots, and making a scarf of thorns, Green transforms into Ash. Ash sulks and protects herself from looters with her scary appearance. The new Ash tattoos herself with black ink all over her body. The tattoos are of vines with roses and bats. Unable to let go of what happened to her family, Ash sulks and makes new friends: a hawk, sparrows, a mysterious greyhound, and a boy Ash calls ‘Diamond' who does not talk nor show his face. As each friend comes and goes, Ash is changing. She becomes less hard inside.

Ash's neighbor tries to teach Ash to be the Green she once knew. At first, Ash sees no reason to be the old Green, but as her neighbor teaches her, she sees who she really is, Green.

Haunted by her little sister in her dreams, as Green changes to Ash, her sister hardly knows her and the dreams fade. But as Ash changes again, her little sister comes back in the dreams. As Ash learns to be Green again, the self-done tattoos turn from black ink to green ink.

As an avid reader of 800 page plus books, it was weird reading a 180 plus page book. But I found that the meaning and details of the story made up its lacking of pages. Hoffman had great detail in the daily life of Green (a.k.a. Ash) and really made you feel like you were looking down on Green. As Green struggles to let go of the past, you'll struggle to put the book down. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an interesting read.





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