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3.7 10
by Dawn Metcalf

As reality slips and time stands still, Consuela finds herself thrust into the world of the Flow. Removed from all she loves into this shifting world overlapping our own, Consuela quickly discovers she has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones-skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. She is joined by


As reality slips and time stands still, Consuela finds herself thrust into the world of the Flow. Removed from all she loves into this shifting world overlapping our own, Consuela quickly discovers she has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones-skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. She is joined by other teens with extraordinary abilities, bound together to safeguard a world they can affect, but where they no longer belong.

When murder threatens to undo the Flow, the Watcher charges Consuela and elusive, attractive V to stop the killer. But the psychopath who threatens her new world may also hold the only key to Consuela's way home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rife with discomforting, horror-laden imagery, Metcalf's first novel appears to be a meditation on death, but in fact it explores more difficult territory—that borderland between life and death, where the body is in one place and the mind is in another. After a fainting spell, 17-year-old Consuela Chavez takes a bath to relax. When she checks the injury she got when she fell, her fingers sink through her skin, which she discovers she can shed, walking free as nothing but a skeleton. "This is who I am," she thinks, and she teaches herself to assume new skins of air, water, fire, and more. There are others like her—Sissy, V, Wish, Tender—all of them inhabitants of "the Flow," which none of them quite understand even as they navigate it to rescue vulnerable humans in the "real" world. Consuela becomes desperate to escape this new existence, though it's unclear why—she displays little emotional attachment to her former life, and even the systematic murders of her new peers don't really factor into her desire to leave. The dreamlike plot may not make complete sense, but Metcalf's virtuoso prose compensates. Ages 14�up. (June)
VOYA - Mandy Simon
Consuela Chavez crosses over into the Flow, sheds her worldly skin, and becomes Bones. As Bones, she is powerful and confident, instinctively and angelically fulfilling her duties to stop people in the real world from committing suicide. She easily creates new skins from items in her surroundings, including fire, water, and feathers. As quickly as she adapts to her new responsibilities—and skins—she is drawn to the handsome V. V lured her to the Flow through a reflection in a mirror, and it is V who will help her solve the murders and mysteries of the Flow and determine how to get back home. The descriptive shift between the real world and the Flow is vibrant and intense, but at times hard to follow. The characters are drawn in colorful detail, with interesting hints to their pasts and varied multicultural backgrounds. Consuela's Hispanic heritage has a rich presence throughout the book, which includes poetry excerpts by Octavio Paz and references the Hispanic interpretation of the afterlife. The number of characters and questions surrounding their pasts and purpose add confusion to the already complex world. Consuela's ability to change skins is beautifully symbolic and appealing to anyone wishing to be stripped down to their emotional core to expose their true self. True science fiction fans will enthusiastically receive this novel, its rich characters, and mystery. The Flow itself will be a welcome escape for those wanting to explore another world and may be especially interesting to high school students questioning their identity. Reviewer: Mandy Simon
Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Consuela just did not feel good about the skin she was in. She felt overweight, unsuccessful, and annoyed at herself that something as simple as shopping for a pair of jeans would cause her to panic. She needed therapy and her best friend just to get through one shopping trip, and when she went out shopping without her best friend, the therapy did not seem to help either. She did not know at the moment of her greatest personal defeat that she was being watched. Not by human eyes, well not exactly, but something part human and part spirit. As she left the fitting room (where trying on jeans had made her feel awful) something hit her at the back of her neck and she fainted. She was assisted by other shoppers, but was embarrassed. That evening Consuela decided to take a nice, warm, soothing bath to relax after the stressful shopping experience. She noticed that while the spot on the back of her neck did not hurt, it did not feel right either. She soon discovers that she can peel her skin off. Without really knowing what is happening, she travels through water and saves a little boy from drowning. Soon she is in the world of Flow where she meets others like her, whose purpose it is to prevent people from dying prematurely. Just when she thinks she is beginning to get the hang of things, something terrible happens that threatens everything and everyone she knows. This is a work of imaginary fantasy that is unexpected and that readers will enjoy. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Consuela Chavez, 17, has never felt at peace in her own skin. Ironically, after experiencing vertigo while shopping for jeans, she discovers that she has the ability to slip out of her skin and to create new ones for herself from elements like fire and air, or butterflies. Soon Consuela feels powerful in her skeletal form, and she enters a place called the Flow, where before long she is known simply as "Bones," and has the capacity to save people from dying prematurely. Others can walk through mirrors or deliver wishes, but when someone begins to murder individuals one by one, Consuela delves into the mystery and discovers not only the culprit, but also the connection to the deeper purposes of the Flow. Metcalf has created an intriguing fantasy world as well as thought-provoking conceptualizations of pain, death, purpose, and self-acceptance. Fantasy enthusiasts will value the world-building, while fans of such titles as Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere (Farrar, 2005) or Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones (Little, Brown, 2002) will appreciate the dimensionalities of life and death in the Flow.—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews

