Devine Intervention: An Offbeat Tale of Teen Angels in Training

by J-Mirabelli

Do guardian angels exist? A recent poll published in Time magazine revealed that 69 percent of Americans believe in angels, and 46 percent of that group believe they have a personal guardian angel.

Martha Brockenbrough offers an unusual perspective on the afterlife in her first young adult book, Devine Intervention. Steeped in the heavenly practices of guardian angels and lost souls, Devine Intervention is a satire with a bit of a sacrilegious twist.

The book begins with a page from a handbook that is sent, upon death, to select members of SRPNT—the Soul Rehab Program for Nefarious Teens (Deceased) — because of the “growing problem of crowding in the lower levels of Hell.” One of those teens is a 17-year-old named Jerome, who is killed by a friend’s wayward arrow and finds himself at Heaven’s doorstep that is decorated with motivational posters and guarded by a man with a huge moustache.

Jerome reacts poorly when denied immediate entrance and is given a handbook with specific rules to follow so he can reclaim his soul. Because of his poor attitude, he ends up losing the handbook and violates its Ten Commandments for the Dead.

One of his assignments was being guardian angel to 16-year-old Heidi, but the one time he was really needed, Jerome was too busy socializing with a fellow SRPNT member to prevent Heidi from walking across a frozen pond and falling through the ice to her death. Jerome makes an attempt to rescue her, but things don’t work out too well for him, and he and Heidi find themselves in a race with the clock to keep her soul from disintegrating permanently and to keep Jerome out of Hell. They both find themselves in soul limbo.

In death, their relationship is conflicted, especially when Heidi realizes Jerome may have jeopardized her soul through his inattentiveness and laziness. While Jerome’s ultimate goal at first is to not get himself in more trouble, he begins to realize what the consequences to not taking his soul “rehabilitation” seriously enough means. Once he makes that realization, he learns what it takes to be truly responsible for another human being, and care more about their welfare than having fun or doing whatever he wants.  He comes into his own by the end of the story, putting Heidi before himself, and averting disaster.

As the book progresses Jerome and Heidi find that they do have some things in common.  Neither Jerome nor Heidi felt loved by friends or family. Death allows them to witness loved ones from another perspective. Seeing others grieve their absence builds their self esteem and brings some deep emotion to a story that for the most part is a satirical comedy.

As the book nears the end, readers may think they know how matters will turn out, but an interesting plot twist resolves the story in an unexpected, satisfying way.

Read more:

Devine Intervention | Miss Bookish Girl

Devine Intervention shows there’s life in afterlife

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