Mid-summer days have always left me feeling a little disappointed. In June, you're full of anticipation for the freedom and fun summer can bring, but July can't possibly live up to all of your expectations. That's why, for my recent Summer Beach Reads, I've been reaching for books in which the protagonists literally escape their everyday lives—of course, not necessarily by choice—and discover danger and love and adventure on the road. One prime example is Moira Young's "Blood Red Road," a dystopian thriller about a girl trekking through the desert in search of her kidnapped twin brother—go back to guest blogger Sara Gundell's review of that one from May. Another is "Angel Burn," by L.A. Weatherly, one of the most exciting, imaginative stories I've read in a while.
Fans of "Hush, Hush" and "Fallen" might be reluctant to give up their loyalties to Patch or Daniel, but this time, it's not the winged creatures that have me all aflutter. It's the boy who's trained his whole life to kill them. And actually, the angels in question are a little more like parasitic aliens than biblical creatures.
Let me back up. "Angel Burn" is the story of Willow, a 17-year-old girl who's grown up with the gift of psychic powers, but with the great burden of a mother who's practically catatonic and an aunt who begrudgingly takes care of them. So she does a few psychic readings here and there to earn extra cash. When giving a reading for her classmate Beth, she discovers a dangerous truth: There are angels on earth who feed on the energy of humans, leaving them feeling euphoric but slowly destroying their bodies and brains. Beth doesn't heed Willow's warning not to join the Church of Angels (a kind of cult-y megachurch that's been sprouting branches all over the place), and tells the not-so-heavenly creature who's been feeding on her. That little tip leads the angels to figure out that Willow isn't exactly the human she thinks she is. It's also how angel-assassin Alex winds up on her doorstep. But rather than taking her out, he ends up helping her skip town and race across the country, with the angels and their unwitting victims close on their heels.
OK, being chased by powerful supernatural monsters doesn't sound like the perfect road-trip material. But a gorgeous badass-with-a-secret-soft-side like Alex does sound like the perfect companion, even if he does worry that Willow is the enemy. And Willow is the kind of self-reliant (she's even an amateur mechanic), strong-willed heroine you'll want to pack in your back and take along to whatever trip you have planned this weekend. And when you're back, you just might start counting down the days until the December release of the second in the planned trilogy, "Angel Fire."
Have you read "Angel Burn"? Are you excited for the sequel? What books have you been reading this summer? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!