Thursday, August 24, 2017

YA Story: "City of Angels" by Kristi Belcamino

YA Story: City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino, 2017, 9781943818433.

Belcamino sometimes ends up in my Facebook feed. Belcamino lives in MN and writes mysteries so I figured to give a novel a try. Well, I was expecting an modern day adult crime novel set in Minnesota. Nope. It's a YA novel set in 1992 Los Angeles. Well, those false expectations were my own faulty and the novel was a pretty decent YA novel. I was hoping for more adult than young. So it goes.

17-year-old Nikki Black left Chicago for Los Angeles by tagging along with her brand new boyfriend. Boyfriend is in his twenties and works in the film industry. He brings Nikki to Famous Director's house in Malibu. Nikki finds out Famous Director has some violent kinks and that Boyfriend is there to help Famous Director film Nikki for a private feature. A very private feature. A tie-down-Nikki-and-film-her-rape feature. That's not good.

Nikki bolts and as she escapes their evil clutches she finds 12-year-old Rain. Pink haired Rain was a captive in Famous Director's Malibu beach house and they both escape into the night and end up in downtown Los Angeles. They find a room in a cheap residential hotel and Nikki constantly thinks Boyfriend and Famous Director are out to catch her.

Nikki makes friends in the hotel with a mix of artists and musicians and finds waitress work at a neighboring restaurant. There is the usual YA grab bag of 'exotic' characters - meaning musicians, poets, a former model, street people, a drunken cop, celebrities - and Nikki having to face life as a lonely adult. Rain runs away after a fight with Nikki and Nikki spends the rest of the novel trying to find Rain - who Nikki is sure was kidnapped.

Things happen with sputtering and stalling love affairs. Danger. Scary adults preying on children and teens. Nikki stuck blaming herself for family deaths when she lived in Chicago. Nikki going it alone. Nikki accepting help from her new friends. A Scientology-like church that Nikki is convinced is involved with Rain's disappearance. Mystery murders. So on. So forth.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the book as a YA novel. But, I kept reading the story as an adult novel - which it isn't. Belcamino wrote this for teens. The characters are struggling with young person problems and look at things through a young person's eyes. I just wasn't too keen on that as I read.

1. Belcamino wrote some neat observations on people and character motivations. But, I forgot what they were.
2. As I type the air blowing in from outside smells kinda like cooked turkey.
3. This is the only Belcamino print copy available in the library catalog. There are two ebooks from her adult series. I just searched Baker and Taylor for some other print books and it says City of Angels is out of stock. B&T are sold out with 42 copies on order.  I presume that means the book is selling well, good for Belcamino.

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