Monday, October 11, 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Noel, Alyson. Radiance.
ARC provided by publisher.
Nominated for the Cybils by Jennifer Donovan.

After Riley, her mother and father, and her dog, Buttercup, are killed in a car accident, they all end up in a version of heaven called Here. Riley is able to manifest her house from earth, a variety of clothing, and anything else that she would like, but she still has to go to school. She is also able to look back on earth and see her sister, Ever. Eventually, she finds that everyone in Here is given a soul task, and since she spent her time on earth copying and pestering Ever, Riley's job is to return to earth to convince a ghost to cross over. She is allowed to take her dog with her, but is accompanied also by an annoying boy named Bohdi, whom she thinks is a dork. She manages not only to get the ghost to leave earth, but helps Bodhi in his assignment as well. Since both Bodhi and Riley were successful on their missions, they pick up a "glow" and are all set to return to do more soul work in the upcoming sequel, Shimmer.

Strengths: Like Mass' Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall and Zevin's Elsewhere, this will appeal to students who think there may be a heaven and are curious about what other's perceptions of it are. After Riley goes back to earth in chapter ten and starts to deal with the ghost, it is a suspenseful and interesting book.

Weaknesses: Bit of a slow start, with a lot of explanation Here that doesn't seem pertinent to the rest of the story.

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