Book Review: Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough

Author: Martha Brockenbrough

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Release date: June 1, 2012

Rating: 5 stars – I LOVED THIS TO PIECES!

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There is a great legend of the guardian angel who traveled across time and space for the human girl he loved, slaying those who would threaten her with a gleaming sword made of heavenly light.

This is not that story.

Jerome Hancock is Heidi Devine’s guardian angel. Sort of. He’s more of an angel trainee, in heaven’s soul-rehabilitation program for wayward teens. And he’s just about to get kicked out for having too many absences and for violating too many of the Ten Commandments for the Dead.

Heidi, meanwhile, is a high school junior who dreams of being an artist, but has been drafted onto her basketball team because she’s taller than many a grown man. For as long as she can remember, she’s heard a voice in her head – one that sings Lynyrd Skynyrd, offers up bad advice, and yet is company during those hours she feels most alone.

When the unthinkable happens, these two lost souls must figure out where they went wrong and whether they can make things right before Heidi’s time is up and her soul is lost forever.

Martha Brockenbrough’s debut novel is hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful, with a sense of humor that’s wicked as hell, and writing that’s just heavenly.


From the very first page to the very last word, Martha Brockenbrough’s Devine Intervention captured my heart. Once I closed the book I literally took a deep breath, hung my head in my hands, and cried. I let out these big, ugly sobs that I never thought I was capable of. It was just…an ending that I was not expecting what so ever. I wanted a happily ever after kind of ending and instead I was given an excellent but bittersweet ending.


But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the gist of the novel:

Jerome Hancock is a guardian angel in training who is getting a second chance at heaven if he can succeed in guarding Heidi Devine. But Jerome isn’t your average guardian angel trainee. He’s kind of a riot. Jerome unknowingly breaks the commandments of the dead, which taint the goodness of his soul. He’s also not a very good guardian angel as he makes his charge, Heidi, think she’s crazy from a very early age. Jerome has spoken to Heidi ever since she could remember, singing Lynyrd Skynyrd, and offering familiar comfort when she feels alone.

By an unfortunate turn of events, Jerome has to sneak Heidi’s soul into Heaven through an opening at a mall. But things don’t run as smoothly as they ought to. The clock is ticking and they must race against time before Heidi’s soul is lost forever and Jerome’s soul is sent to one of the nine circles of Hell.

The particular and unique aspect I found in Devine Intervention was the layout of perspectives. It was told from Jerome’s p.o.v’s which is humorous and full of comic relief, and Heidi’s, who is written in 3rd person. It’s different and I’ve never seen that done before. But it WORKS. I’d have to say it’s pure genius, writing the perspectives in that way.

I couldn’t help myself from giggling at the  things Jerome thought and said. He’s a free spirit, young, and ignorant (as Heidi so bluntly put it). I also loved his censorship! He cannot swear. If he does then he suffers an excruciating amount of pain in his head. So Jerome being brilliant comes up with words to replace those swear words like holy smokes, dumbflask, and (my favorite) chevy. Hidden underneath Jerome’s sarcastic demeanor there is a kind of brokeness to him. His story is one of those that crushed my heart because I will never understand how people could doubt the love of others.

I know, that’s a little ambiguous, but I am sparing you from spoilers! 😉

Then there is Heidi, who has thought she was crazy since she was a little girl all thanks to Jerome. She was seen as under developed when she spoke about her imaginary friend. As the years passed she learned to keep Jerome a secret. Heidi is an artist, that’s the thing she loves to do most of all, but her family pushes her to be athletic (since she’s rather tall). I liked Heidi’s character because she embodied insecurity and uncertainty. I love when characters are flawed. It makes them real, ordinary like you and me, but extraordinary at the same time. She’s loving and caring when it concerns the people who are dearly important to her.

The novel is just full of heart and wisdom. The theology that is embedded into the story is creative and uniquely done. Brockenbrough’s commandments were classic and could very well be true and right to live a good and honest life. But we aren’t perfect and I like the the theme of redemption also integrated into the novel.

I know, I’m being ambiguous again! Don’t shoot me.

There are plenty of twists, laughs, surprises, and tears that will captivate your heart in Devine Intervention. An author has a gift when they are able to bring forth such emotions like laughing out loud and crying your heart dry. Martha Brockenbrough is one of those authors. It’s insightful and honest; about seizing the day and making life all it’s worth while you have the chance. It’s just beautiful.  You’ll just fall instantly in love with Jerome and Heidi. I did. And their story is one that will be with you for a very long time.

Memorable quotes:

When you miss someone, they leave a person-shaped hole behind in the world that nothing can ever fill. If you don’t keep thinking about them, the edges of the hole shrink and fade. You can’t let go or the last of them disappears.

Sometimes, people say things they don’t mean to cover up their true feelings. It’s how they cope. It can be the only thing that holds together the pieces of a broken heart.

No one ever tells you this when you’re alive, but angels can be real applehats.

Why would I want to go to Heaven now, you motherflaskers?I gotta go help Heidi before it’s too late.

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1 Comment

  1. 최다해 gongjumonica

     /  April 17, 2013

    Nice review! I have marked this as to-read in Goodreads, but didn’t get a copy yet. I skimmed over your review so not to get some spoilers. Still, I think this book will break my heart. 😦


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