by Lee Call
J. Emrys Press, 2022. 434 pages. Young Adult Fiction
Everyone has demons, but fifteen-year-old Eleanor can actually talk to hers. Creep's always been there, her childhood bestie and the only one who knows her secret. Fish-bone teeth and gravel voiced. The monster under her bed. When Eleanor's family moves to a new neighborhood, Creep won't be left behind. Eleanor feels like she'll be stuck with him forever. After all, Creep is her oldest friend. Then she meets Virgil, a reformed bad boy with a stable full of horses, and Mia, a queer goth girl in lipstick and army boots, and Eleanor begins to question everything. What love really looks like. Her own identity. Who she could be without Creep. Can she find the courage to share her story and be rid of him forever?
Lee Call's luminous debut is full of characters that I just love. This is a character driven book. The story follows them as they come together and start to grow into the humans that someday they will be become. That sense of "found" family is really appealing. The writing is so relatable that readers will find themselves cheering for Elle, loving to hate Creep, maybe swooning over Virgil, and applauding everything that comes out of Mia's mouth. Elle's trauma becomes our own trauma, our own tender wounds. Seeing her work through it and come out on the other side a wiser human gives us all hope that we can do so too. One minute I was crying, the other I was belly-laughing. If you love complex, character driven books, with a little bit of horror, and a lot of heart, this may be the one for you. For fans of Becky Albertalli, Sara Zarr, and Adam Silvera.
If you like The Angel Room, you might also like:
The Girls I've Been
by Tess Sharpe
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2021. 356 pages. Young Adult Fiction
When seventeen-year-old Nora O'Malley, the daughter of a con artist, is taken hostage in a bank heist, every secret she is keeping close begins to unravel.
And They Lived . . .
by Steven Salvatore
Bloomsbury, 2022. 374 pages. Young Adult Fiction
Chase Arthur is a hopeless romantic, but he's also struggling to figure out his gender identity and recover from an eating disorder. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and will have to learn to love--and be enough for--himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.