17 yr old Maddy works as a waitress in her uncle’s diner in Angel City – the city where the Guardian Angels live, and their fans and followers. After the Civil War, the angels announced their presence and set up a way to be guardian angels for a few select people. Originally there was a council of 12 – the angels that were truly immortal, having descended from heaven. The other angels were their descendants. Or course, protection doesn’t come cheaply, and the guardians are able to live the lives of celebrities, complete with a star on the Angel Walk of Fame. Each year a group of 18 yr old angels are chosen to become the new “recruits after going through years of rigorous training, go through the rituals, and be given their assignments – they are to keep tabs on their protections as they travel through life, and if one of them is in trouble, to yank them out to safety. New angel cams are being tried out, which allows the public to see these saves from the angel’s vantage, right as it happens, on ANN, Angel News Network. Before you had to wait until video taken by someone showed up and was aired. The celebrity status of the angels at it’s highest peak. Among the new recruits, a year younger than his fellow ones, is Jackson Godspeed, step-son of Mark, who sits on the council. He has the most beautiful shimmering blue wings, and is a heartthrob to the millions that watch and hang on to the angels, follow them to events, poster their walls with angel pictures, etc. The teens are the biggest fans, but no one is immune. Maddy’s BFF Gwen is angel mad, but Maddy can’t see the reason – she is focused on working and getting out and going away to college, and she also doesn’t think it fair that rich people can buy the protection, but only a lucky few win the angel lottery, and get it for free. She believes it should be available to all, although there aren’t enough angels to go around. She thinks it’s all a big hype. One day a handsome young man ducks into the diner, and Maddy serves him – she doesn’t know that it is Jackson. He is in some minor trouble, and so he decides to use the cover of asking for a job to get out of sight. Maddy takes him into the back, but is soon joined by her uncle, who demands to know what is going on, and then Mark Godspeed shows up, and they are able to get Jackson out of there. The next day he appears at her school to apologize, and she is furious with him. But not for long. Soon they are an item, although Vivian, Jack’s ex, is jealous, and believes that once he becomes a full guardian angel he will come back to her.
But in the meantime, someone is leaving the bloody stumps of ripped off angel’s wings, their “immortality,” on their star on the Walk of Fame. Once the wings are gone, an angel is mortal and can be killed. Sometimes they are stripped of their wings and are sent back to the mortal world to live as regular humans as punishment, but this is different. Bodies of the angels who have ripped off wings are being found. They try to keep this under wraps, but fear is flying. The wings are being left on the angel’s star, and are killed in order of the stars. The next up is Jackson, who star is to be unveiled after he graduates that week. And so begins a reluctant romance, murders to solve, deception and betrayal, and of course, a look, from a new perspective, about celebrity culture, and how it takes us over. Very unique premise in using angels this way, although it was otherwise a fairly standard book. The writing is fine, but not great, and the characters are the same old stereotypes, the moody teenage girl who won’t join in, the bubbly teen who adores gossip, the brooding young man, and a few jealous girls, etc. But the concept and descriptions of life in Angel City make up for that, mostly.