Title: In the Arms of Stone Angels
Author: Jordan Dane
Genre: Fiction, Teen, YA
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (
Source: Review copy from publisher
"In the arms of stone angels I am not afraid" –Brenna Nash
Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl’s body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me. Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can’t get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he’s not in juvie—that he’s in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can’t turn my back on him again.
No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn’t trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me. I’m as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can’t be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.
Even if I get lost, as well...”
When Brenna was 14, she saw her best friend, White Bird, on top of a dead girl (Heather), cover in blood and holding a knife. As any good citizen she didn’t think twice and called the police. White Bird was arrested and she was brought for questioning. She was considered a suspect of the crime because of her friendship with White Bird. But without any prove against her the police had to release her, but the town of Shawano, Oklahoma wasn’t too forgiven. Soon after, her mom had to close down her real estate business for lack of clients. After all this they moved to North Carolina to start a new life, leaving her grandmother behind.
She has always question herself about the day of Heather’s murder, she feels stuck on that day for betraying her best friend and is not sure she did the right thing by calling the police.
Two years later after her grandmother’s dead, she returns to Shawano to help her mother with the fixing and selling of her grandma’s house.
In Shawano she learns that White Bird is in a mental hospital, in catatonic state since the day of the murder. And she knows she has to help him to be able to free herself.
Shawano’s folk are not happy to see her back and old acquaintances return to her life to make her life impossible, making her feel not wanted and a freak. But she won’t stop for anybody or anything until she has deal with her past.
At the beginning of the book I didn’t like Brenna’s character, I though she was too rude to her mother and her way of thinking was too irritating for me. But with the turn of the pages I started to understand, and could say, accept her behavior. She’s not a normal kid; she has a “gift” that makes her feel different and unaccepted. She is very conflicted, but she’s strong and over passing many obstacles she learns to accept herself.
We just see some flashes of White Bird, he seems to be a very sweet and noble soul. He loves and accepts Brenna for who she is. And fights for what he wants the most, to belong to the Euchee tribe.
Another character I enjoyed very much was Joe. I love his insightful thinking. He gives great advices and lots of support to Brenna, helping her in her quest.
What I didn’t like: Brenna’s “gift” is mentioned many times, but it didn’t play any role in the book, I thought that aspect could have enriched the book but Ms. Dane didn’t use it. Also there are couple of references to Brenna’s father, not by name, we don’t know who he is. But because of his mentions I thought he will play an important roll, but nothing happened with that too. I don’ know if Mrs. Dane has another book coming after this one and is planning to use those aspects and that’s why she gave us these tidbits. Is the only explanation I could have.
Another thing I didn’t like, was that Brenna suffered an attack and her assailants were not brought to justice for what they did to her.
Also this book is written in the first person of Brenna and the third person of other characters. I don’t know if it was because I read a Galley or because of the format of my reader but it was difficult to notice when these changes were occurring. In many occasions I had to go back and reread that same part to see when this changes were happening to be able to understand. But as I said, this may be because it was a galley. Maybe the final book won’t have this problem.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book and being honest I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I started to read it and it was a really nice surprise.
In the Arms of Stone Angels is a different YA novel, is dark, it has suspense, a good pace and is an easy read. I think Mrs. Dane did a great job. I love that I learn something of the Native American traditions, I also liked that she writes about the reality of racism. The end of the book was completely unpredictable, and I really liked to have that surprise at the end.
I recommend it. And I would love if Mrs. Dean writes a sequel to this book.
- “Where is your sense of adventure?” “In North Carolina. I forgot to pack it.
- The strength had always been inside me. I just needed to embrace it. Embrace me, for a change.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other reviews: Goodreads