Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .... Radiant by Christina Daley

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just Finished Reading .... Radiant by Christina Daley

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I love discovering new authors, so I've resolved that in 2013, I'll go through my review requests and pick something to try each month. For February, I'm featuring:


Radiant 
by Christina Daley
Self-published on February 12, 2012

Source: e-copy from author. My FTC disclosure is in the right sidebar.

Connect with the author on: her blog : twitter : facebook.




Summary (from Goodreads:) Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much. But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.  However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed. As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.
Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny "paranormal-lite" story about being human, being in love, and being healed.

What appealed to me about Radiant:  Christina's pitch was friendly yet professional. I loved the idea of a main character with Vietnamese heritage, and I was intrigued by the whole "jerk who suddenly saves the girl's life and could be possessed."

My take: There were a lot of things I enjoyed about Radiant. Mary is a main character I hadn't seen before. Her mother's family is Vietnamese, and both Mary's mother and grandmother are a huge part of her life. I really enjoyed learning about these three generations of her family. Mary is also an artist with an interest in astronomy, and loves to look at the sky through a telescope on the roof of her building. She's seventeen, but her voice felt younger than that to me, more like a tween. She's not your typical snarky, rebellious teen. She's quite earnest, and struggles a little academically, but is obviously smart.

Mary doesn't have a ton of friends at school. So when her  popular classmate Carter not only saves her life, but starts following her around like a lost puppy, she's confused and curious. Carter's friends write off his weird behavior as a result of his near-death experience, but Mary has a bunch of different theories about what might have happened to him and starts investigating. Post-accident, Carter comes off sort of like an even more robotic Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.While I liked this part of the book, it did feel a little long -- we're kept in the dark for a long time about exactly what the deal is with Carter and the tension begins to wane a bit. On the plus side, new Carter and Mary begin to seem like two quirky people who are perfect for each other.

By the end of the book, all is revealed and a several other sub-plots and secondary characters-- Mary's missing father, the murder of a woman in the neighborhood, and a weird janitor -- are all neatly wrapped up. Though I felt that a lot of the action was loaded into the last few chapters, I thought that the author did an excellent job tying a bunch of seemingly disparate plot elements together in a way that made complete sense.

To me, Radiant had a sweet -- if slightly young for YA --  voice and romance, a twist that kept me guessing, and a slight drag in the pacing that was redeemed by a well-crafted ending. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, definitely give Radiant a try.

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like a sweet book, saw it pop up a couple of times this week so was curious. Great Review Ren :)

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  2. This sounds really cute. I like the sound of an earnest YA MC instead of some of the angsty characters I've read-makes for a nice change.

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    1. I agree -- can use a break from snark at times :)

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  3. I just added this book to Goodreads. I loved the glitchy description.

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    1. It's refreshingly different -- hope you enjoy!

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  4. It does sound like a little bit of a different read than I've seen before. Indie can be so hit and miss, so I'm glad this one turned out well for you. Thanks for the review!

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  5. This sounds good. I don't know if I would pick it up, but it seems to be getting pretty good reviews. I have seen a few the past two weeks. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. This might be good for people who are looking for a less steamy read than most of the YA out there right now.

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  7. This does sound interesting. I do love the strong sense of family you mentioned for our main character. This is something I may pick up at some point. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I think this book sounds adorable! I love the way you describe Carter as a more robotic Sheldon. I need to see what that's all about!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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  9. Thanks for the lovely review. I never heard of this book but it sounds great!

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  10. Sheldon is kind of one of my favorite characters ever, so I'm definitely intrigued.

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  11. Thanks for the nice review Jen :) Much appreciated.

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