Synopsis: Michael is a 17 year old amateur boxer living in a group home in East Los Angeles. With the help of his trainer, a former prize fighter and ex-convict named Jerry, Michael has overcome early childhood tragedy to become one of the top amateur boxers in the nation and earned an invitation to the Olympic trials. As he awaits his final bout, an unforeseen incident forces Michael to move into a new group home where he meets Maria, a house manager with a heart of gold, and Lizzie, a newly arrived 6 year old girl who is struggling to adjust to her new reality. Over time Michael, Maria, Lizzie, and the other residents of the home come together to form what they all want most in life: a family. Just when everything seems perfect, their world is turned upside down. And this time, Michael can see no way to save himself or the family he has grown to love.
City of Angels is a touching and gritty urban tale of hope, resilience and family. If you have been to Los Angeles, then you know that the descriptions of the location were realistic. The author also does an amazing job with the details for the boxing matches even including famous fighters that attend these type of matches. I absolutely love boxing and liked the factual details about fighters. The characters were authentic, charismatic and engaging. Michael is 17 years old and has seen his fair share of tragedy yet he maintains belief that life will get better. He works continually towards his dream of Olympics but still finds time to reach out to others. He made me want to root and cheer him on. Angela is a smart, pretty and compassionate young woman who stands beside Michael despite wrong turn life had took. There were quite a few other characters like Victoria and Doug who worked for CPS that were unlikable yet still believable.
The story pace is steady with quite a few twists and turns. I would sometimes think I would be able to predict what would happen next and the author would surprise me. I did feel like the story length was too long and really should have been broken down into two separate parts. Despite the length, it was captivating enough to keep the reader interested. It had me rooting for Michael to achieve his goals and achieve happiness. The only other fault I found with it was the foreshadowing about Robert should have been at the end in an epilogue. I felt like it threw a kink in the story line with its placement. Overall, a great read for anyone who loves young adult books about overcoming adversity and fighting for justice.