Meet a guardian angel like no other, from a writer like no other. Bold rising star, Victoria Schwab, makes her whimsical, inspiring, and clever middle-grade debut.
At a first glance, Aria seems like your average twelve-year-old girl. She has coppery hair, colored shoelaces, and a passion for cupcakes. But there's more to Aria than meets the eye. She can dream things into existence, use her own shadow like a door, and change the world in small, important ways. Aria is a guardian angel. She's been sent here to earn her wings. But to do that, she'll have to help three different girls.
Aria's first mission is Gabby Torres. Gabby's always been quiet, but ever since her brother got sick, she's barely said a word.When a new school offers her a fresh start, Gabby wants badly to be someone new, but she quickly learns it's hard to make friends while keeping half her life a secret.
And then Aria shows up. Aria, who knows exactly what to say and do to make Gabby feel better. Will she be able to help Gabby find her voice? And will Gabby still trust Aria when she finds out exactly what she is?
3.5 stars. I’m just trying to live my life all the way up by reading every book my one true god Victoria Schwab has written.
And, well, aww. Heart eye emoji. This was nice. Not particularly outstanding or memorable, but I probably would've adored it in elementary school. I STILL can't believe Victoria wrote the Everyday Angel series (that fluffy lil pink cover in comparison to the nightmare that was everything else she's written, wow) but I'm weirdly proud of her for what a journey she's made.
So anyway, New Beginnings is about a guardian angel named Aria who is earning her wings by helping out Gabby, a 12-year-old girl who has been going through a rough time due to her brother's illness. It's fairly predictable and doesn't have the twisty twists or wild creativity of her later works. It was fun and cute, though! I read it in a single hour. And the ending totally hit me in the feels in a warm fuzzy way.
I'm pretty sure that Victoria is the one author who can consistently make me care about familial love subplots. I usually couldn't care less about family conflicts. However, there are multiple family relationship plotlines in Shades of Magic, The Archived, and New Beginnings, and I've been genuinely invested in all of them. *admires her writerly sorcery*
Although it only has 1k ratings on this site, so you wouldn't think it was that successful, I remember seeing that Victoria wrote somewhere (I forget where) that she sold this to Scholastic for book fairs and it sold over 600k copies. Which... WOW??? I am just so proud of my fave author and everything she does.
2018 you’re joking? i read this when i was in elementary school. this book is literally sitting under my desk. i can’t believe i read a victoria schwab book when i was just a kid. this shouldnt be as funny as it is
2020 nothing to see here... just editing reviews from two years ago to correct my horrid grammar
I told you I loved Victoria Schwab and now after reading New Beginnings, which will be my third book from her, I can say that I am in love with her writing.
I loved both Gabby and Aria. Gabby just wants to be notice for being herself - not because of her super sick brother. Then there's Aria, who is Gabby's guardian angel who actually ENJOYS helping people. I loved everything about these two girls just because they were so likable.
Again, I'm so freaking beyond happy that I found this book/series because I really missed Victoria's writing. Both girls were such lovely characters and now I can't wait to dive into the second book.
Um, I'm sorry, what? Who gave this book permission to be so good?! I mean, it's Schwab, I know it wouldn't be awful, but... It just looks like light fun fluff. I should have known better. It WAS happy (mostly), but I was literally crying at parts. RTC.
"Maybe none of this would be okay. Life wasn't fair. Death wasn't fair. And nothing she could say right now would make it easier to bear."
This book just is all the emotional feels - joy, anger, anxiety, grief - that a person could feel. My first review is undoubtedly better than this one, so I'm going to cut my self short here.
Have a wonderful evening.
ring ring "hi, yes? oh, I'm calling because of the emotional *pain* this book put me through."
I know. I know. But I promise the book is 100% better than the cover. I don't know who designed this book cover, but it is appealing to exactly no one.
Aaaaanyways. I just would like to pledge my love and appreciation to the amazing author who is Victoria Schwab. For always being there to make me bawl my eyes through a middle-grade book.
