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The Belief in Angels by J. Dylan Yates
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The Belief in Angels

by J. Dylan Yates

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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The story was told in point and counterpoint by Jules and her grandfather. It just did not work for me. The grandfather's story might have been poignant and interesting if told as a stand alone but the parallels into his granddaughter's life were oblique at best.

There is no doubt that the author has mastered the art of communicating her ideas. Her thoughts, sentiments and conversations were clear and insightful but the darkness of those elements was a wanton attack on my sensibilities.

As I was reading the words "depraved indifference" kept echoing and resonating in the back of my mind. The story of Jules and her upbringing and her childhood and what she was forced to endure made for uncomfortable reading and if that was the author's objective she was successful. I did not enjoy the book and had a difficult time relating to the way the decade of my coming of age was described. ( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book is about Jules and her grandfather Szaja. Both are telling their stories: Jules in the 70's and her granfather in the 20's.

Jules is living in a very disturbed and dysfunctional environment with her parents. Between her parents there is violence, gambling, drugs and a lot of beating and to escape her imagination to bring some happy moments.

Szaja who in the 20's, witnessed unimaginable terror, violence and was too much that he develops a second personality to cope.

This book is disturbing, sad, poignant and beautiful at the same time. The author did an excellent job combining the two stories together, you could feel the pain and sorrow both were feeling.

My negative thing about this book is it was at time too slow but my overall opinion is that it's a great enjoyable book. ( )
  dom76 | Jan 8, 2016 |
Reviewed By Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite

In an absolutely emotional roller coaster of a read, debut author J. Dylan Yates has provided her readers with a wonderful piece of work in The Belief in Angels. Follow the story of Jules, a young girl who lives in a unique and quite dysfunctional family. In order to cope, she develops an amazing imagination and a great sense of humor. Her grandfather, Szaja, on the other hand, has developed a dissociative personality disorder as a coping mechanism for the horror and trauma that he encountered as a Jewish inmate of the Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s, and believes he is a soldier that he saw dead in a burial ditch. The novel alternates between these two characters, and while their stories seem quite different, they certainly share the need to develop extremely strong coping mechanisms for survival. Will they be able to heal the fractures in their own lives?

I loved this book. Loved. It. Author J. Dylan Yates has written a book that I could not put down once I started it. The characters, especially Jules and Szaja, are so true to life, so damaged, so relatable in some way, that I absolutely needed to find out what happened to them, and ended up reading much further into the night than I intended. The Belief in Angels would be enjoyed by any reader who loves a wonderful work of fiction, young adult, new adult or older adult alike. I highly recommend this book to anyone, and have already added author J. Dylan Yates to my very short list of must read authors. Once you’ve read The Belief in Angels, you will as well! ( )
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  JDylanYates | Oct 26, 2015 |
This book was a taste of home for me....life on the massachusetts coast in a town where the population doubles in the summer. It is narrated by a young girl till she becomes college age, one of the 'townies'. Not one of the privileged monetarily but one who appreciates and loves the open air natural life on the small island. Where the 'ocean transforms broken glass into something precious....something you can keep...'

A family of major dysfunction where it's basically every man for himself...with disastrous results. Her rock is her grandfather who lived thru hell in WW2 Germany, and now lives in a suburb of Boston. A refuge. The book successfully combines both stories, overlapping them like rippling waves.

It's a constant struggle, socially, emotionally, financially and ...spiritually. There were moments of incredible sadness but all with the ring of reality and truth. I read the book with tears in my eyes at points because it did hit home...at the same time i could sit back and feel the breeze and breathe deep that salt air!
She does escape...but not unscathed.

FAVORITE QUOTE: " So i put down the angry bag of shit i'd been carrying since i was 7.... I wanted you to believe someone might be watching over you. I think i wanted you to believe in something magical ...something transcendent. Like the BELIEF IN ANGELS? People don't know if angels exist , but they believe and hope and that hope keeps them going."
  linda.marsheells | Jul 16, 2014 |
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