Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE, by Toni DePalma


By Toni DePalma

Published by Crescent Moon Press, 2013
Genre: YA

When 17-year-old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil's sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. 
The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him.

While Cooper figures out his mission, he's thrown into the life he's always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend that can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn't watch out.

While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what's keeping he and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.


This was a fun, well-written book that kept me wondering where it was all going. As the story slowly reveals its secrets, I enjoyed watching the snarky Cooper unravel the twists that had his attitude toward life tied in knots. The story is told in first person by the sarcastic Cooper, including all the fun-to-read inappropriate thoughts that run through a teen boy’s mind.

Cooper starts as an angry and unrepentant young man, with enough attitude to rattle Heaven’s gates. He’s in Purgatory awaiting judgment, after burning down his school and himself. Given his sarcastic tone of voice and thought, it’s unclear to the reader why Saint Peter would give him a second thought let alone a second chance to redeem himself. Even Cooper doesn’t think he deserves another shot at life.

It’s the Devil’s sister, Lucy, sitting at the table next to Saint Peter, who advocates for letting Cooper return to earth to save a girl named Grace. This is the only part of the story that bothered me. (Lucifer has a sister who works for God?) But again, it seems this is all part of larger machinations afoot.

As the story unfolds, the reader finds there’s a whole lot more to Cooper than meets the eye. His body, his relationship with Grace, and his sleepy little town have become a living chessboard in the battle between good and evil, with real life playing pieces fighting for their souls. Cooper had no idea what he was getting himself into – and little did he know he’d already been playing a part in this drama for the last five years!

I liked the character of Grace, a troubled teen with an abusive boyfriend. She’s the one Cooper is supposed to save, but the reader can see she’s an independent thinker, despite being stuck in the position of total damsel-in-distress. Ms. DePalma does a good job of revealing her complex character, slowly removing the layers until we realize Grace’s motivations for doing the things she does, and her inner strength.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next chapter in Cooper and Grace’s journey.

About the Author:

Toni De Palma was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her first middle grade novel, Under the Banyan Tree, was published in 2007. Under the Banyan Tree was selected as a Kirkus New Voices Pick and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Her second middle grade novel, Jeremy Owl, was published in 2010.

Toni holds her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College and she is a recipient of a New Jersey Arts Fellowship. She currently resides in New Jersey.

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