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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Chosen - Andrea Lynn Ford 3.5 stars Andrea Lynn Ford’s Chosen is an intriguing debut by a promising new author whom I think will get even better with time. I have to admit, I was a little worried during the first few pages, since the opening scene contains a few descriptions and phrases that reminded me of the beginning of Twilight. I wasn’t quite sure whether the author did this intentionally, paying homage to the book that’s inspired an entire genre of paranormal romance, or whether she was playing with our expectations a bit…but in any case, I was very happy when the story quickly moved along into something unique!I was really interested by the psychiatric ward setting of the first portion of the novel, and by the fact that our protagonist, Amitiel, grew up almost entirely in a psych ward. I thought this was very realistically handled, especially considering what we later learn about Ami’s guardian. In fact, I could have even read a bit more about Ami’s life as a teenage girl on the ward.However, Chosen is an angel book, and circumstances soon force Ami to remember her true self and her true purpose. It’s not much of a spoiler to say that Ami is an angel, since she learns this pretty early on, and is actually very accepting compared to the way many YA heroines react to this sort of revelation. I really appreciated the author’s decision to have Ami immediately reclaim her memories and her old identity, so we didn’t have to go through pages and pages of "this can’t be true," "Am I really an angel?", "I don’t believe this!" etc, the way so many of these books do! At the same time, though, I must admit I missed the more immature, teenage Ami we were introduced to at the beginning of the book, and it might have been interesting to see more of a struggle between her angel and human selves.The author has clearly done her research into angelic lore, and I liked that she focuses on some of the less commonly known angels. I also appreciated the ways she changed the lore and made it her own—I found her vision of Hell particularly interesting! The romance was sweet, as was the almost mother/daughter-like relationship between Ami and Temperance. The ending wasn’t what I expected, and I loved the beautiful imagery of the final scene—it’s an ending that still feels vivid in my mind a few days later!