Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery

A novel by M. Evelina Galang

November 5, 2013 • 5.5 x 7.5 • 343 pages • 978-1-56689-333-6

Angel leaves Manila for snowy Chicago, taking a tradition of protest—and some old family hurts—with her.

Angel has just lost her father, and her mother’s grief means she might as well be gone too. She’s got a sister and a grandmother to look out for, and a burgeoning consciousness of the unfairness in the world—in her family, her community, and her country.  Set against the backdrop of the 1986 Philippine People Power Revolution, the struggles of surviving Filipina “Comfort Women” of WWII in the early 1990s, and a cold winter’s season in the city of Chicago is the story of a daughter coming of age, coming to forgiveness, and learning to move past the chaos of grief to survive.

About the Author

M. Evelina Galang is the author of Her Wild American Self, One Tribe, and Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery, as well as editor of the anthology Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images. Galang currently directs and teaches the Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami and works with the VONA/Voices: Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation. She has been named one of the most influential Filipinas in the United States by the Filipina Women’s Network.

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at info@coffeehousepress.org.


“Angel finds purpose, strength, and peace in feminist activism.” —2014 Amelia Bloomer Project List in the “Young Adult” category

“[Angel’s] intimate storytelling style will appeal to teenage readers and adults. Galang draws us into a foreign world with beautifully rendered sketches . . . But despite such poetic descriptions, Angel is an authentic teen, who texts her friends and likes to bang on drums, just like her musician father.” —Miami Herald

“In an interview, she has stated that she wrote this story when hurricanes disrupted the writing of a nonfiction account of the lives of wartime ‘comfort women’ survivors. That legacy—of creation and life in the heart of destruction—survives in this fine novel, Coffee House Press’ first in the YA genre.” Star Tribune

“Galang’s (One Tribe) writing is ethereal and immersive. . . . Angel is hyperaware of her world and steeped in social consciousness; following her as she seeks her 'true nature' is a pleasure and an education.” —Publishers Weekly

“A raw and scathing exploration of the challenges faced by immigrant adolescents.” World Literature Today

“Adolescence, family issues, music and revolutionary politics all sink sharp hooks into a Filipino teenager at the beginning of the 21st century. Related with a rich mixture of English, ‘Taglish’ and Tagalog dialogue, Angel’s tale . . . is a vivid portrait of a culture, with particular focus on its women.”—Kirkus Reviews

“M. Evelina Galang’s incredible book hits intersectionality on the nose for young readers.” —BuzzFeed

“For Angel, coming-of-age and growing into her activist spirit are intertwined in ways that are both powerful and challenging.”—Bustle

“[Galang’s] novel is deeply grounded in Angel’s Filipina experience, with Tagalog words and ‘Taglish’ hybrids dropped in the text in the natural places bilingual speakers might use them. Yet it’s a story built on a universal template: a mother and teen daughter who don’t understand each other in the moment.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Angel’s story shows the struggles of a young woman who tries to keep it together as everything she has known and loved slowly slips away from her grasp. . . . [She] is never afraid to take a stand—something individuals of all ages can aspire to do.” Northwest Asian Weekly

“Galang’s writing is lyrical and rich—something to savor . . . This is a book not to be missed.” Rich in Color

“With YA fiction titles being so strongly tilted toward the paranormal and the speculative, M. Evelina Galang’s Angel de La Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery provides a refreshing change of pace in the field with its focus on its young, rebellious, and spirited titular protagonist. . . . Galang’s novel complicates the ethnoracial bildungsroman, revealing the tortuous trajectory of young and older migrants and the hauntings that come with transnational movements.” Asian American Lit Fans

Angel de la Luna is a poetic coming-of-age story about personal loss and the transformative power of political activism. . . . The tender generational bonds between Angel and Lola Ani, as well as the teen’s staunch feminist awareness, pack an emotional punch and ring true.” School Library Journal

“[Angel] explores the American Dream and how everybody wants the dream, but nobody realizes how difficult it is to maintain. . . . It’s about strong women making their way through adversity as well as a mother-daughter story for a universal audience.” Inquirer.net

“Galang masterfully weaves Filipino history—from World War II to the People Power Revolutions—with the rising tension between Angel and Inay. . . . Engaging, visceral, compassionate and heartwarming are but a few choice words to describe Galang’s third in a collection of fabulous books focused on Filipina American issues.” Teen Reads

“You know just about everything you need to know in those first lines [of Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery]. Character. Dialogue. Conflict. Rhythm. It’s all there.” The Writer

“A story of teenage rebellion, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery is also a novel of adult grace. Its particular triumph is to give an intimate voice to radical themes: a young woman sees the immigrant’s American dream through the lens of Third World activism and gives us startling ways of looking and words for seeing the world.” —Gina Apostol

Angel de la Luna is pure poetry, a heart-rending story told by a young girl whom I would follow anywhere. The voice is pitch-perfect; the music a constant. In this collision of cultures and languages, of the deepest sorrows, M. Evelina Galang has found resounding beauty. I want to shower her and her book with rose petals!” —Cristina Garcia

“A poignant and well-crafted coming-of-age novel set in Manila and Chicago, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery is about a Filipino family’s and, in a larger picture, their native country’s, fractured past and present. Above all, it is about the indomitable spirit of a young woman that guides her out of grief and longing, and fuels her with renewed strength to continue her struggle against injustices.” —R. Zamora Linmark

“A richly detailed novel full of music and color, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery tells a story of difficult journeys: from innocence to experience, from life in the Philippines to life in the United States, and from longing through anger and back to love again. Just as Angel finds strength in the stories of other women who have endured the hardest of circumstances, readers will find strength in the unforgettable Angel as she discovers her own life’s rhythm.” —Sheri Reynolds

“Remarkably complex and eminently readable, M. Evelina Galang’s Angel de la Luna speaks of people separated by time and distance; it speaks of the tension created by Filipino and American cultures; it speaks of comfort women and the horrors they faced at the hands of Japanese soldiers during World War II. Only a writer of Galang’s talents and accomplishments could tackle such important subjects with grace and dignity. Angel de la Luna is a novel of great beauty and strength.” —Pablo Medina

“Galang is a strong storyteller . . . and she has written a contemporary young adult classic. The sort of story that makes you think and that sticks with you even after you’ve turned the last page!” —Em's Bookshelves

“A touching coming-of-age story, Angel de La Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery highlights the struggles faced by immigrant children as well as adolescents learning to express themselves within their families and societies. . . . I strongly recommend the book for those wanting to learn about a different culture, and especially for young teens going through changes in their own lives.” Creative Kids, Cindy Liu, age 16

“The setting and the history woven into Angel’s story is what will set this novel apart. . . . [Galang's] writing is gorgeous and I found myself highlighting many lines and marveling often at her word choice. This is an important story and one that should be told.” —Allodoxophobia: The Fear of Opinions