Book Review: Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
When a random act of kindness involves Katrina with Malcolm, a handsome teenage guardian angel intent on fulfilling her greatest wish, fame and fortune seem like the most obvious requests. But after two botched wishes, Malcolm knows Katrina is hiding something from him. How can she tell him the truth, when her heart’s desire has become Malcolm himself?
I bought this book on a whim a few weeks (possibly months) ago, and I’ve been reading it a little bit at a time since then. It sounded like a cute, silly romantic story, and that was what I felt like reading at the time. This book was definitely different than I expected it to be, though not necessarily in a bad way. The romance was actually a much smaller part of the novel than I expected.
This novel really has four plotlines. The first follows Katrina as she tries to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life. The second focuses on family as Katrina and her grandmother try to save their old world coffee shop. The third focuses on friendship and betrayal, as Katrina’s best friend starts hanging out with the daughter of the owner of a rival coffee shop. The fourth focuses on Katrina’s relationship with Malcolm, the angel. There are also several subplots. It sounds like there’s a lot going on, but I think it works. The different threads weave together nicely. Everything wraps up a little too nicely in the end, but I’m still impressed overall.
The characters in this book are fantastic, as is the world-building. I’ve always considered world-building a fantasy/sci-fi thing, but it definitely applies here. They live in a small town in the Northwest that still follows Old World traditions, and Selfors did a great job of describing the town. I could picture all the people and events, and it felt like a real place. The characters also felt real. They all have distinct personalities and their own problems going on. Everything doesn’t revolve around Katrina and her problems, which was nice. That said, most of the novel did focus on Katrina, and it was nice to read about a character who didn’t have it all figured out yet. I loved her “closet of failure” or whatever it was that she called it, which was filled with projects she had started and given up on when she figured out that that wasn’t her talent. I could definitely relate to that, and it was fun watching as she eventually figured out what she wanted to do with her life.
While the writing was great overall, there were a few things that bothered me about this novel. The main thing that bothered me was that the romance just sort of appears all of a sudden. I did eventually grow to like Malcolm and hope that he and Katrina would get to be together, but that wasn’t until long after she first thought about kissing him. It just seemed a bit forced at first. Another thing I didn’t like was the already-mentioned fact that everything just sort of falls together in the end. Katrina does work to make this happen, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but I still think a lot of luck was involved at the end.
The next paragraph contains a minor spoiler involving a minor side character. If you don’t want to know anything about the end, skip this paragraph:
The last thing that bothered me is a much smaller part of the book, something that most people probably don’t care about but which really bothered me. The daughter of the competing coffee shop is an overachiever. The principal holds her up as a shining example of a student, and she’s constantly doing something to help other people. We’re clearly supposed to find her annoying, and she only becomes less annoying at the end of the novel, once her father is no longer “forcing” her to be an overachiever. So she’s forgiven for being an overachiever because she didn’t actually want to be. Why wasn’t it enough that she was a nice person who also did a lot of things?
Overall, this was an enjoyable book. The writing was decent, the description fabulous, and the characters realistic and easy to cheer for. If you’re looking for a light, quick read, this is a good one to pick up. It’s also like $1.60 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, so it’s definitely not a big risk if you end up not liking it.