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Radiance [Paperback]

Alyson NoŽl
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 31 2010 A Riley Bloom Book (Book 1)
Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s 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 all of that was before he met Riley . . .

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Review

“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. . . . her wit, attitude, and maturation should have readers gladly following her into the second installment.”—Publishers Weekly

“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.”—Hadley, at AllyKatzz.com

“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.”—Biliophilic Book Blog

“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.”—School Library Journal

“A tale for lovers of the genre . . . For those preteens who like a mild supernatural adventure with romantic overtones, you go, ghost.”—Kirkus Reviews

“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.”—Mundie Moms

“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!”—Books With Bite

“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.”—Bellas Novella

“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’d So Rather Be Reading

“I think I found a great new series with tons of potential, and that series starts with Radiance . . . This book is so cute!”—Bloody Bookaholic

“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!”—Novel Thoughts

“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!”—My Overstuffed Bookshelf

About the Author

Alyson Noël is the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of Faking 19, Art Geeks and Prom Queens, Laguna Cove, Fly Me to the Moon, Kiss & Blog, Saving Zoë, Cruel Summer, and The Immortals series including Evermore, Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame, and Night Star, as well as the Immortals spin-off series beginning with Radiance. With over 2 million copies in print in the US alone, her books have been published in 35 countries and have won awards including the National Reader's Choice Award, NYLA Book of Winter Award, NYPL Stuff for the Teenage, TeenReads Best Books of 2007, and Reviewer's Choice 2007 Top Ten, and have been chosen for the CBS Early Show's "Give the Gift of Reading" segment, and selected for Seventeen Magazine's "Hot List" and Beach Book Club Pick. She lives in Laguna Beach, California.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars FAVORITE SERIES EVER! Feb. 16 2013
Format:Paperback
This book and the three that follow are amazing and very interesting. It is my favorite series ever and I hope Alison Noel releases more!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Nov. 5 2010
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Reason for Reading: I enjoy reading fictional stories that involve death and imagine what the afterlife is like. I have my own unwavering religious beliefs but I can still enjoy the whimsy of what an author creates.

I have not read any other books by Alyson Noel. This new series concerns Riley, who was killed with rest of her family, except her older sister, in a car accident. Riley has just made it over the bridge, is settling into life in Here & Now and is given her job. She is to be trained as a Soul Catcher, someone who brings reluctant ghosts over the bridge into the Here & Now where they belong. There is plenty of information given that Riley was one such ghost herself for some time and references are made of that time and her sister Ever, which one presumes is covered in the beginning of The Immortals series, from which this is a spin-off.

Riley and her guide/teacher Bodhi do not get on very well causing a lot of friction between the two. Her first mission is to rid a castle in England of a ghost called The Radiant Boy who has been terrifying people who visit there for centuries while Riley and her attitude can't wait to go because this means she gets to go to the Earth plane again.

A delightful story. A quick, easy read with fun characters and fun hauntings. Not scary at all but a bit intense and there is some time taken to be serious when discussing how people died, giving them dignity. Altogether a cute, but humorous story sure to please the middle grades with not much of a wait now till the second book comes out in March, 2011
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life after Life Feb. 8 2011
By Heather Pearson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Kids aren't supposed to die before they get a chance to live their lives, to become teenagers. It's just not fair. All Riley Bloom wanted to do was become a teenager and be just like her older sister Ever. Unfortunately she died at the age of twelve and now has to finish growing up in the 'Here and Now'.

She doesn't like it one bit and her dorky guide, Bodhi, is given the challenge of helping her learn her new job as soul catcher as well attempting to integrate her into her new 'life'.

I read this YA book through in almost one sitting. I couldn't put it down. Riley was just so sad in the first part of the book, that I felt that if I put the book down, I'd be leaving her all alone in her grief and I couldn't do that. I felt that my reading her story would help guide her on her way. (I guess that's the mother in me).

With Bodhi's help, Riley needs to learn to let go of her old life in order to embrace her new one. Even as a young person, she has talents that can help others in even less unfortunate situations. She learns a lot about herself in a very short time. You might not get what you want, but that if you open yourself to new possibilities, you very well might end up with even more than you ever considered possible.

Author Alyson Noel has spun a captivating tale of loss and self realization. She shows the reader that even a pre-teen can have strength and power that can be most helpful to others. Radiance is the first book in a new series that is a spin off from her successful Immortals series. The next book Shimmer is due out March 15,2011.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Sept. 3 2010
Format:Audio CD
All I can say is, "It's about time Riley got her own story." I was overjoyed to receive the audio book of RADIANCE in the mail unexpectedly last week. I love to get an audio book prior to its release. And as I had to travel to a meeting for work, that gave me enough time to listen to this in its entirety, in one day.