Characters. I appreciate V.E. so much for not being afraid to really dig deep psychologically when writing twelve-year-old characters. Our MC, Gabby (which I despise that nickname, I'm sorry), was absolutely fantastic. Her problems and situation felt so real, and I wishwishwish that I read this book when I was in middle school because, while my family was not going through something as taxing and heart-breaking as hers was at the time, I know that middle-school me could definitely relate to this protagonist so so much. It deals with some heavy stuff. Fear and anxiety, feeling invisible but not wanting attention at the same time, not knowing how to manage friendships--I could go on. Just so you know, I cried three times while reading this so, it's fine, I'm fine. Aria was also so delightful, and I felt like I was able to understand and appreciate all the side characters as well, so THANK YOU (my dear writing goddess) Victoria Schwab for just like being able to write.
Plot. This part of the book was so solid. Talk about an amazing idea-vs-execution type book. I thought the whole guardian angel concept was so sweet and fantastic. Honestly, I felt like I was watching It's a Wonderful Life and I dearly hope we hear a bell ring when Aria gets her wings. To be honest I could not say that this was "such a fun book," because well...picture me slouching over my laptop with dried tear tracks down my cheeks trying desperately hard not to start weeping ungracefully.
Writing. I mean, is there any more to be said. If you've committed yourself to read this far through my review, then you probably already know my passion and obsession with the breathtaking writing style of our dear Victoria Schwab. I don't say this lightly, but also don't take my word for it, but this book may be the most well-written middle-grade book I have ever read.
Well, have a fantastic evening--watch Shadow and Bone on Netflix (you won't regret it) 😎.
eek! I loved this book so much! It filled my heart with so much joy and happiness. Aria is a wonderful character and so quirky and I love her so much.
ahhh ve schwab! just send daggers in my heart for poor gabby. I cried once in this book AND IT WAS IN THE FIRST CHAPTER. LIKE COME ON. WHAT THE HECK. I can't believe I cried nine pages in the book, it's fine. i'm fine.
jk, i was not fine reading this entire book, I was put on the edge (and came VERY close to tears on many occasions) and I just - oianrg ouearhg oaergn aer.
the cover is horrible. SORRY, let me just get that out of the way. Lizzie told me today that she was embarrassed to take it out of her backpack today a school because it just looks like a middle grade book (not in a good way) BUT IT IS SOOOO GOOD. wayyyy better than the cover (and that's saying something...coming from me)
well, i must go calm myself down and study for my engineering test that is happening tomorrow (I just had to finish this book so I pushed it off...) so I must take my leave but it was sooo good and I feel both sorrow and happiness!
I read this during the PositiviTea and Books readathon and it was exactly the kind of gently uplifting book I was after.
Aria, a young new angel, comes to earth to find and protect her charge, Gabbie. Gabbie is just starting a new school and feels lost until Aria arrives and befriends her. Aria shows her the importance of friendship and honesty but also learns a lot about herself in the process. Gabbie realises she wants to make new school friends and find her passion in life and Aria helps her do both those things.
The plot is simple and straight forward, but that's what I'd expect from a middle grade series aimed at younger readers and it didn't stop me from enjoying it. There were messages about love, hope, and trust woven into this story and it was lovely to read a pretty innocent book about two young girls growing closer as friends and stronger as people.
This is a really positive story about helping others and being the best version of yourself you can be, and I'm glad I finally picked it up.
*I received this book from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review*
Victoria Schwab continues to stun me with her gorgeous writing, incredible characters, and surprising plots. This is a middle grade book, but the only thing that makes it feel that way is the age of the characters. Other than that, I think this book could and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. It was so good!
I really loved that Aria is a guardian angel, but she isn't centuries old. She doesn't understand some things in our world since she's only been alive for about a week and on Earth less than that. Sure, she's sent to help, but she can only help in small ways. She can't heal Gabby's brother. She can't magically make Gabby discover that she's her own person. But she can be a friend and encourage Gabby to step outside her comfort zone, make friends, and find her voice. There are rules for guardian angels, and I thought that it was interesting to see how Aria would find ways to accomplish her mission in spite of those rules.
This book switches perspectives every chapter, and I think that that really helped developed both Gabby and Aria. It allows the reader to get inside each girl's head and find out how they're dealing with certain situations. Because, even though this is a middle grade book about angels, there's still hard subjects to deal with like sickness and death. We get to see Gabby struggle with her brother's sickness, and we get to see Aria's outsider perspective. I thought that the hard subjects were dealt with really well, and that this book could even help young girls who might be in a situation similar to Gabby's.
