Angel de la Luna

Synopsis

Angel has just lost her father, and her mother's grief means she might as well be gone too. She's got a sister and a grandmother to look out for, and a burgeoning consciousness of the unfairness in the world—in her family, her community, and her country.

Set against the backdrop of the second Philippine People Power Revolution in 2001, the contemporary struggles of surviving Filipina “Comfort Women” of WWII, and a cold winter’s season in the city of Chicago is the story of a daughter coming of age, coming to forgiveness, and learning to move past the chaos of grief to survive.

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Reviews

The year is 2000. Fourteen-year-old Angel de la Luna loves her family. She tells the story of how she looks forward to the day when they will have enough money to leave Manila and go to America in search of a better life...”
— Teen Reads, November 21, 2013 (Full Review)
Adolescence, family issues, music and revolutionary politics all sink sharp hooks into a Filipino teenager at the beginning of the 21st century. Related with a rich mixture of English...”
— Kirkus, November 1, 2013 (Full Review)
It's the year 2000 in Manila, and 14-year-old Angel is grieving the sudden death of her papang (father). When Angel's ináy (mother) becomes a certified nurse and moves to Chicago...”
— Publisher's Weekly, October 31, 2013 (Full Review)
Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery, by M. Evelina Galang, is a beautifully unique young adult novel, set in the Philippines. After her father dies and her mother moves to the U.S. to pursue the American dream...”
— Em's Bookshelves, September 25, 2013 (Full Review)
It’s the year 2000 in Manila, and 14-year-old Angel is grieving the sudden death of her papang (father). When Angel’s ináy (mother) becomes a certified nurse and moves to Chicago, Angel grasps for new footing and rejects everything from god to her supposed gift of healing hands. Through her studies, Angel becomes an activist, protesting corruption in a country where the Filipino “Comfort Women” of WWII and the 1986 Philippine People Power Revolution haunt many minds. Angel is eventually summoned to Chicago, bringing a fresh set of challenges including attending an American high school. Galang’s (One Tribe) writing is ethereal and immersive; she blends English, Tagalog, and slang in her sentences (“Pintig, I hear my papang calling, pintig”), forcing readers to tease out the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases (or fire up Google Translate). Readers may find it a challenge, but it’s entirely doable—Galang gracefully laces her narrative with contextual clues. Angel is hyperaware of her world and steeped in social consciousness; following her as she seeks her “true nature” is a pleasure and an education. Ages 12–up.” — Publisher's Weekly Recommended Feminist Literature for Birth Through 18”— Amelia Bloomer Project, The Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association A richly detailed novel full of music and color, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery tells a story of difficult journeys: from innocence to experience, from life in the Philippines to life in the United States, and from longing through anger and back to love again. Just as Angel finds strength in the stories of other women who have endured the hardest of circumstances, readers will find strength in the unforgettable Angel as she discovers her own life’s rhythm.” — Sheri Reynolds Angel de la Luna is a beautifully told, and at times, heartbreaking coming of age and coming to America story. Evelina Galang is a masterful storyteller and through her brilliant voice and craft, Angel and her family become ours too.” — Edwidge Danticat A poignant and well-crafted coming-of-age novel set in Manila and Chicago, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery is about a Filipino family’s and, in a larger picture, their native country’s, fractured past and present. Above all, it is about the indomitable spirit of a young woman that guides her out of grief and longing, and fuels her with renewed strength to continue her struggle against injustices.” — R. Zamora Linmark Angel de la Luna is pure poetry, a heart-rending story told by a young girl whom I would follow anywhere. The voice is pitch-perfect; the music a constant. In this collision of cultures and languages, of the deepest sorrows, M. Evelina Galang has found resounding beauty. I want to shower her and her book with rose petals!” — Cristina Garcia A story of teenage rebellion, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery is also a novel of adult grace. Its particular triumph is to give an intimate voice to radical themes: a young woman sees the immigrant’s American dream through the lens of Third World activism and gives us startling ways of looking and words for seeing the world.” — Gina Apostol Remarkably complex and eminently readable, M. Evelina Galang's Angel de la Luna speaks of people separated by time and distance; it speaks of the tension created by Filipino and American cultures; it speaks of comfort women and the horrors they faced at the hands of Japanese soldiers during World War II. Only a writer of Galang's talents and accomplishments could tackle such important subjects with grace and dignity. Angel de la Luna is a novel of great beauty and strength.” — Pablo Medina The setting and the history woven into Angel’s story is what will set this novel apart. In my experience, there are very few YA novels set in Asian countries, and the ones I’ve seen are mostly fantasy. The historical and political events taking place while Angel is dealing with her family changes were new to me and will almost certainly be new to the average young adult reader. I found the stories of the “comfort women” who were forced into prostitution during WWII to be particularly harrowing – why isn’t this taught in schools? In the back, Galang includes a lovely explanation for why she chose certain aspects of the novel and includes some anecdotes from her own childhood that I enjoyed reading. Her writing is gorgeous and I found myself highlighting many lines and marveling often at her word choice.

Overall, I think this is an important story and one that should be told. I would recommend it to English teachers who are looking for uncharted territory to cover in class, or fans of historical fiction who are looking for something new and different. I think those who enjoyed the detail and research involved in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein may find this to be right up their alley.” — allodoxophobia (Full Review...)
Galang is a strong storyteller. She has created a heroine who is truly original and has given her the sort of life most people can hardly imagine. Angel is recognizable as an ordinary teen girl who makes mistakes, but is also a great role model; she is smart, responsible, and even involved in politics. The story is split into two sections (the first set in the Philippines and the second set in Chicago), and this abrupt setting change helps the reader and Angel herself discover her identity and what really matters in life.” — Em's Bookshelves (Full Review...)