I am in love with this book. There is no other way to say it. Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens has been on my radar for quite a while now and whilst I’d owned the book for some time, I do have a very large TBR pile and had not read it yet. I seem to be saying this a lot lately! Anyway, I picked it up and started reading one night and absolutely loved the story.
Heavenly is told through the eyes of 17-year-old Zoe who lives at home with her parents, younger brother and little sister Abria who is autistic and as such she demands a lot of care and attention from her parents. This leaves Zoe and her brother Luke feeling rather neglected. Their parents are so tired and weighed down with responsibility that they are completely oblivious to Zoe’s escapism into alcohol and partying and Luke’s drug dependency. One day, Zoe meets her autistic little sister’s guardian angel Matthias and their relationship changes everything. But how long can heaven on earth last?
I like to read late at night and Heavenly kept me up for a few nights until 3am (it’s a good job I was on holiday from work is all I can say). I purposefully didn’t rush my way through Heavenly though as I wanted to savour every delicious moment of reading it and prolong my enjoyment of the book for as long as possible. I was hooked into the story immediately and I really enjoyed the way Zoe’s character developed as the story unfolded. I also liked how her parents were portrayed in the book. They weren’t cast as the bad parents or parents that didn’t care about their children. They were genuinely struggling to hold the family together. The family was somewhat dysfunctional yes but they were painted in a sympathetic light because of their struggles with Abria. There was never ANY doubt that they loved their children and I liked that.
One character I was not particularly fond of was Britt who is Zoe’s best friend. She is shallow and selfish which soon becomes obvious to the reader. I didn’t really believe in their friendship and thought that they were using each other for company, which I think is what Jennifer was aiming to portray. On the opposite side of the coin was Chase who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Zoe over a common bond. I liked the fact that Zoe had someone who actually was a loyal friend to confide in.
One of my favourite characters was Luke, surprisingly enough. I thought that Jennifer portrayed his drug dependency in such a humane and sympathetic light that rather than judge him, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him and want to help him.
And Matthias, what can I say about dear, sweet Matthias. Three words methinks...I. WANT. ONE. Not only is he a fantastic guardian angel but he also has the ability to influence people through emotions (but in a good way). Think Jasper from Twilight. This might sound odd but I felt a sense of calmness reading Heavenly as though Matthias were real and influencing me through Zoe.
I think what I love most about Heavenly, besides the story, is the voice. Zoe has a mature voice, it isn't childish or superficial. I thought Heavenly was an excellent example of a YA crossover novel that appeals to both teenagers and adults alike. I can’t wait to give it to my older sister to read and I’ve lined it up as a surprise birthday present for another friend who I just know is going to love it.
I can’t tell you how much I loved this book and I was extremely lucky recently to have been sent the sequel Penitence. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you to know that I started reading Penitence pretty much immediately after finishing Heavenly and again, read it within a matter of days. And yes, I was up until 3am each time!
In conclusion, I would HIGHLY recommend this book and it has become one of my personal favourites. The ending will leave you desperate for more!! I’d never read anything by Jennifer Laurens before and I now find myself a huge fan of her writing and can’t wait to read and review her other books. Look out for a review of Penitence very soon.
Jennifer Laurens has also written other novels such as Falling for Romeo, Magic Hands and Nailed. She has her own website which you can visit by clicking here and from there you can access the blog for Jennifer's musings and regular contests. Jennifer is also active on Twitter and facebook. As if that wasn't enough for you, Heavenly also has its own website which you can visit by clicking here to get more information about the book and its sequels.