Riley, who appeared in ghost form to her older sister, Ever, in Noël's bestselling Evermore, takes center stage in this middle-grade spinoff, first in a planned series. Having recently crossed over into the afterworld, Riley has reunited with her parents, who were killed in the same accident, but is having trouble adjusting. "I'd do anything to go back home," she admits. When she gets assigned to be a Soul Catcher, persuading dead people to "cross the bridge and move on," she is thrilled to return to Earth in spirit form, even if it means traveling with Bodhi, a "dorky" teenage guide. As she and Bodhi help the deceased cross over (at one point, they are sucked into the grieving soul of a mother wrongly executed for her children's murders), the assignments help her, too. If Riley is bratty--a fact she realizes after viewing video recaps of her brief life ("Are these like--edited--or maybe even, um, you know, Photoshopped, or something?")--her wit, attitude, and maturation should have readers gladly following her into the second installment. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)
at AllyKatzz.com Hadley
I must admit there is not one thing I don't like about this book. I just listed it all the pros and there are no cons. I would rate it FIVE STARS if I was a critic. And I guess I am. Now I have something to look forward to, the second book coming out in Spring 2011.
Biliophilic Book Blog
I like Riley . . . She's faced with challenges and loves to meet them head-on. I'm very pleased with this book. . . . Riley's story is touching, moving, and uplifting.
Riley is such a great, refreshing character and I loved her voice. She has some great inner monologues that made me laugh out loud . . . I really enjoyed Radiance . . . I'd definitely recommend YA fans of Alyson Noël to pick it up. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next with Riley and Bodhi.
Books With Bite
Alyson did a great job writing Radiance. It was what I expected and more . . . She was able to catch that young voice and portray it beautifully. . . . Radiance is a great summer read. I give it 5 BITES!
Another highly creative and well thought out series for Alyson Noël! . . . Noël creates another imaginative world that is so well described it sucked me in from the very beginning. She has a very poetic style of writing that will appeal to any age . . . I highly recommend.
I'd So Rather Be Reading
Radiance is a sweet story, a perfect summer read . . . Like the Immortals series, Noël's world building is superb. Radiance was the perfect book to tide me over until the next Immortals book comes out. As far as middle-grade books go, it's one of the best I've read.
I think I found a great new series with tons of potential, and that series starts with Radiance . . . This book is so cute!
I loved reading this book! . . . Its beauty and simplicity blend perfectly with romance and humor. I'm sad that I must wait until next year for Shimmer, the sequel. I will definitely miss Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup! Also the cover is just beautiful!
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
The author has a way of making the world she has created come off the pages and into your mind! A book that will keep you captivated from page one until Riley's flight of Radiance at the end!
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
In this spinoff of the "Immortals" series, the reader joins Ever's younger sister, Riley, in the afterlife. Not unlike the awkward first days at a new school, Riley's new life includes navigating an ethereal world called Here with far different rules than the home she left. For one thing, all one has to do is "manifest" something to make it realclothes, housing, food, anything. And some people at school have an enviable glow that piques Riley's interest. But the biggest surprise is the day she stands before a council to review scenes from her life on a big screen. Riley receives a mission as Soul Catcher: persuade a reluctant ghost called Radiant Boy to leave the castle he is terrorizing on earth and enter the afterlife where he belongs. Accompanied by a "dorky guy" named Bodhi as a teacher and guide, Riley blithely pursues her mission with the confidence of the ignorant. Dealing with Radiant Boy proves a more daunting task than she imagined, with some truly frightening moments, and Bodhi's mission proves more daunting still. It's their cooperation and mutual support that sees them through, deepening their relationship and hinting at what might transpire between them in future volumes. Although Riley's voice is authentic for a middle schooler, she fails to evoke the reader's empathy. Fortunately some of her character's growth takes the edge off her bratty tendencies, giving the reader hope that Riley could eventually be someone worth knowing. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Riley Bloom, 12, has crossed the bridge to "Here," the afterlife, leaving behind her teenage sister, Ever, in the Earth plane. In Here, the time is always Now, and Riley can manifest anything she wants by just imagining it. She is forced to take an honest look at her past life, find her new place, and learn her purpose. Bodhi, a "dorky guy," has been assigned as her guide to teach her everything she needs to reach the next level. Her yellow Lab will travel with her. She is assigned the duty of Soul Catcher and is responsible for making Earth-bound souls move on and cross the bridge to Here. Her first subject is Radiant Boy, a 10-year-old who has been haunting an English castle for years. Other Soul Catchers have tried and failed, but now it's time for Bodhi and Riley to help him. This new series is by the author of The Immortals (St Martin's Griffin, 2010), where readers first meet Ever and Riley. Narrating in a contemporary voice with an honest and comfortable cadence, Riley is imperfect, but always likable as she sweeps readers to her faraway land where she makes herself and readers assess their behaviors and, quite possibly, make adjustments. In the midst of this wildly fanciful setting, Noël is able to capture with nail-on-the-head accuracy common worries and concerns of today's tweens.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
Twelve-year-old Riley is dead, and she isn't particularly happy about it. It took her quite a while to finally accept her fate and cross the bridge to the other side, and she still misses her earthly life, particularly her adored older sister (Ever, of Noël's Immortals series for teens). In the afterlife, Riley is given the job of Soul Catcher and assigned a guide to help her. She immediately clashes with her 14-year-old guide, Bodhi, who dresses badly and hides his handsome face behind oversized glasses. As first Riley and then Bodhi set out to complete their less-than-suspenseful assignments, they gain confidence and skill as well as an appreciation of each other. The overall tone is humorous, though the conclusion—Riley's realization that the dead are soon forgotten by the living yet can still go on to heights of glory in another plane—is bittersweet. This is a tale for lovers of the genre only; it doesn't generate enough reality to sustain an outsider's interest. But for those preteens who like a mild supernatural adventure with romantic overtones, you go, ghost. (Paranormal. 9-12)
winner of the Parents' Choice Approved Award Parents' Choice
…Noel uses a light hand and fills her story with humor and liveliness…the 4-hour audiobook is read by Kathleen McInerney in a youthful, endearing style that meshes well with the author's words. This is a good choice for interested pre-teens and up.
Kathleen McInerney takes on the job of portraying Riley beautifully. She has a young, inquisitive quality to her voice that truly brings Riley to life…Listening to Riley's trials and errors is definitely a treat for the ears.
Narrator Kathleen McInerney is perfectly cast as Riley Bloom…A brief and enjoyable audio that will leave listeners wanting more of Riley.
Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews
Young listeners will surely enjoy exploring the afterlife through the eyes of Riley…This is a very promising first title in a new series.
This audio version is excellent.
Read an Excerpt
RADIANCE (Chapter 1)
Most people think that death is the end.
The end of lifeof good timesthe end of, well, pretty much everything.
But those people are wrong.
And I should know. I died almost a year ago.
RADIANCE. Copyright 2010 by Alyson Nol