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I Belong

Review: Radiance by Alyson Noel


Author: Alyson Noel

Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal

Series: Riley Bloom (Book 1)

Publication Date: August 31, 2010

Format: Paperback, 183 Pages

ISBN-10: 0312629176 (MacKids)

ISBN-13: 978-0312629175 (MacKids)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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 . . .

Quick & Dirty: Very cute story with an adorable protagonist, adventure and a fun plot.

Opening Sentence: Most people think that death is the end.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Riley Bloom is not your average 12 year old girl. She is dead and after taking a long detour, she finally decided to cross the bridge into a place called the Here and Now. Life is pretty much the same as it was when she was alive, she lives with her parents and is getting ready to start school. But she soon realizes that she really doesn’t know anything about this new life when she is summoned by the council and given a job as a Soul Catcher. She is supposed to return to earth and help lost souls find their way to the bridge that will lead them to the after life. She is assigned a guardian that is suppose to show her the ropes, his name is Bodhi. He seems kind of nerdy at first, but he also is pretty cute. Riley’s first assignment is the Radiant Boy, a ghost that has been haunting a castle for centuries. There have been many Soul Catchers that have tried to help him move on, but all of them have failed and now it is Riley’s turn.

Riley is an adorable girl. She is full of spunk and she doesn’t feel like she really fits in at the Here and Now. Everyone seems so serious and all she wants to do is have a good time.  She feels cheated that her life was cut so short on earth. So when she gets the chance to go back, even if it is just as a spirit, it is very appealing to her. I thought she was a fun girl that was easy to like. She is young and doesn’t have a lot of life experience, which made it fun to watch her grow. She loves adventure and doesn’t shy away from trying new things. She’s not perfect by any means, but she is a great protagonist and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

This was a really quick read for me. It is very light and full of adventure, sarcasm, and humor. It would be the perfect book to give a young girl that’s just starting to get into reading.  For an adult, it is an enjoyable read, but nothing too earth shattering. I liked the characters and the plot was totally predicable, but still entertaining. If you were a fan of Noel’s Immortal series, I think that you would really enjoy this spinoff. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a light, fast read with a fun protagonist.

Notable Scene:

I continue to gaze all around, desperate to find someone,  anyone, that I might be able to talk to, someone who might be able to clue me in to where we were all heading–and what I was in for once we got there.


Most of them wouldn’t even look at me, and the few who did merely smiled politely then quickly looked away. And it left me feeling so lonely and homesick, it felt like I had a vise shoved deep into my middle–one that was clamping down on my insides.

Still, I kept moving, placing one foot in front of the other, ignoring my worst fears, while trying to stay hopeful and bright (or at least appear that way), and to just allow myself to see where it led. But deep down inside, I was anxious, nervous, and more hat a little scared, ad all I really wanted was to head home, slip into my PJs. and curl up on my bed with Buttercup by my side.

The day I’d been dreading, the day my parents swore would open up a whole exciting new world open up a whole exciting new world, providing all of my favorite things, like art classes, and literature classes, and foreign language classes, and maybe even classes on singing, riding too–the day that was supposed to make me forget all about my old life and happily embrace my new one–well, it was turning out just as I feared:

It was awful.

Riley Bloom Series

1. Radiance

2. Shimmer

3. Dreamland

4. Whisper


FTC Advisory: Square Fish/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Radiance. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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