"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, May 25, 2023


When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb

Book beginnings quote:

Friday56 quote:


Uriel the angel and Little Ash (short for Ashmedai) are the only two supernatural creatures in their shtetl (which is so tiny, it doesn't have a name other than Shtetl). The angel and the demon have been studying together for centuries, but pogroms and the search for a new life have drawn all the young people from their village to America. When one of those young emigrants goes missing, Uriel and Little Ash set off to find her.

Along the way the angel and demon encounter humans in need of their help, including Rose Cohen, whose best friend (and the love of her life) has abandoned her to marry a man, and Malke Shulman, whose father died mysteriously on his way to America. But there are obstacles ahead of them as difficult as what they’ve left behind. Medical exams (and demons) at Ellis Island. Corrupt officials, cruel mob bosses, murderers, poverty. The streets are far from paved with gold.(Publisher)

Review: I know, I know. The description and the quotes from When the Angels Left the Old Country say this book is not my usual fare. In fact, I'd venture to say, it is not most people's usual reading fare. But once one gets past the mention of shtetls (and other Jewish words I've not heard before) and the fact that the two main characters are an angel and a demon who enjoy studying and working together, it is quite a delightful story, one that even incorporates some actual history on labor relations at the beginning of the twentieth century.

When the Angels Left the Old Country won a 2023 Printz Honor, among other honors at the Youth Media Awards this year. I'd not heard of the book, which is kind of surprising since I pride myself on keeping track of the best YA novels published each year. However, when I added it to my TBR several people commented, which is also unusual, on how enjoyable they found the book.

In a nutshell, Uriel and Little Ash want to find Essie, a girl from their shletl who went to America but seems to have gone missing. In order to get to America themselves they have to use some supernatural powers. On the ship they meet Rose Cohen who is traveling alone. The three team up. When they get to New York, and after they finally get off of Ellis Island, they find a community of other Jewish people, many of whom work in the clothing industry. The boss of the plant where they work is in gambling trouble and is willing to go to get lengths to break the coming strike. The threesome set to work to figure out where Essie is and how to protect the workers from the mobsters. It is a fun and funny YA mystery, with historical, religious, and LGBTQ undertones.

I enjoyed every moment as I listened to the audiobook read by Donald Corren. On a related note, during our recent vacation, my husband and I finished listening to our fourth audiobook. I proposed that next we listen to When the Angels Left the Old Country from the point where I left off before our trip (35%). After a quick summary, my husband agreed. When we got home we still had about 2 hours left to finish the book. I wondered aloud if I should finish it by myself, since we usually only do audiobooks together in the car. My husband balked. He wanted to find out how the story ended. So for the next two evenings we sat in the living room and finished listening to the book together. We both loved it.

I highly recommend this one to all of you, too!

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.The Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material. 


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