Title: Bitter Angel
Author: Megan Hand
Release date: April 1, 2013
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
From the author—
Torn between two realities.
A choice that will mean life or death.
But she won’t know anything… until she wakes up.
College sophomore, Lila Spencer lived Friday night twice. She doesn’t know how or why, just that she did. As if she split in half and went in two different directions.
Out clubbing with her friends, Heather and Nilah, the girls rock it out and party hard. What begins as an innocent night will lead to a deadly fight for their lives, and Lila might be their only chance for survival.
In bed with her boyfriend, Jay, Lila is safe and warm as she drifts to sleep in the arms of the man she loves. Until she is sucked into a horrifying nightmare of her friends’ deaths.
As the sunlight warms her face on Saturday morning, the two scenarios collide. But there can be only one outcome. Will she wake up in her warm bed with Jay by her side, devastated and grieving for her friends? Or was she there to save them?
The answer is just the beginning.
I’ve dithered over writing this review because, to be quite honest, I have had a difficult time defining my feelings about it and I needed time to let those feelings percolate, so to speak. Essentially, this reviewer’s reaction and Bitter Angel both have a bit of a split personality.
I love the idea of parallel existence and Ms. Hand’s concept of having Lila “live” two sides of a horrendous event is really appealing. The plot itself, revolving around behavior that really does happen, is very well done and the author clearly has a talent for creating almost unbearable tension and suspense. It’s plain almost from the beginning of the girls’ outing what is going to happen and I barely suppressed the urge to yell at them to stop what they were doing, pay attention, get smart and run like hell—very much like those movies where you can’t believe the girl is going into the dark basement and you just want to scream, “No! Don’t do it!”.
Unfortunately, I found the character development to be rather uneven in several ways. The triumvirate is appealing on its surface but, the truth is, I didn’t care much about Heather and Nilah. I cared what might happen to them but the girls themselves were not appealing to me and I thought they were too shallowly drawn. I came very close to heartily disliking Nilah just because she is so very narcissistic and I also thought both these girls were really inconsiderate for demanding that Lila immediately give up her plans when they could clearly have discussed it long in advance.
I did like Jay other than his being a bit of a pushover and was glad to see him “man up” when he needed to. He’s a young man any parent would be happy to see with their daughter. As for the bad guys, I felt they were the most well-drawn in their despicableness and, while I certainly didn’t have any empathy for them (with one exception), they were the most real to me.
Then there’s Lila. Hmm. This girl just yanked me left and right and I’m still not sure what I think. First, she accepts with far too much ease that her parallel experience is real when 99% of us would think it was all one hell of a bad dream. Then she apparently turns into Superwoman and, from that point on, reality takes a hike. I like a strong female character but I just found it hard to believe that she would charge right in the way she does and some of her behavior is downright stupid.
Having said all that, Ms. Hand has created a story about an all too real crime that does happen and I think some of the behavior she attributes to certain characters has a point, that whether it’s a feminist ideal or not, girls DO need to take more care and that perhaps having a designated driver can also serve the purpose of one person being alert enough to spot trouble. In the end, while I had some difficulties with Bitter Angel, I still enjoyed it and will look for more from Megan Hand.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2013.
About the Author
At twelve, Megan decided to write a novel. A month later, she quit. A reading junkie by nature, she started writing again in her twenties as a way to get the voices out, because who wouldn’t want to create a Real Living Person out of thin air? Megan also plays the piano and sings. She teaches little kids and takes pictures of pretty butterflies. She eats way too much chocolate, is sort of a mad scientist with her blender, and spends an unhealthy amount of time LOLing on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Ohio with her husband and very smiley son. Bitter Angel is her first published novel.
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