Radiance by Alyson Noel
publisher: Square Fish
release date: August 31, 2010
paperback, 192 pages
intended audience: middle grade
description from goodreads:
Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.
Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...
Review: Really enjoyed this one!! This one is short but sweet, and the story is a wonderful mix of curiousity, hilarity, and creepiness! While I only read the first two books in the Immortal series (I liked them, I just never got around to reading the rest of them!), Riley was decidedly my favorite character. I loved her attachment to Ever, her curiousity and nosiness, her general little sister-ness. Cracked me up that she used her ghostly state of being to snoop on movie stars. So, I was incredibly excited to hear more of her own story.
Riley has crossed over the bridge to the Here and Now and is completely lost. She doesn't understand the school she is sent to, the other people there or why some of them are glowing, or the strange meeting she has with the Coucil of Angels. This part reminded me very much of a movie called "Defending Your Life" where they viewed glimpses of Riley's life to decide where to place her in the afterlife. She is put to work as a Soul Catcher because of her own resistance to cross the bridge at first, where she will go back to earth and urge other souls to cross over. She is also assigned a guide, a boy named Bodhi that she encountered earlier and can't help thinking of him as "dorky guy". They get off to a rocky start when he reveals that he can hear every insulting thing that she is thinking about him. Their dialogue is funny and witty as they continually snark at each other.
The creepiness comes in on her first assignment. The spirits they encounter are actually pretty frightening!
There are some good themes going on here. It's very much about finding your place in the world, not taking things for granted, not judging people by your first impression of them, being brave. Its was a wonderful little book and I definitely look forward to the sequels! Yes, there will be sequels!! :) As a matter of fact, there is an excerpt of the next book in the back of Radiance! Grab this one if you get the chance!
Visit Alyson Noel's website here.
Or the Immortal Series website here.