The Bookanistas: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

What Goodreads says:

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

What I say:

A TOUCH MORTAL is quite unlike any other angel book I’ve read. In fact, just calling it an angel book is selling it short. It’s definitely geared towards an older audience – themes of life and death take a dark twist; it almost reminds me of The Crow or a junior-league Queen of the Damned. Or really, any of the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles.

ATM starts off with the heroine, Eden, contemplating the bleakness of her existence on the Jersey shore. A life that had started spiraling wildly has suddenly turned sour, her friends and family have stopped paying any attention to her, and her world has taken on a certain Sylvia Plath quality. Then comes Az. A whirlwind romance follows, until we learn that Az is an angel, and half Fallen at that. And that is, as the description suggests, only the beginning of the end.

As I said, calling it just an angel book is selling the novel short. Instead of rehashing a mythology already heavily trodden, ATM creates a new myth with the Siders – teenagers who’ve fallen down the same dark path as Eden, ultimately killing themselves and winding up in a torturous ever-after of immortality, the absolute last thing that most of them would want. Heaven and Hell clearly play a role as the more conventional Upstairs and Downstairs, matching up with the Bound angels (those loyal to the Upstairs) and the Fallen (those for whom the elevator goes…down).

As the novel progresses, it becomes a lot deeper than the simple “girl meets boy. Boy reveals wings. Girl becomes immortal after a tragic death” tale we’ve all heard a million times before. 😉

The characters in ATM are fascinating. From the death-obsessed Kristen to the upbeat, Upstairs angel Gabe, and even a few characters that I can’t describe without giving something away, each strikes a different chord in the overall requiem of a dark and gritty New York. Each character is deeply flawed, and each is also equally fabulous because of it. At times hard to read, the character journeys are unflinchingly honest, ATM is NOT a light read, but it’s definitely worth the trip. And then some.

There’s a lot of world to build, creating your own supernatural race, but ATM strikes a good balance between giving you just enough information to whet your appetite, and a tightly paced plot that keeps the revelations coming. I’ve seen some reviews suggest that the book glorifies suicide, but considering how miserable most of the characters are in their afterlives, I think the opposite is more accurate. The book takes a hard look at actions and consequences, and how our actions define us.

I cannot recommend it highly enough.

See what the other Bookanistas are excited about this week:

Elana Johnson is tickled pink for The Liar Society


7 thoughts on “The Bookanistas: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Bookanistas: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford | Scott Tracey – Young Adult Writer --

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