Angel Burn (Angel, #1) - L.A. Weatherly A solid 3.5 stars. This was actually a pretty good book. At first glance, a lot of people would be turned off by what seems to be a cheesy, somewhat overdone plot line and a predictable romantic premise. But don't be fooled--underneath all of that is a gem of YA storytelling.

1. I admit I initially stereotyped the protagonists at first. The male lead is a badass, which set off alarms in my mind because usually the "bad boy" is so badly, one-dimensionally written that he quickly loses his appeal. Not so here! The author breathes life and motivations into Alex, the male lead. Admittedly, Alex's motivations lie behind past tragedy, but the author does it so that we can sympathize with his desire to protect himself. Similarly, I liked reading about Willow. Full disclosure: she is half-angel. And while reading that phrase makes me giggle, that I still liked Willow is a testament to how well she was characterized. The best thing about Willow was that she was sweet and genuinely caring without the slightest bit of arrogance. She wore her fear on her face, but despite it all, she fought.

2. Which brings me to the romance. Unlike some YA novels, romance doesn't take the most central role in the story. Or rather, romance is secondary to the threat of apocalypse. The threat that angels pose to mankind made me treasure Willow's and Alex's love more. The romance does get gooey, but I guess in order to love someone while fighting off a hoard of creepy, vampiric creatures, you have to show a lot of dedication.

3. Angels played the antagonists in the series. Surprising, as they weren't ever "fallen." Rather, it was interesting to think that angels would be driven by primal instincts like the rest of us non-celestial beings. I found it jarring yet intriguing, and I hope this gets further explained in the future.

4. This is the first YA book where most of the action takes place on the road. I found it refreshing and liberating, to be honest. In some ways, because the characters weren't grounded in one place, the road trip expanded the scope of the novel and heightened the feeling of urgency. The angels aren't just a problem in upper New York--no, they are a problem of national proportions.

Overall, I am impressed. This plot had many, many opportunities to turn sour or overly cheesy. As soon as I got through the first 50 pages, I seriously started to worry that the book would be a disappointment because the beginning was so strong. The ending was great, and I hope to read more of this trilogy.