A confusing and at times just plain weird paranormal debut.

If finding a lump on her head isn't enough to freak out 17-year-old Consuela Chavez, then peeling back her human skin to reveal her luminous skeleton should. Instead, she feels freedom as she defies gravity, donning a "skin" of air and talking a man out of suicide. Nicknamed Bones for her preferred look, Consuela learns that she is living in an alternate reality called the Flow, where spirit guides are assigned certain individuals to keep them from dying before their time. But as one of handsome V's assignments gone wrong, she was never meant to cross over to the Flow. In this third-person narration, wrought with heavy-handed descriptions and similes gone wild, it's often unclear what Consuela's goal is. Is she trying to understand her belief system or return to her perhaps-dying body or stop the Flow's pain eater, who's mysteriously started killing off the Flow's members in gruesome ways? Most of the novel is comprised of repetitive, long-winded introspection and encounters with fellow Flow members. Representing diverse religions, these characters (the Native American, the orthodox Jew, etc.) only come across as stereotyped. And there's little to Consuela's would-be romance with V.

Only extreme fans of Melissa Marr, Cassandra Clare and the like will find anything to enjoy here. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Dawn Metcalf lives in Connecticut with her family. This is her first novel.

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Luminous 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Luminous is well crafted story and it kept me intrigued the whole way through. This is such a neat concept and Ms. Metcalf executed it so well. The characters were rich and developed... they also held mystery--there were layers to everyone we met, and they all played specific roles that I didn't fully understand until the end where they all wove together so beautifully. There was just a touch of romance, and it really added to the story for me. It had me wondering for a bit, just like Consuela, what were the real motivations. The idea of the flow, and their purpose being to save others really appealled to me. The addition of Tender and the mystery surrounding him was interesting. And when his whole story unfolded I was blown away. The relationships between the teens in the flow were very believable for me, and at the end I still wanted to know more about the secondary characters--were those wards because they were in love, and what were each's wishes. I def. recommend to give this a try.
Owlmanafanatic16 More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure if i would enjoy this. So i read this at my school library and actually enjoyed it. The plot and characters were weird in a good way. I was reading non-stop and finished it in a few hours. Highly recomended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
reneesweet More than 1 year ago
This book is extraordinary. I mean that in the truest sense of the word. Everything about it--the worldbuilding, the characters, the plot, the prose--is a measure beyond the ordinary. Nothing is quite what you expect, but in the very best way. I think if you love Neil Gaiman's work, you'll love this. I really, really loved Dawn's prose. It's lyrical and filled with striking and unusual imagery. You won't find any cliched phrases here. The worldbuilding is nothing short of awesome. Original, well developed, and very imaginative. The plot is solid and well executed. And the characters really come to life. Consuela is a complex character and Dawn does a great job of exploring her complexity throughout the story. We see Consuela--Bones--in a variety of situations and not all of them put her in the best light. I really liked that about her. The characters of V and Tender really captured my heart, as well. There is a particular quirk about V's character that allows you see/hear some of his innermost thoughts and I **loved** it. He was written so beautifully. Tender, too, who is, perhaps, the most complex character of the book. Very well done. All in all, an excellent read for teens or adults. Highly recommended.
pagese More than 1 year ago
