Radiance by Alyson Noel
synopsis (from Alyson Noel's website):
Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.
Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...my thoughts:
this was unlike any other book i've ever read. for one thing, Noel puts very little emphasis on grammatical correctness. never fearing to use dependent clauses without an independent clause to support them. over and over again. almost enough to drive me crazy after a dozen pages. telling myself to keep going, keep going.
yeah, it pretty much read like that for long, dragging sections during the story. it was very distracting (and tiring).
this is definitely my biggest complain about the book. it is very rare that a technical element of a book makes me want to stop reading, but that nearly happened with Radiance.
also, it took me a while to warm up to the protagonist, Riley. she was very whiny. however, by the second half of the book, i found myself enjoying the story despite these faults. it was, as i mentioned, very different from anything else i've read. it wasn't thrilling, but it caught a hold of my imagination. i enjoyed seeing Riley have to struggle with some interesting challenges and show that she is more than a useless whiner. i experienced the revelations of the story along side her. i laughed and smiled and caught my breath at the ingenious details Noel wrote into the story.
i changed my mind. i was impressed.
i definitely will read the sequel, and i will also recommend this book.
ultimate rating: 4.0