A Million Angels
While Mima is sending Dad a million Angels every night to keep him safe, who is looking out for her?
“We talk about everything, Dad and me.
About all the mysteries inside of us. About all our wonderings of the world.
But tomorrow my dad goes to war. Then what will I do?”
Jemima’s dad’s in the Army and he’s off to Afghanistan again for six whole months.
Her mum’s about to have another baby and hasn’t got the energy to worry about anything else.
Gran is staying to help out, but her head is filled with her own wartime memories.
So while Mima is sending Dad millions of guardian angels every night to keep him safe, who is looking out for her?
Read an extract from A Million Angels
OH! MY! GOD!
The shower is not terrible. It does freeze all the nerve endings under my skin and make me jangle with pain, but I manage to turn my back on everyone so they can’t really see. If I don’t make a fuss hopefully they’ll leave me alone. I even manage to say, “Yay! You’re a good teacher, Tory. This is actually quite good fun.” I flick a few drops of icy water out to them and make a fake laugh. They squeal! Squealing is good. Maybe this is how you make friends. Maybe this is what messing about is like. Maybe this is what they want! I take a deep breath and cup my hands then I fill the cup with freezing water and throw it out of the shower.
Tory Halligan shrieks!
“You’ve soaked me!” she screeches. “Look at what you’ve done!” She grabs a towel. “Look at me! I’m soaked through!”
“I didn’t mean to soak you,” I say. “I was just having fun.”
“I am so getting you back for this, Jemima Taylor-Jones.” Her eyes scald my skin. “Nobody does that kind of thing to me!”
I turn the shower off and lean out for a towel. My hand grabs the corner of one, but Tory snaps it away. She clucks and clucks like mad and starts grabbing armfuls of towels.
“Let’s throw them out the window,” she shrieks. “All of them! That’ll get you back.”
She opens the window and bundles them into the night.
Jess squeals like a fat pig. She grabs my clothes from the floor and stuffs them into Tory’s hands. Tory turns back to the window. I shiver. Beth and Sameena stand on the edge with wide glass eyes.
“You can’t do that!” I shriek. “It’s not fair. I’ve done my dare, now it’s someone else’s turn.”
“I can do what I like,” snaps Tory. “I always do!”
Jess runs to the bedroom for the rest of my stuff. I’m freezing to death. I try to cover myself up with my hands and pull my stuff from Tory at the same time.
“Stop it!” I scream. “Give me back my clothes.”
Sameena and Beth squeal. They’re in a frenzy now and Tory is up on the window ledge. She hangs out of the window, flapping my clothes like flags. I edge in next to her. My damp cold skin slips on the tiles and the chill night air whispers over my skin.
I reach for my top. It’s in her hand. Shining angel white under the moon. Flapping wildly in the wind. I don’t like the wind.
“Sorry, freak,” taunts Tory Halligan. “You can’t have them back unless you go out and get them. Ha! Ha! Ha!”
And one by one she drops my things.
“Give them back, Tory,” I shout. “This isn’t fun. You can’t do this.”
“Watch me!” she says, leaning further and further away.
Jess brings my sleeping bag and pyjamas and rucksack in. She passes them to Tory. I’m piggy-in-the-middle and I reach and stretch to grab something, anything to cover me up.
“Please!” I say. Tears prick the back of my eyes. I stand up on the window ledge and shout, “DON’T DO THIS TO ME! PLEASE!”
They all freeze for a moment then Tory’s eyes flame like wildfire. She dangles my knickers in front of my eyes and laughs.
“Want them?” she squawks.
Sameena and Beth giggle. Jess has gone mad. She’s ready to throw the contents of the entire house outside.
I grab for my knickers. Tory flicks them away. Armies of goosebumps march on my skin. I climb off the window ledge.
“Just give them to me,” I scream, flying at her. She jerks backwards, waving them out in the wind. Showing them off to the stars.
“Stinky knickers!” she taunts. “Stinky knickers! Stinky knickers! Stinky knickers!”
Then the others join in. I’m drowning in sound.
“Stinky knickers! Stinky knickers! Stinky knickers!”
“Give them here,” I shriek. I climb back on the window ledge and stretch my arm out towards her hand.
“Stinky knickers! Stinky knickers!”
I reach further and further out. Tory Halligan stretches further and further away.
“I hate you, Tory Halligan,” I scream. “I wish you were dead!” My words slice the air like a kite string. “Give them back to me! Please!”
And then she stretches just one millimetre too far and for a moment I think we’re both going to fall. Then an idea rips through my brain like lightening. A smooth sense of calm settles like snow on my skin.
At last! I’ve found a way.
This is it!
The final most perfect piece of my Bring Dad Home mission.
I glance at the others, then at Tory. I can do this. I have to.
I have no choice.
Dark moon shadows loom on the lawn below. A gnarled black-silhouetted tree cracks and creaks in the wind.
Imagine you’re an angel, I say to myself. Come on! You can do it! Come on, Jemima…
This is the bad-enough thing I’ve been looking for. This will definitely bring my dad back home.
I stretch my arms out wide and imagine a million soft feathers fluttering on my wings. My skin is alabaster white. I’m dazzling under the stars.
And I’m about to fly towards the silvery moon when Tory grabs hold of my leg.
“GET OFF!” I shriek, pushing her away. “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
She grips me tighter.
“Stop it!” says Tory. “You’re mad!”
