Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Day for YA: Devine Intervention

Okay youse all. I know we're all middle grade and mafioso on this blog, but the Don's grand kids are getting older and he's allowing me the latitude to at least mention YA. In his words, "If youse is gonna get all lovey-dovey and crazy wid da hormones, just make sure it ain't wid a vampire."

So, I'm happy to announce the inaugural "A Day for YA" on MGM. In keeping with the Don's Vampirophobia, I've chosen a novel which I think's got it all: a guardian angel-in-training with an arrow through his head, snappy writing with jokes zinging off the page, and a view of the afterlife that only someone seriously hilarious could dream up. That novel is Martha Brockenbrough's debut,  DEVINE INTERVENTION.

Opening Paragraph: "One Monday morning, a couple years before my cousin Mike shot me in the forehead with an arrow, my eighth-grade homeroom teacher brought two cartons of raw eggs to school.

Second paragraph: "Who can tell me what these are?" Mrs. Domino said. She was wearing her second-hottest skirt, the one with the cherries on it. Score."

Okay, folks. Right there, in four sentences, you've got VOICE, BELIEVABLE TEENSPEAK, and ME, SERIOUSLY HOOKED. I mean, this character is a guy who can tell a story. Arrows; eggs; a teacher's second hottest skirt--there is just no way you are not going to read on. And when you do, you will find that this character--Jerome Hancock--is the voice in Heidi Devine's head. And just why is he in her head? Because he's taking part in SRPNT (Soul Rehabilitation for Nefarious Teens, Deceased), which means he's got a soul in his care, and how well he tends that soul will determine his fate.

Heidi Devine, for her part, is a high school junior who allows herself to be persuaded by her best friend Megan to take part in Talentpalooza!! "in a formfitting tuxedo made out of black-and-white spandex." Heidi's also a tall girl whose height gets her drafted on the basketball team even though her heart isn't in the game. It is after the dual humiliations of the talent show, followed by failing to score the game winning point on the basketball court, that Heidi takes a walk on a frozen pond and falls through the ice...

I won't tell you any more because, seriously, you need to read this book to find out what happens. The jacket flap says DEVINE INTERVENTION is "hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful, with a sense of humor that's wicked as hell, and writing that's heavenly." Too true. And if this is at all indicative of YA, then me and the Don are going to be reading way more of it. Heck, we may even have to rename this blog "The Devine (Pun Intended) Secrets of the YA-YA brotherhood." Corragio!

More about Martha Brockenbrough: WEBSITE
Twitter @mbrockenbrough

And this is officially my 100th post on Middle Grade Mafioso. I'm going to spend the afternoon listening to some accordion playing while watching my nemesis, Luca Brasi Jr., juggle flaming torches blindfold. Should be a good party.


  1. Congrats on 100 posts Michael. The Don must be happy. And that's a great idea to start YA Wednesday. This sounds like a great read. You're right that we can see a lot from the little snippets you posted.

  2. This one's now on my to be read list. Thanks! (Psst... if ya got any idea where Hoffa is, let me know. ) I won't tell.

  3. Some incredible opening lines.

    My daughter and I read a YA aloud a few weeks ago. It was something different for us, too. (FROZEN by Mary Casanova)

  4. Yes! LOVE this book! It's seriously hysterical. And I'm thrilled for Martha. Some YA novels are perfectly acceptable for older MG readers. This is a great example. (And I really hope it does become a movie and that they don't screw it up!)


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