Saturday, September 02, 2017


Bryant, Megan E. Glow
September 1st 2017 by Albert Whitman & Company
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Jubilee (although please call her Julie) has just graduated from high school and is working at Bed, Bath, and Beyond because her mother's financial woes required her to spend her college fund to save their home. She hangs out with her friend Lauren, who will be going off to art college in the fall, whereas Julie will not. The two find a strange painting at a vintage shop, and Julie becomes obsessed about finding more of the paintings and replicating the technique. In alternating chapters, we find out about Lydia, who is working with her sister Liza in a watch factory in 1918. Both girls had fine painting skills, and got hired to put glow-in-the-dark paint on watch faces. We see Julie meet the quirky Newark College student Luke, who helps her make some of the paint, and watch as she tries to hunt down more of the paintings and find their original owner. Lydia tries to solve her own mystery, which we read in her letters to Walter, who is off fighting in the war. The girls at the watch company are falling ill, and Lydia wants to find out what is behind their mysterious symptoms. The two stories converge at the end, and several mysteries are solved.
Strengths: This is a fascinating and overlooked period in women's history, and the addition of Julie to the mix makes this a bit more interesting to older readers. The relationship with Luke, while not fully developed, is interesting. I can see this being a great purchase for high school libraries.
Weaknesses: The girl on the cover looks like she is barely entering middle school, much less a high school graduate! This moved a bit slowly, and the language in the letters is somewhat old fashioned. While I liked this, it did slow down the story a bit. The subplot with the mother's inability to manage her life didn't add anything to the story.
What I really think: This is a completely intriguing historical event, but I want a slightly different book about it.

Kate Moore's The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women (May 2nd 2017 by Sourcebooks) is a bit long at 480 pages. I would love to have a Young Readers Edition of this!

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