Angel Creek is a very powerful book. No part of the plot developed as I predicted. Sally Rippin made me feel as though I was down at the creek. "They crept through Nonna's vegetable patch, ducking between the tomato plants lined up like rows of watchful soldiers.... on the other side of the fence it was dark... the party seemed miles away, drowned out by the rushing water and the whispering of the peppercorn trees... There had been rain in the last few days and the creek was flowing fast. All the rubbish from the suburbs was pushed up onto the banks or caught up in the reeds."
As the three cousins explore the creek in the early evening they discover an angel. "There in the shallow depths was a pale, pale, child with glass-like eyes ... and long white hair that billowed like clouds. It rocked gently under the water, a thin white dress caught up around its knees. And it had wings."
One of these wings is badly damaged and so the children decide to move the angel to the shelter of an old shed on the school grounds. Their journey is made more hazardous by the presence of local bullies and the threat of discovery.
The next day is Christmas Day, it is Summer, it is very hot but the children's elderly Nonna has been rushed to hospital. Life has been turned upside down. With no presents and no celebration the three cousins are left to fend for themselves. There is something strange going on. A series catastrophes seem to befall the family - a smashed car, the baby becomes ill and an old loved tree crashes to the ground.
This book is mainly a story about transitions and the focus is on Jelly. She is in Grade Six and about to head off to High School. She has had to leave her Primary school friends behind as the family have moved into a new house in a different part of town. Jelly also needs to make sense of her extended family and think about relationships especially with her cousins.
It is not often I specify an audience for a book but I do think Angel Creek is really only suitable for girls in senior classes. Take a look at this review. After reading Angel Creek you must read Skellig by David Almond (and then see the movie) and Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech. Then look at books by Catherine Bateson which are about growing up such as Being Bee and The Wish pony. Also take a look at Cicada Summer and Junonia which are also books about growing up and change.
If you want to know more about Angel Creek here is another detailed review.