Macmillan Young Listeners was smart and used a different narrator for the character of Riley than that of her sister, Ever. Riley's character in THE IMMORTALS series has grown into her own unique personality. 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.

RADIANCE picks up at the point where Riley finally takes the journey to cross the bridge that her parents and dog crossed after the car accident. Once on the other side, Riley is reunited with the rest of her family. The new world she enters is called Here. She soon learns that life after death isn't all leisure. She has to go to school, and after facing the Council, she learns she will also have to work.

Riley is assigned the job of Soul Catcher. Soul Catchers have the responsibility of coaxing souls that remain behind to cross the bridge. She is assigned a teacher, Bodhi, who decides to give Riley a difficult first case. Radiant Boy has rejected many attempts over the last century to cross over.

Listening to Ms. McInerney tell the tale led to many humorous moments and I found myself giggling out loud. The tension between Bodhi and Riley is palpable as the story is read and unfolds. Listening to Riley's trials and errors is definitely a treat for the ears. The most amazing character portrayed by Ms. McInerney, at least in my opinion, was that of Aura, a Council member.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  112 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait to read more of Riley Sept. 9 2010
By Nelaine Sanchez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Riley Bloom has left her sister Ever (Evermore) in the world of the living and has finally crossed the bridge into a place that she calls the Here and Now. She doesn't really know where she is, thus she calls it Here and if she is to ask the date, time, etc., she is told it is Now. The Here and Now is everything she wants it to be. Her parents, grandparents and even her dog Buttercup are there. She lives in the same house, the same neighborhood (minus the neighbors, they're still living), even sleeps in her same bed. She is just beginning to settle into a nice, relaxed death when she is called before The Council. After seeing most of her life flash before her, she is told that she, along with everyone else in the afterlife, has a purpose and hers is to become a Soul Catcher. They pair her up with a guide/leader Bodhi and is told that she must return to the land of the living where she can help restless spirits cross over that bridge - better said then done.

With Bodhi and her dog Buttercup, she is given her assignment the Radiant Boy - who has been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many have tried before her but have failed... will Riley have the courage to help the Radiant Boy or will she also fail?

I loved this book! For those of you who have not read any of Ms. Noel's The Immortals series, Riley is Ever's (the main character from The Immoratals) sister. She died in the accident that killed Ever's parents. This is the spin-off series. Geared more towards 9-12 year old tweens. But oh so fun for adults like me. You also don't need to read any of The Immortals books to truly grasp this new series - although you should because that series is oh so good too. :)

Riley was so much fun in Evermore and I can honestly say that she continues being funny, witty, clever and a very endearing heroine. I love the push and pull between her and Bodhi. She sees him as an ever-nagging, nerdy, fashion senseless boy. Their chemistry was great. He wants to teach her a lesson in respect and thus The Radiant Boy comes into play... no one has ever succeeded in crossing him over, so he gives her the toughest job he can.

Ms. Noel's writing is fluid and flawless. She truly captures the thoughts of a 12 year old girl - I loved her inner monologues - they brought a smile to my face more than once.

This series is going to be a treat not only for the new fans I'm sure Ms. Noel will acquire in young tweens, but I can guarantee it will be an instant hit with her YA and adult fan base. Loved it.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Sept. 3 2010
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
All I can say is, "It's about time Riley got her own story." I was overjoyed to receive the audio book of RADIANCE in the mail unexpectedly last week. I love to get an audio book prior to its release. And as I had to travel to a meeting for work, that gave me enough time to listen to this in its entirety, in one day.

Macmillan Young Listeners was smart and used a different narrator for the character of Riley than that of her sister, Ever. Riley's character in THE IMMORTALS series has grown into her own unique personality. 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.

RADIANCE picks up at the point where Riley finally takes the journey to cross the bridge that her parents and dog crossed after the car accident. Once on the other side, Riley is reunited with the rest of her family. The new world she enters is called Here. She soon learns that life after death isn't all leisure. She has to go to school, and after facing the Council, she learns she will also have to work.

Riley is assigned the job of Soul Catcher. Soul Catchers have the responsibility of coaxing souls that remain behind to cross the bridge. She is assigned a teacher, Bodhi, who decides to give Riley a difficult first case. Radiant Boy has rejected many attempts over the last century to cross over.

Listening to Ms. McInerney tell the tale led to many humorous moments and I found myself giggling out loud. The tension between Bodhi and Riley is palpable as the story is read and unfolds. Listening to Riley's trials and errors is definitely a treat for the ears. The most amazing character portrayed by Ms. McInerney, at least in my opinion, was that of Aura, a Council member. She comes across as serene but all-knowing. As Riley is confused by her future, Aura's presence is soothing and confident.