I grip her shoulders to push her away.
“Come down from the window,” screeches Sameena. “Both of you! You’re scaring me.”
The wind catches the window and rips it wide open with a howl. Shampoo and conditioner bottles clatter and skid like skittles on the tiles. We wobble and topple. I try to push Tory back indoors. I edge myself out. She pulls me back.
“What are you doing?” I scream. “Leave me alone!”
My foot slips on the tiles. I crash into Tory. She clings on to me. I need to shake her off.
I have to close my eyes…
I have to fly.
The wind whirls and whips my skin and a huge gust swallows us whole. We topple. We catch each other’s gaze. Terror blazes in our eyes as I slip off the window ledge and thud on the tiles and Tory Halligan tumbles through the night and into the garden below.
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What people are saying about A Million Angels
A great author and a great book! A great author and a great book! Jungle July 2015
Amazing! So hard to put down. Such an amazing author. Has to be the best book I have ever read. I will definitely read it again! Jane Austen June 2015
Epicly Epic I sounded like I was dying (though I do if it's by Kate Maryon) Recommend to 9-13. Just they it, it's really emotional and happy (quite like a roller coaster). Jessica Pearson June 2015
Scary at bits, but I love it. I am so reading more of her series. Funny how she talks in her head. Millie Booth Feb 2015
This was an amazing book. I couldn't put it down. Brilliant plot. I highly recommend it. I wish it didn't end. Madeleine Price-Lewis Jan 2015
Wow It bring tears to me eyes! I loved it and I'm ten so I would recommend it to someone from 9-12. Gracie Vage Jan 2015
My 10 year old has now read all of Kate Maryon's book. She loves them all and finds the plots perfect and gripping for her age group. M. Powell Jan 2015
Thought-provoking This is a story that just make you realise how hard it is for people whose parent work in the army. Jemima is stuck with her pregnant mum who completely does not understand her while her dad is away in Afghanistan fighting . She sends a million angels to him every day but who is looking after her ,a presentation is coming will her stage fright get the better of her and will she find her Gran's lost love of Bonger Regis?????? PS March 2013
Brilliant! Everything Kate writes is deeply moving and well thought out. Often tackling difficult issues. I bought this for my daughter, who wasn't a great reader but she reads every one of Kate's books. Lovely read. Sunraye 2011
So sad but I loved it. It was amazing. I can't believe how good it was. The money was well spent for the book. Millie Booth August 2015
A lovely story. my 10 year old loves Kate Maryon . This Book has a great story line. A happy ending that will make you cry. Little T May 2015
I thought this book was amazing well my daughter did and she could hardly put it down so worth the money and so where the others in the series. Helen Ramsey March 2015
Okay first things first - I thought this book was amazing. Just amazing! Eileen Hayes Feb 2015
This is an amazing book and I really enjoyed it. It's sad and happy and makes you want to cry. I love this series of books and this is my favourite. Anonymous Feb 2015
Really good family love and a great story to share with friends and family. Heart warming story that will truly teach you a lesson in life.
Lucy Dec 2014
I Love This Book! A heart warming story I love this book such a page TURNER that ok read it in on err afternoon.
Matrue and non-patronising story for the age group I'm rating this a full 5 stars for the age group it's recommended for. A lovely little treat, discovering this author. It was pointed out to me as I'm 'minding' the author at a book event this month and have never read any of her books.
On first impressions, the cover indicted a heavily girl-oriented story, tween-focused on girly-type things. That is a mistake. And potentially putting off potential readers. It's actually quite issue-laden, for a 9-12 book. Jemima's dad is a soldier and going back to Afghanistan. Fiercely loving and worried for him, Jemima tries to do everything she can (including some rather dangerous stunts) to get the army to send him back home. She's also a bit of a misfit in school and the centre of a quite bitter struggle between the popular group and her fellow army-brat Jessica, who for me was one of the more interesting characters.
It's certainly not a Louise Rennison / Princess Diaries light and fluffy read. It has a few shocks and expects its young readers to be able to cope with quite complex emotional situations. Very impressed. Just wish the cover would be less girly to encourage a wider audience. K.J Noyes
A Million hugs to Kate for this awesome book! A Million Angels = EPIC. It's one of those books which drag you in. A realllll page-turner which had different emotions flickering across my face. BC Staffs July 2014
BEST BOOK EVER OMG I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. IT HAS SOME AMAZING WORDS IN IT AND REALLY GOOD SHOW DON'T TELL. M. Frow May 2014
AMAZING! A Million Angels is very emotional… kind of like a rollercoaster of emotions really.She's always upset and tries to write the future. Kinda like Ned says the book! Chloe M April 2014
Love it! OMG I love this book it is the story of my life because my dad just went on a six month trip as well so I made a connection. Deborah Fitzgerald Jan 2014
An Amazing book! Loved this book, I could have kept reading it forever. There was never a boring moment. This was a very touching book for 11+ aged readers. It is a story of an amazing girl who has a father in the army and has to also deal with the trauma of moving from year 7 to year 8. She changes lives - for good and bad - and find out so much about the world along the way. This was the first book I have read by this author and love It I will defiantly read more! Josie Drapkin Nov 2013
Very good for 11 year-old daughters Kate Maryon is an interesting writer. her books have sad aspects but are thought- provoking. My girls enjoy her books. K.E. Nickols Sept 2013