Another thing I really appreciated about this book was that, although Aria is a guardian angel sent to help Gabby, there's no mention of who sent her or where she came from or how she got to be an angel. I think that will help this book hit home for a larger audience, since you can believe whatever you want about Aria's beginnings. It makes it easier to relate to this story, and it helps the reader not become hung up on things that don't matter to the story.
I wish that there were books like this at my book fairs when I was in middle school, because I would have picked it up, devoured it, and then made all of my friends read it too. I'm really excited about this series, and I think that fans of any of Victoria's other books will really enjoy New Beginnings. It's a fresh new take on guardian angels, and I can't want to read the rest of the series! 5/5, for sure.
I am so, incredibly lucky. ALA midwinter just happened to be less than a mile from my home this year, so I went. There were lots of lovely, wonderful people, and amazing books. I didn't figure they'd have this one (Given as her next book, The Unbound, comes out tomorrow, I figured if any, they'd have that!), but I was looking at Scholastic's books anyway.
I may have squealed when I saw this. Then gaped at the lovely person behind the desk and grinned like a maniac as I glomped this. Luckily, this kind of behavior is pretty normal in a book-event, so it resulted in grins right back.
I forced myself to wait until today to read it. I now have a bookhangover from this. Seriously. Middle grade books are not supposed to hit you in the warm, fuzzy, feels. The wet on my face is from onions, I swear. Funny, sweet, sad, and hopeful, all at once. I loved Aria, she's refreshing and spunky, and the magical elements are gorgeously done. And Gabby has a quiet courage that's perfect for her. Also, I have to point out: The Spanish in this book fits. It's not random words thrown in to emphasize "Oh hey, this character is Hispanic." but words with emotional context, which is (in general) the words bilingual people will slip back into Spanish with the most. That's a personal pet peeve of mine, and wonderfully done here.
I know I gush at Victoria's books a lot. But she constantly surprises me with how everything a character does, says, and (for POV characters) thinks ends up blending into a coherent whole. More than anything else, her characters keep me coming back. The fact that they're built with such style and grace, that even when told in the clarity of middle grade prose, they can still make me have "all the feels"? That's so rare that you can expect more gushing and glomping of her books. Every. Single. Time.
I didn't expect to love that book because I didn't like the cover. I thought it would be too girly for me... How could I be so stupid? It's Queen Schwab after all!
Anyway, love that book. It made me cry, I cried with relief and happiness and hope that everything gets better if we give ourselves the chance. Of course, life is sad, of course, things happen but in life, we have two options: give up or go ahead. It also showed us that we need to protect the people we love. Guardian angels don't exist so we need to be attentive and to help the ones who are desperate to be seen. One person can do the difference and if in this book it is Aria, why can't it be us? I loved that book and I highly recommend it! Even if you are an adult, I think there are still things you could learn.
I also wanted to quickly speak about Queen Schwab writing. She doesn't have lots of complicated sentences or various vocabulary. Not at all. She has pretty simple sentences but the way she uses words to exactly put the finger on every feeling I can't express is truly incredible. I've never read an author who made me feel so well understood and less alone.
I really liked this book. I liked how it wasn't focused towards Gabby's brother, but towards Gabby herself. I liked that this book addressed that even if you have someone close to you, who is seriously sick, you shouldn't become less. Your problems might not seem as dire as that person's, and maybe they aren't, but you're still important, and your problems are real to YOU! Aria is a wonderful character. I look forward to reading more Everyday Angel books.
If you like angels, I bet you would love this book. This book tells you to help others with their feelings. Help others the way people help you. As I was reading, I made a connection with Aria because she helps people and I help people too. As I read the book I was sad and happy. I recommend this book to 6th graders who believes angels. I recommended the book because angels mean happiness, and that's what the book's about.
I had no idea that Victoria Schwab could write a heartwarming Middle Grade book, but that's what she did! I really enjoyed Gabby finding her voice, Aria's quirks and Gabby's relationship with her brother. I would have loved a book like this back in my MG days (so incredibly long ago).
