Antonia Lucia Labella has two secrets: at fifteen, shes still waiting for her first kiss, and she wants to be a saint. An official one. Seem strange? Well, to Antonia, saints are royalty, and she wants her chance at being a princess. All her life shes kept company with these kings and queens of small favors, knowing exactly whom to pray to on every occasion. Unfortunately, the two events Antonias prayed for seem equally unlikely to happen. Its not for lack of trying. For how long has she been hoping to gain the attention of the love of her life the tall, dark, andso good-looking Andy Rotellini? Too long to mention. And every month for the last eight years, Antonia has sent a petition to the Vatican proposing a new patron saint and bravely offering herself for the post. So what if shes not dead?
But as Antonia learns, in matters of the heart and sainthood, things are about as straightforward as wound-up linguini, and sometimes you need to recognize the signs.
Freitas is freshest and most interesting when writing about people who aren't
Italian and issues that are not related to Catholic saints. While the
first generation Italians are painfully stereotypical,
Antonia is finely drawn - she has an earthy liveliness, an amusing lack of
self-knowledge, a distinct voice and a charming yearning for experiencing life,
especially a perfect first kiss.
I'm not sure Freitas needed to
suspend the laws of nature and include miracles of the strictly religious and
extravagant sort. The Labella's fig trees, Antonia's youthful energy, the
generosity of her friends, her mother's love and fresh pasta, and, of course,
her first kiss, are miraculous enough.
Grandmothers, mothers and daughters will enjoy sharing this comic story of a
miraculous first romance. (Reviewed by Jo Perry).
School Library Journal
Starred Review. She takes her religion seriously, without proselytizing. With a satisfying ending, this novel about the realistic struggles of a chaste teen is a great addition to all collections. Gr 7+.
Starred Review. First-time novelist Freitas hops into the romance genre and brightens and heightens it by providing characters who are anything but run-of-the-mill.
Starred Review. While getting at serious issues, Freitas (author of Killing the Imposter God and a frequent contributor to PW) wins readers over with a beautifully sustained light touch. Ages 12-up.
Starred Review. Like good homemade pasta, this satisfying novel balances lightness with substance and leaves teens wanting another serving.
Los Angeles artist J. Michael Walker thinks a lot like Antonia Labella,
heroine of The Possibilities of Sainthood. In the
summer of 2008 he exhibited a series of large portraits of saints whose names
are commemorated in the roads and streets of many Los Angeles neighborhoods. Each
large, ink on paper portrait portrays a contemporary person as one of the saints
of the City of the Angels. The portraits connect the individual stories with the histories of saints, and blend the quotidian and the miraculous.
For his paintings, Walker researched not just the Catholic saints but the
streets which have been named after them. In this way he created a
spiritual history of the city and a "saint map" of Los Angeles. People living
and working on these streets found their way into the paintings, becoming
the faces of the contemporary saints. Residents of Skid Row are the inspiration
for the face of San Julian, patron saint of wanders. Santa Monica (the
patron saint of wives, mothers...
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