Morning Glory is not exactly top dog at her high school. Sometimes she feels like she and her best friend Julia are the only ones who don’t belong to any cliques — and the cliques all pick on her. But when cutie Gabriel Diangelo (subtle, right?) transfers to their school and Glory starts going out with him, things start looking up. Gabriel is a little strange, for sure, but very sweet and he makes Glory happy.
Except that she’s still getting picked on. In fact, it’s worse, because Gabriel’s cousin Luci has also transferred in and she hates Glory and somehow compels everyone around her to make Glory’s life miserable. Plus, Glory has other things to worry about. She’s working on her own graphic novel and wants to present it at a comic convention, hoping to catch the eye of her favorite artist. And meanwhile, her friend Julia’s home problems are growing worse and worse.
The big question, generally, in a book that includes angels is how the story will handle the religious implications. A Match Made in Heaven basically sidesteps them — angels are creatures that have existed in their own world since before religion and they periodically come to our world to try to help or protect a mortal. In an interesting twist, Gabriel was supposed to be Julia’s guardian angel; when he is distracted by falling in love with Glory, things in Julia’s life go from bad to worse. Luckily, Glory, bolstered by Gabriel’s assurance and by her own achievements, is able to save the day herself.
Glory and Julia’s friendship is a strong point of this book, but can we also talk about the art for a minute? And how awesome it is? It’s a fun, slightly manga-esque style, clear and smooth and expressive. We periodically see art of a different style in the form of excerpts from Glory’s graphic novel, Steamgrrl. Her art is recognizably different, but not drastically so. It’s also great to see My Boyfriend is a Monster bringing the racial diversity: Morning Glory’s family is black, and Julia’s is Latino. (It might be worth noting that Gabriel looks a lot more human in the book than he does on the cover – I don’t know what’s up with those weird eyes. And, um, he doesn’t have wings most of the time.)
The story definitely has romance cred. Gabriel is a real sweetheart, though his angelic origins put a damper on the chances of a real happily-ever-after for him and Glory. (Plus, he’s not even supposed to kiss her!) But the book packs more than a girl-meets-boy-with-wings story usually does. Glory gains confidence, pursues her artistic dreams, and even stands up for herself with the cliques at school. The scene at the comics convention in particular gets props for lots of cool, realistic detail. There’s also humor and action, with the stakes climbing high as Luci gets more and more evil and Julia’s family situation gets scarier.
Fans of traditional romance stories may find the ending more bittersweet than they like, but overall, this is a clever, fun, feel-good book.