January 31, 2012 by Coleman & Stott
Source: author for review
As if the devil’s food cake at her wake and the white fat pants she’s stuck wearing for eternity weren’t bad enough, fourteen year-old Gabby is quick to discover that Cirrus, the main rung of Heaven, is a far cry from the Pearly Gates. Here, SkyFones and InnerNets are all the rage. At her first Bright ceremony, G.O.D., the automated assignment system, spits out Angela Black, Gabby’s arch nemesis and longtime fencing rival. As a Bright, Gabby has to protect Angela, her assigned mortal, in order to move up through the training levels of heaven.
Back on earth, Angela starts hitting on Michael, Gabby’s crush and should-have-been boyfriend. Gabby’s pranks to quell the love are harmless at first until the school dance sabotage gets completely out of control. Then, Celestial Sky Agent, Lawrence, who happens to have anger management issues of his own, steps into reveal that Angela has big problems, and what she really needs is Gabby’s help.
Determined to right her wrong and ease her mother’s grief, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to earth for just one day. But if Gabby’s not careful, her well-meaning mission just might shift the very foundation of Heaven, Earth, and every place in between, causing the danger of the dark side to roam free.
First off, thank you to author S R Johannes for the opportunity to read this wonderful book. This was such a joy to read. What an outstanding addition to the world of middle grade reads.
Gabby is such a great character. She is strong, spunky, loving, funny and passionate about what she believes in. The great thing though is she is still very much flawed, like the majority of us. But, we get to see her grow and learn from her ever growing list of mistakes.
Not only did I adore Gabby, but we are treated to an array of equally lovable secondary characters. Like, Lawrence, Gabby's SKYagent. The relationship between these two is not only endearing, but downright funny at times. We have the 14 year old rebelling angel and her grouchy...yet, softy at heart...mentor. They really are a great pair. Then we have Gabby's best BITfriend, Jessica. Jessica is sweet, positive and very funny. It was so much fun to see the friendship develop throughout this story. They are the perfect partners in crime!
Of course with all this BRIGHTness, comes the dark. Author, S R Johannes, did an outstanding job of creating a unique version of Heaven(Cirrus) and Hell(Ignitus). It's something new and different. And something that I think will appeal to the middle grade readers out there. So much so, I have passed this one onto my 10 year old. She is a few chapters in already and loving it!
I think what I loved so much about this book is not only the new prospective of what Heaven could be like, but also all the great lesson's within the pages of this fun story. I definitely took away a feeling of always treating people with respect and dignity. We truly can never know what someone else's life is really like or what they may be feeling until we take the time to get to really know them. We need to tell the people in our lives how we feel about them. It can all be taken away so quickly. Living with regrets is never a good thing. Also? Sometimes things happen for a reason. Whether good or bad, there is always something to be learned from the experience.
If I had but one negative thing to say? It would be that at times the SKYisms were a bit over done. However, I think that may have just been me and my adult prospective. I have a pretty big suspicion that they will be very well received from the middle grade crowd.
In the end, I recommend On The Bright Side to all middle grade and above readers. I think Gabby is definitely a character young girls will fall for. Coming from an adult prospective? I loved it. It is a fun, light read. I really do look forward to seeing where Gabby's next phase of training takes her and very much look forward to the second book!
Rating: 4.5 stars