A few months ago I had the privilege of reading Alyson Noel’s masterpiece Evermore, a book following the life of Ever, the sole survivor of a family car crash. Radiance, on the other hand, focuses on Riley, Ever’s twelve year old sister as she tries to figure out how un-living works in the Here & Now. In Evermore, Riley stays on the ‘earth plane’ as a ghost to help Ever move on from her grief involving the loss of their family, and to also come to terms with her own recent death.
The events of Radiance take place after Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife, and her and her dog, Buttercup, are assigned as Soul Catchers, which is kind of like a Grim Reaper. Her guide, Bodhi, is a ‘dorky’ older boy who is a rank ahead of her and is assigned to be her teacher. She, however, has no respect for him and only does what he says out of spite for him saying ‘I told you so’ if she fails. The book follows their first mission and is kind of her ‘coming of age’ as she learns to convince souls to cross over, respect Bodhi, to fly and how to teach Buttercup to fly.
Noel’s writing is easy to read and flows nicely. Her characters are complex, relatable and very well written, and her descriptions of her setting are vivid and realistic. It’s not hard to find yourself pulled into the story and emotionally involved in Riley’s situation. I give it a 4/5 and recommend it to anyone who likes YA and Fantasy.