In this sequel to The Angel Of 13th Street, we catch up with Noah and Jeremy shortly after the ending of the first book.
Jeremy is trying to help a meth addict off the streets, Noah is struggling with memories and haunted still by whom he couldn't save while he's trying to save another teenager, and Doc is making plans to turn the mission over to Noah, formalize it more, and get more volunteers.
And Jeremy is about to graduate from high school with plans to attend college on a scholarship, which will likely take him away from Noah.
In this book, Noah stumbles hard and nearly falls, and it's the Angel himself who needs saving this time around. Stuck in the memories from his former life on the streets, Noah lets his anger and his grief nearly consume him, full of doubt that he's doing any good at all, because he couldn't save Billy, not realizing that he's approaching an emotional meltdown.
This book is primarily Noah's story, whereas the first one was primarily about Jeremy finding his feet. We see flashback after flashback to Noah's life with Billy, his time as a rentboy, a drug addict, and the fall that nearly killed him but ended up saving him. We watch Noah fight his demons, and struggle with depression and hopelessness when he can't save Chip from the clutches of his pimp.
Eden Winters doesn't mince words here, and there's no fluff inside either. This is raw and gritty, showing the seedy underbelly of society that most of us don't want to see.
But there's love and hope too, and there are successes, such as Lark, who finds the strength to leave Tina behind and pull himself out of the mess his life has become.
We also get a full glimpse into Noah's and Jeremy's domesticity, and it was lovely to see Jeremy maturity level increase even more. I really enjoyed seeing him be so patient with Noah, not pushing, but also not allowing Noah to completely self-destruct either. I think that Noah's burned out emotionally, and he's not yet fully realized that Jeremy is an equal partner in the relationship, and not just the kid he saved and who's now running the Tub Of Suds next to the bar. The fact that Noah keeps things to himself and, even worse, keeps things from Jeremy is super not cool, but also understandable within Noah's frame of mind.
There are some intimate scenes, and these further the plot, showcasing how Jeremy catches Noah when he stumbles, which really drives home the point how much Jeremy has grown into himself.
Again, this is not a fluffy book, but it feels real, it's superbly crafted, it has fully fleshed out, three-dimensional characters, and the author is never afraid to call a spade a spade. I, for one, appreciate that.
I look forward to Lark's story.
** I received a free copy of this book via Indigo Marketing and Design. A positive review was not promised in return. **