Raised by a drug-addicted mother and criminal stepfather, she became her younger sisters’ only hope—and the rock that held her family together. Now, high school senior Angel Ferente is nowhere to be found.
Last seen on public transit in the middle of the night, the talented competitive swimmer with an independent streak could have ended up just about anywhere. But on the rough streets of Philadelphia, in a community plagued by drugs and violent crime, her family and friends are finding plenty of cause for concern.
The swim team and members of a struggling community come together in search of the missing teen—will they manage to figure out where she has gone and track Angel down alive?
When I was first contacted about Watermark by Elisa Schiller, I had never heard of the author so I wanted to know a little more about the book. Once I read the basic storyline, I knew this was a book I wanted to read. It was actually a little ironic that I would be reading this book just this past weekend with so many horrific events transpiring in the world involving race, but I’m guessing that was no coincidence either.
The main character in Watermark is Angel Ferente, and the story is narrated by Angel’s younger sister, Jeannine and her swim teammate, Alex. Angel a kid growing up in a very tough environment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along with her three little sisters. Her mother Rita (aka “Pic”) is a drug-addict and her stepfather, Frank is a criminal. Angel’s world revolves around the refuge she has found in competitive swimming.
Angel has a job at the laundromat at night, so she can take care of the family’s laundry and provide herself with the basic necessities in life since her father isn’t in the picture and her mother never has money. Frank, the stepfather, sometimes provides for the two daughters that are his, but Angel is the glue that holds the impoverished and damaged family together ever since they came back to their mother after being in their grandparents’ custody for a time.
In order to escape the chaos or maybe just to feel loved, Angel has several boyfriends at a time, and/or moves from one to another, so when she turns up missing, they aren’t quite sure what happened to her. Her coach, CJ, frowns upon the kids having sex and often admonishes Angel for her behavior, but rallies to help locate her before it’s too late.
I’m not a spoiler writer, so I’m not going to tell you the who/what/where/when and I’m not even going to disclose whether or not Angel is found, but I will share that this page-turner had me going until the last page wanting to know all of the details of the disappearance of Angel Ferente. Watermark is definitely part captivating mystery and part coming-of-age story for readers.
This book addresses so many critical issues in the world today while sharing a very basic story of a young inner-city girl. The fact is that our communities are plagued with drugs and violence and so many families are like Angel’s – broken and tattered – and the kids are the victims who grow up and repeat the process. Things like school swim teams and other school sports definitely kept these kids on track and headed in a positive direction while the world around them continued to try and drag them down.
The book is a quick read and I highly recommend it to readers as one of those “must read” kind of books. The publisher has authorized me to do a giveaway for a copy of Watermark – how exciting is that! The winner must be over 18 with a mailing address in the United States. The giveaway will end on July 25, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. EST, and you can enter here:
A lifelong resident of Philadelphia, PA, Elise Schiller has spent more than three decades providing education and youth services in inner-city communities through her work in non-profit organizations, including her most recent 16-year position as the associate executive director at EducationWorks.
Though she has published several short stories over the years, Watermark is Ms. Schiller’s debut novel.
Thank you to Smith Publicity, Inc. for providing me with a paperback copy of Watermark by Elise Schiller my review and honest opinion, and for providing a giveaway copy for one of my readers!!