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Angel in Vegas: The Chronicles of Noah Sark
From the book jacket:
"It's you!" she said. "You look like an angel straight from heaven."
My breath caught in my throat and my knees suddenly went weak.
-- Angel in Vegas: The Chronicles of Noah Sark
Who is Noah Sark, really? And what is he doing in the men's room at ANGELO'S
ALL-DAY ALL-NITE DONUT EMPORIUM in Las Vegas? No use asking him; he doesn't know, either.
Only Norma Howe, author of the beloved Blue Avenger books and a gleeful practitioner
of comedic satire could blend in a devilishly funny mix one (or maybe two)
budding teenage romances, a psychic fair, a dead frog, a headful of cascading blond
ringlets, glorious Las Vegas in all its glitz and sparkle--including Elvis and his
hound dog, erupting volcanoes, and a seeing-eye-dog video poker player--with the
dramatic back story of Princess Di in Paris, to portray an unlikely teen angel
on a desperate mission to save a certain unknown girl from a certain unknown disaster.
But, reader, never fear. All will be revealed in good time, so long as you resist, as
Noah himself says, "the siren call of logic."
Noah Sark, a seemingly innocuous teen from Angels Camp, California, visiting Las Vegas on
a weekend lark, is actually a Guardian Angel sent to Earth. He has a chance to redeem
himself following his miserable failure of 1997, when serving as Guardian Angel to
Princess Diana in Paris, his Deadly Distraction resulted in Diana's tragic death and
his first failure after "numberless [successful] assignments down through the ages."
A multilayered comedic satire, the story is told by this angel who seems to verbalize
his every thought, making for a confusing narrative, ceaselessly jumping from topic
to topic as each occurs to him. Key story elements include his trying to puzzle out
who and what he is supposed to be for this assignment (the clues provided in his
knapsack prove insubstantial), his dismal failure in Paris, the blond wig that sheds
a heavenly aura around its wearer, and Andy (The Boy) and Barbra (The Girl), a couple
who have been dating for three weeks. The Girl, resembling Princess Diana, becomes
the object of both the angel's protection and affection. The grandiose sights and
sounds of Vegas, the twenty-four-hour donut shop, the dead frog in his knapsack
(provided by his cohort above, Angel Jake), and Andy's Cessna-flying uncle add zest
to the already-funky novel's ambiance. Deftly woven and artfully told, Howe's
novel will entertain and delight readers able to keep up with the jumbled narrative.
Reviewer: Cynthia Winfield
Norma Howe, author of the Blue Avenger Trilogy, follows up with an angelic,
farcical romp through the city of Sin: Las Vegas, Nevada. Meet Noah Sark-a seasoned
Guardian Angel sent back to Earth as a handsome sixteen-year-old-ready to redeem his
fatal mistake the last time he was on Earth. Noah, it turns out, was the Guardian Angel
in charge of Princess Diana on that ill-fated Paris night when her life was cut short.
Lured away from his duty by the attractions of Paris, Noah (who at the time inhabited
the human form of an aging French bachelor) was enjoying the floorshow at the
Folies Bergère when the car accident occurred.
Unable to forget or forgive himself for this failure, Noah views this assignment
in Las Vegas as his only chance to get back in good standing as a Guardian Angel.
His assignment? Watching over Barbra DeMarco, a beautiful sixteen-year-old blond,
who just happens to bear a shocking resemblance to Princess Diana. This is no easy
task. Noah meets Barbra through her boyfriend Andy, a typical teenage guy with a good
heart, who finds Noah's rucksack in a donut-shop restroom. The trio embarks on a
series of adventures.
And in Las Vegas, no adventure is typical. Howe delivers cheeky narrative with plenty
of comical situations. A dead frog, a spot-on Elvis impersonator, a psychic fair, and a
well-traveled blond wig all make their appearances during a madcap dash through Vegas'
best facsimiles of the world's most recognizable attractions. Uncomfortable with the
pain of teenage relationships, Noah comes to terms with the way Barbra and Andy
communicate by asking for help from his mentor, Guardian Angel Jake. At just the right
moments, Jake gives him the answers he needs.
This is a coming-of-age novel in reverse: having existed for millennia as a Guardian
Angel, Noah is well-versed in the pain and difficulty that life entails, but is forced
to keep silent in order to accomplish his mission. Howe delivers a funny and believable
novel about faith, doing the right thing, and what it means to be a true angel.
(Reviewed by: Monica Carter | November / December 2009)
What problems could a teen Guardian Angel possibly encounter when he is sent to Las Vegas? His assignment is to
use his Protective Surveillance powers to save a girl from a certain unknown disaster. How hard could that assignment
be because being a Guardian Angel is what he does? The author of the "Blue Avenger" books brings her wit and satire to
yet another delightful novel for young readers. Through Guardian Angel Noah Sark's point of view, the reader experiences
the glitz of Las Vegas and a host of quirky characters, including an Elvis impersonator with his hound dog and a
seeing-eye-dog video poker player. A Psychic Fair and the impact of a dead frog are thrown in for good measure.
In the midst of this chaos, Sark maintains his calm through resisting his "siren call of logic" and seeking the wise
counsel of his heavenly mentor Angel Jake. The first person approach gives a sense of immediacy to the story as the reader
feels involved in these strange endeavors. The Guardian Angel also provides a tutorial of sorts about misconceptions of
angels. For example, seraphim (the highest order of angels) and cherubim (the second highest order) do not have the
letter 's' at the end of the respective words. If you see the words cherabims or seraphims, the writers who write books
about angels do not know what they are talking about. The reader will enjoy a remarkable and amusing journey with this
comedic satire in which all turns out well. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
Noah Sark (don't miss the Noah's ark pun) is a guardian angel on a new case. He is trying to make up for his
less-than-stellar work in Paris, where he was supposed to guard Princess Diana in 1997. This time he lands
in Angelo's All-Day All-Nite Donut Emporium in Las Vegas, and his mission is to guard Barbra, a girl named
after Funny Girl Streisand herself who looks a lot like Princess Di and has an Elvis impersonator father.
Noah quickly befriends Barbra and her boyfriend, Andy, to provide close safety surveillance. His efforts take
him up and down the Strip and feature all the hot spots of Sin City. Along the way, Noah imparts his heavenly
impression of humans, including their misguided beliefs about heaven and angels, and he takes some potshots at
organized religion of all denominations. Noah clearly has a good heart, and he tries to teach Andy how to be a
more supportive and kinder boyfriend. A fun romp that, if it doesn't offend readers, will surely entertain them.
From Kirkus Reviews
An Angel on assignment in Sin City is a delicious premise carried off with humor and verve... .
You can order Angel in Vegas: The Chronicles of Noah Sark
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