Angela and Diabola

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Angela and Diabola Book Poster Image
The humor is as wicked as the evil twin.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Diabola's behavior is horrific, funny in a very dark way, and not intended to be taken seriously.

Violence

Diabola commits various violent acts, including strangling a cat.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is the blackest of black humor, and not for any child who will take it literally. For instance, 1-year-old Diabola strangles a cat and tosses it out the window, hitting her father on the head and knocking him into a flowerbed. If your kid will feel badly for the cat, this probably isn't the right book.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byinthesomeday April 9, 2008

umm....

I read this book a long time ago. I'm guessing I was in 3rd grade. I even remember picking it out. I had seen it a couple times before and then I finally d... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written bySophie424 September 10, 2009

Laugh out loud

Cleverly written with engaging language and hilarious imagery. Surprises, shocks and thoroughly entertains.For children with a quirky sense of humour.
Teen, 14 years old Written byiluvdonuts April 9, 2008
Kid, 10 years old September 12, 2012

all about angela and diabolla

i think this book is breathtaking

What's the story?

The Cuthbertson-Joneses are surprised when the Mrs. has twins. But they are soon horrified when they discover that while one is perfectly good, the other is perfectly evil. Inadvertently named Angela and Diabola at the christening by the shocked minister, their natures are apparent from the moment of birth, when Angela coos and smiles beatifically, and Diabola nearly bites the nurse's thumb off.

But far worse is yet to come, for as the girls grow up, Diabola's destructive evil breaks up their family and destroys their home -- and that's all before she starts school, where she begins to discover that she has some unusual -- and frightening -- talents.

Is it any good?

Wicked is the operative word here, more wicked than anything Roald Dahl ever came up with. The humor is as wicked as Diabola, and though children often delight in bad children in literature, Diabola is bad on a level they won't admire or envy. Though this is presented as a middle grade novel, not all middle-graders are ready for it. It requires the ability to appreciate very dark humor (Mrs. Cuthbertson-Jones is sent to jail after toddler Diabola wrecks a store, the father runs away, the vicar attempts an exorcism), and to understand allegory.

But for bright fourth-and fifth-graders and older readers, there's a lot to chew on for this is not just Diabola's story. Angela has the power of goodness but also the curse of perfection, and the relationship between the sisters is complex and layered. For the right kids, this is both hilarious and thought-provoking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the nature of good and evil. Children who can see the humor and the allegory in the book could discuss the problems with perfection and what it really means for a human, the nature-nurture question, the nature of art, and more.

Book details

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