Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis and his dad steal angels—the stone kind that sit atop forgotten graves in forgotten cemeteries. They only do it out of necessity, like when the lady who owns the antique store where they both live says they need money to keep getting by. But Cade wants to stop, wants to be someone Soleil Broussard would be proud to go out with.
Cade doesn’t know how his story intersects with that of Achsah, a slave who lived near the bayou in his part of Houston more than 150 years ago. Or how he will cross paths with Zorra, an endangered ocelot suffering in a cage waiting to be sold as part of a market that trades in illegal wildlife. All of their stories come together during one particular storm in Kathi Appelt’s compelling story, Angel Thieves.
A masterful storyteller, Appelt weaves a tale that touches on injustices of the past and how they impact the present in ways both seen and unseen. She looks at the horrors of slavery through the eyes of a mother trying to save her daughters. She touches on wildlife poaching from the perspective of an animal stolen from her home. She delves into teen parenthood, and the heartbreak of young parents being rejected by their own families. Through all of the human drama, the one constant is the bayou that anchors the lives of those who live along its banks.
Angel Thieves combines history with the present and a sprinkle of magical realism to create a compelling story that flows as easily as the waters of Buffalo Bayou. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs and readers aged 14 and up.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.