Book #12 for 2017; #5 for the Mt TBR Challenge The Legendary Book Club of Habitica's Ultimate Reading Challenge Task: The first book in a series that you haven't read before Better World Books Prompts: - A book under 200 pages - A fantasy novel - A book by a female writer Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge Prompts: - A fantasy novel - A YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+ Possible Book Bingo Squares: - A book with a female heroine - A book with multiple perspectives PopSugar Ultimate Reading Challenge Prompts (max 3): - A book involving a mythical creature - A book written by someone you admire - The first book in a series you haven't read before
I am clearly not in the target demographic for this book, and I've never been really into the whole angel thing, but I quite enjoyed this middle-grades fantasy novel. Probably because Schwab presented the angel narrative as pretty straightforward fantasy and didn't go in for a bunch of religious crap. (So if you're a huge fan of Touched by an Angel, you will likely be disappointed by the lack of condescension and proselytizing.)
I thought it was interesting that Aria (our "everyday angel") seemed to be not just new to angeling but also new to existing in general, at least on any human plane. So it was fun to watch her adjust to her own humanity as she was learning how to be an angel and also how to help her assignment, Gabby, find her sense of self. Not to mention, just a little bit ironic.
I'm glad Schwab didn't portray the adult characters as enemy combatants. Gabby's mother was just overwhelmed and in need of a break herself, and she and Henry's parents were simply doing what they felt was most supportive of their sick children. Even the teacher who caught Gabby in her lies was reasonable and compassionate.
This is a sweet and very well written tale of self-discovery during a phase of childhood that is difficult under even the best circumstances. I intend to pass my copy along to a friend who has a 9-year-old daughter.
Aria materializes outside a hospital and starts looking for someone with an aura of blue smoke. She finds Gabby who is dealing with her brother struggling with cancer. It's turned her life upside down. Not only her brother being sick, but the way people are treating her. She is no longer Gabby, but rather the girl with the sick brother. When they move to be close to the hospital and she goes to school, she's going to keep that part of her life quiet.
Middle Grade, it was understandable and went incredibly fast. I loved the characters, especially Aria. 4.5 stars.
This series was one of Victoria Schwab's first. I always meant to read it, but never got around to it. I got this at a library book sale and thought I'd give it a whirl. This is a sweet middle grade novel about what it's like when someone close to you is sick and it encompasses everything. Gabby loses herself as everyone worries about her brother. This is the story of how she finds her voice again.
This book is so sweet, it was given by my bestie and it was exactly what I needed. Full of hope, positivity and faith, showing when life gets hard there is always hope for the future. I've read a few of Victoria Schwab books and I've got to say this one made me smile.
Short and a quick read, definitely 100% made for middle grade readers. But that's not a bad thing. That just means that Victoria Schwab can write for any audience.
Considering how young the book slants, it actually manages to tackle rather tough subjects with tact, realism, and thoughtfulness. Not that I would have expected anything less from Schwab. But whoa. Girl with cancer-ridden brother feels invisible and needs a guardian angel to help her find her own place in the world. I definitely felt this story in my heart.
At the end of the day, I have questions about this whole angel type thing and the boundaries of magic and whatnot (also, dude with purple smoke, can I see you again?), but seeing as this is a middle grade book, I understand why it's not delving into the specifics too much. It's definitely an enjoyable and heartfelt story.
I thought for the most part this book was a entertaining book. The main characters had bright personalities. The main characters names are Gabriel and Aria. Aria is sent on a mission to make Gabby lose her "smoke". Aria figures if she makes Gabby happy she'll get her wings and officially be a guardian angel. Most of the reason why Gabby has smoke is because her brother named Marco is very ill and basically lives in the hospital. Gabby never wants people to know that but she only told Aria because they had a connection.Also, in this book there was exciting conflict. There was a time in this book where Gabby had to sing a solo for choir she was getting really nervous but in the end of it she did good. Other than that Everyday Angel is a good book i suggest people to read.
I am on a quest to read every single Victoria Schwab book. These are her (first?) middle grade/kids series. I got really nostalgic reading this first book, maybe just because of the stylization of the book itself - large font and that rough mass-market paper that's sort of yellowish. I was a little nervous because I haven't read something like this in a long time. but shame on me, because Victoria Schwab can do literally anything. It's surprisingly deep and has a lot of really great moments. Though I enjoyed it now, I would have loved this as a kid. It's got some really important messages about family, friendship, and, crazy enough, death. I only wish it were longer. I imagine the same premise, but in a YA format could be spectacular.