This was interesting. It's a story that in all honesty is really hard to grasp. This might sound odd but it sort of reminds of a twisted dream that the author has somehow been able to capture into words. Consuela can upzip her skin and have her skeleton step out of it. A thought that really disturbed me, but really no odder than any of the other talents in the Flow. V can step through mirrored surfaces, Tender eats pain, etc. All of their gifts help them save the lives of people on earth. People who have the greatest capacity to effect the most amount of people in their lifetime. Which I understood the purpose, just seemed to contradict the idea that when it's your time, well it's your time. While I finally began to understand the idea of what these people in the flow could do, I never really cared about them. To many of them are killed off before you even get a chance to know them. I wasn't sure what to think of V. Sometimes it felt like his character we thrown in there to give the story a twist and to give Consuela a love interest. As for our main character Consuela, I liked her for the most part. I think my favorite character was Tender. I really enjoyed his backstory and his place in the flow. The story was just really hard to get into. I often felt like it was a metaphor for something and I just wasn't getting it. An interesting idea though.
Tawni More than 1 year ago
Going into Luminous was exciting for me, because it was a unique concept. They storyline was very intriguing and I think my hopes were just too high. It was definitely not my type of book and at times I felt it was awkward. Dawn Metcalf's writing is very different and for the most part I enjoyed her beautiful and dark descriptions. However, sometimes I felt like it was too dark and I never saw the light. I don't ever remember feeling emotions like happiness, calmness, etc. It was always anger or sadness. I feel like this is a huge drawback for me, because a book shouldn't leave a you as a downer Debby! Consuela was an odd character. I liked that she was real and down to Earth. She cared very much for her family and eventually was torn between the Flow and home. Diversity played a key roll in Luminous. I enjoyed the different perspectives and customs of each character, but I wish we could've learned more.or maybe I did, but I was a bit confused by it. The plot was quite random and I felt like I was always trying to take a step back to figure out if I missed something. It's so disappointing that it was hard to follow. I really wanted to like this book! Overall, Luminous had SO much potential, but I just don't think it got there. If you are a fearless reader and feel you can see the light, I encourage you check it out. It is a very interesting and unique story. Review based on ARC
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Luminous is a beautiful book. I expected the beauty and the clevernessof it, what caught me off guard is how often it is both gorgeous and deeply creepy at the same time. Like the world that inhabits it, the book itself flows gracefully as it twists and turns, carrying the reader along caught in the eddies.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
When I was a little girl, I had some crazy dreams. I love books that are all about a fantasy place that no one can visit but you. The Flow is that place. Your not sure if it exist, but you feel it and know its there. One thing that caught me in this book was the place, Flow. It is a magical place that not that many people can see or get into. I like how Consuela was able to get into this place when she was not suppose to. You can tell right from the start that Consuela is a unique girl with a great talent. I adored her. Even when she saw something she didn't recognize, she fell into it with ease. It was like she was meant to be there, to do something great! And V! He is someone that made me want to follow him where ever he goes. I really like how the reader was able to see his thoughts. There is just something about him that make you want to know more. The characters were well develop. They all had different parts to play but in the end, the way it was put together was cool. I like how each characters had a place of their own, their own secret place that no one can enter. Everyone knows knowledge and power can get in someone's head and corrupt them. I like the plot twist and mysteriousness of it. You were pretty much kept in the dark till the very end. But when the whole picture came together, it clicked. I really like how it was all woven in to one piece. Overall, Luminous is a book of a great fantasy place you want to live in. This story is nothing that I've ever read before. I really like how the Flow captured not only my eyes but my heart. Luminous is an amazing unique book with a world like no other!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everything was great amout this book, the plot, characters, and setting but the book wasn't for me