Queen of Tarts Review
of The Never Prayer
by Aaron Michael Ritchey
The Never Prayer is a paranormal YA novel with angels and demons, good and evil, despair and most of all- hope. It is a fast paced novel. I fell into the story and didn’t look up till I was finished. I loved Lena and wanted to see her succeed. She is making some poor choices because she feels she has no options left. Her parents have died and she and her little brother are staying with their aunt who can’t afford to keep them. Lena starts to run drugs. It’s all tied up with the red purse she uses for deliveries. She always promises herself it’s the last time, but when the end of the month rolls around and her aunt tells her they need more money or they’ll be out on the street… She pulls out that red purse.
The town of Avalon, is so well described. I live in a Colorado mountain town myself and recognized elements of her town. Avalon is struggling, there are boarded up shops on main street and the town is praying for more white gold aka a good snow season to help them get back on their feet. Her high school has the populars ie. the Paladins, the unpopulars are called the Heretics and the lowest of the low are the Untouchables. Lena floats between the Paladins and the Heretics because her childhood best friend, Deirdre, is the queen of the Paladins and her drug dealing boyfriend, Santiago, is a Heretic. The descriptions of the different cliques were engrossing and I enjoyed that the author introduces you to individual people in these divisions. It’s a quiet commentary on the dangers of bullying and people sticking with the status quo.
This book is about choices, about little nudges that can influence decisions you make. It’s about pushes that can cause you to lean one way or another. It’s about courage and sacrifice. There are a lot of complex issues brought up in this story… It begged me to get involved, to give a damn and care.
Two new characters come into Lena’s world. Johnny Beel, “call me Beels”, is charismatic and charming. She’s drawn to Beel. His sense of danger and playfulness and his hunger for… life. And Chael, the guarded guy who defies labels. He’s intense and protective. When she first meets him, she feels like he is judging her and the choices she’s making. She’s angry, scared and lost and he’s voicing some of the things she’s thinking about herself. She wants to avoid him. And yet there’s an attraction and when she gets past his tactless honesty she sees that he genuinely cares. I loved watching the relationships unfold and seeing the hearts of the individuals revealed.
There’s a bigger fight going on than what’s on the surface. It’s not simply a fight for the girl.. or maybe it is. It’s a battle between good and evil for the hopes and fears and ultimately the future of everyone in the town of Avalon and especially Lena’s future. I loved seeing Lena wake up to the choices that were available to her. I was wrapped up in the drama of Lena, Chael and Beels. This story got to me. I cried and sighed and enjoyed the ride.
<g> and I’m a bad poet!
I would recommend The Never Prayer for readers ages 16 and up. There are some intense situations in this story. There’s drugs and violence and a scary close call. This book also (thank goodness! lol) includes a love story, but I won’t tell you between whom. Read the book!
♦eARC provided for review
Click HERE for an epic interview with the author Aaron and a chance to win this book!
A Broken Girl: Shattered by the death of her parents, Lena knows she is not handling her sorrow well – keeping to herself, running drugs, risking her little brother. But she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her disintegrating family together.
Two Lost Souls: Lurking on the edges of the afterlife, Chael and Johnny Beels have spent centuries manipulating events, one pushing for good, the other sowing chaos. Now these two desperate souls have taken human form to play a dangerous game of hope and despair with Lena trapped in the middle.
The Ultimate Sacrifice: Lena must maneuver the shadowy realm between angel and demon, love and lust, good and evil, until she finds the courage to see the truth and make the ultimate sacrifice.
When do we struggle to change the world? When do we let go and embrace life’s broken beauty?