Angelique: A Transitional Age Youth Novel

By Deena Saunders-Green Green Pines Media, 2016, ISBN 0-9981835-0-4, 229 pages, $8.99 “Angelique, A Transitional Age Youth Novel,” is the first novel by Deena Saunders-Green, who has advocated for youth in foster care as a social worker, foster parent and mentor since 2007. The story’s protagonist, Angelique, is an 18-year-old living in Southern California. She lives in Perdido’s Transitional Housing Program, a fictional apartment complex with support services for young people like Angelique who recently aged out of foster care. After being moved around to several foster homes — never by her own choice — Angelique enjoys living in her own studio apartment. She is part of a community where she has friends and supporters. She’s enrolled in community college and she works part-time at a group home, where she assists children struggling with trauma that she understands well. As she goes about her busy daily life, dark memories from Angelique’s childhood enter her mind. These stories inform the reader of why Angelique entered foster care and how experiences she had while in foster care further traumatized her. Despite all of that, Angelique is doing great things. Driving her to succeed is her desire to one day provide for her beloved younger sister Bribee. Angelique has been separated from Bribee, who was adopted by a family from foster care. They have lost contact, but Bribee is constantly on Angelique’s mind. Angelique’s ties to her biological family cause a great deal of the conflict in this novel. When her mother, who suffers from a drug addiction, winds up in danger and needs help, Angelique tries to help her. But Angelique quickly learns the dangers of getting close to someone who is struggling with addiction, without the help of a professional. As a result, Angelique puts her stable housing situation and her job in jeopardy. This novel is a great resource for anyone who wants to better understand the foster care system. Along with a discussion guide, it contains a glossary for further clarification as it introduces readers to programs like California’s AB12 (Extended Foster Care), Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) and other important acronyms. It also takes readers into the mind of a youth during and after foster care. Memories that Angelique recounts show how the pain she has experienced influences her interactions with foster parents. For example, after social workers removed Angelique from a foster home where she wanted to stay, Angelique decided to keep a distance from her next foster parent. It’s an important lesson for any prospective foster parent: understand the ongoing role that trauma plays. Perhaps the most important takeaway from “Angelique, A Transitional Age Youth Novel” is that transition-age youths need to have at least one caring adult in their lives. When Angelique finds herself in trouble, she cannot rely on her peers, who are also struggling to find stability. In this book, a caring adult ultimately helps Angelique to stay on her feet and keep moving forward. While this book can help foster parents and service providers to empathize with youth in care, current foster youth might also enjoy this book and find it valuable. Angelique is a very likeable and relatable character. For someone getting ready to transition to adulthood, this book is also informative in its exploration of the many programs and resources that have been created to help transition-age youth. Reviewed by Holden Slattery  

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.