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Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tzavelas

It starts out mundane enough- a call from the children of an acquaintance asking Marley to come over, that their uncle is missing and they were told to call her should anything happen.  The mundane ends there, shifting seamlessly into a world peopled with angels, demons, and their offspring- all of which seem to have an unhealthy interest in the kids Marley now finds herself in charge of, and determined to protect. A celestial war is unfolding, and the children are at the center of it all.

What caught me first about the book is the reality of Marley’s anxiety problem. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, the writing rang so very true, and made Marley not only a flawed and human character, but really someone I was rooting for on a very personal level. I cheered every triumph and winced in sympathy every time she stumbled. For someone with an anxiety disorder, it is sometimes an overwhelming feat to do something as basic as get behind the wheel and drive to work. To see Marley work through that and carry the book to its conclusion was magnificent.

I also became very attached to Marley’s friends, Penny and Branwyn. Their friendship is so tangible and true- it made me want to make some phone calls to friends I have accidentally neglected while life has been busy distracting me.

Tzavelas also has the benefit of having her fae and celestial beings act inhuman, something I adore in any books those forces appear in. On one hand there are the fae, the celestials, and the demons. On the other, the humans. Caught in the middle are the crossbreeds. The mistakes. The Nephilim. And it is in the dual nature, that sense of being caught between that twists through the Nephilim characters, where Tzavelas’ writing really shines. Here is an author who has a grasp on that anxious tension that results from being neither here nor there, and trying to figure out where and how you belong. Matchbox Girls is a book about twisting your own fate from the threads we are given at birth, and it is a splendid journey.