Overall, RADIANCE is a wonderful story and the audio book uses just the right tone for Riley's voice. The book is appropriate for anyone from middle school up. Riley is a twelve-year-old girl, and Ms. Noel keeps that in mind as the story unfolds.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a Middle-School Draw April 27 2012
By M. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a mother who screens everything her 12-going-on-13-year-old daughter reads, I should stress that I don't always like the books she reads, which I nonetheless think are okay. "Radiance" by Alyson Noel is one of those books. Riley Bloom was exactly like said child (as she admit herself in review below!) - but on her worst days: whiny, self-absorbed, prima-donna ... She is so vividly drawn, I have to give the author credit - but I had to drag myself through the book to the finish. I wanted to throttle the main character so badly! That said, I found the book's message about death and the afterlife a life-affirming one. After a spate of "Young Adult" dystopian novels, I thought that to be fairly refreshing. The five stars awarded here is definitely said daughter's, however. I would stop at three stars myself. Said daughter's review follows:

"The book `Radiance' by Alyson Noel is a hilarious yet touching book about how to cope in the Afterlife.

"12-year-old Riley Bloom died a year ago. You'd think that that would mean she'd go into Heaven, get sparkly pink wings, and sing opera all day. Instead, Riley is in Here & Now - which you could also call the Afterlife. And in Here & Now, everyone has a calling. Riley's, apparently, is Soul Catching. So, with her dog Buttercup (who I LOVE) and her guide / teacher / annoying pain in the butt, Bodhi, Riley must convince the Radiant Boy to cross over to Here & Now. The only problem is, *no one* has ever done it before. Can Riley do it? Or will she fail her first task?

"My favorite character was definitely Riley. She was really funny and stubborn and acted a lot like me - the good parts and the bad. :-) I also liked how she was able to face the not-so-good parts of her life without, like, breaking down too much. If I were in her shoes, I probably would have turned *completely* red.

"My favorite part was when Riley and Bodhi tried to teach Buttercup how to fly. It was sooo funny and I almost *died* laughing!

"I would give the book five stars: two stars for the characters, two stars for the plot and one star for Here & Now, which I think would be a pretty awesome Afterlife to live in - even if everyone is kinda obsessed with glowing." :-)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointing April 1 2011
By Jess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the first book I have read by Alyson Noel and I think I would have appreciated it more if that hadn't been the case. Although I am curious enough to want to read The Immortals Series (of which this book is a spin-off), it just didn't seem like anything really happened. Riley dies and goes to Here, where she learns a bit about what she is going to do Now. Well, she doesn't so much find out what she is going to do as she wanders aimlessly and confused with no one to help her until, at last, she is given an assignment.

The assignment was interesting but I kept feeling that there could have been more. I think my problem connecting with Riley was that she was written for such a young audience (9-12) but even with that being the case I feel there could have been more going on. Riley kept presuming things about her situation that were completely wrong (for example: the intentions of people around her) and some of this I thought was just too obvious.

The thing that Radiance did well was to build a strong foundation for the next book to stand on (again I think I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't the first book I read by Noel because I would have had that background connection) and since the ARE included an excerpt from Book 2 I was able to see that it looks like it is going to be a much more exciting story. I think there is a good chance it will make everything Radiance laid out worth the read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Radiance Sept. 24 2010
By Jenny, Wondrous Reads - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Radiance is one of those books I just couldn't get into, no matter how hard I tried. I almost didn't finish it, but I persevered and managed to get to the end. This time around, Alyson Noel's writing didn't captivate me and I felt so detached from the characters. Although I liked Riley in the Immortals series, here I thought she was flat and one-dimensional. I'm not sure she was ready to carry a whole novel on her own, but I have yet to read the last Immortals book, so I'm not too sure if that would have made a difference.

Riley has now left her sister Ever, and has crossed over into a place called Here. She's enlisted as a Soul Catcher, and is assigned a teacher called Bodhi. He teaches her all the tricks of the afterlife, while accompanying her on her first mission back to earth. I liked the whole idea of Here, and the Soul Catchers helping trapped spirits find their way to their rightful place. Noel isn't short of good ideas, but I just don't think Riley was the right person to take this one forward.

Riley and Bodhi's relationship didn't strike a chord with me, and I really couldn't have cared less what happened to them. I did like the Radiant Boy stuck haunting an English castle, as he had an interesting personality. His resolution was also written well, and made the ending worth getting to. I think Radiance was just one of those books that wasn't for me. I know plenty of other readers seem to have enjoyed it, and I'm sure it'll do really well with middle graders. I might still be tempted to give the second book a go, but I won't be eagerly awaiting it.
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