Author: Megan E. Bryant
Publication: September 1, 2017
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
When thrift-store aficionado Julie discovers a series of antique paintings with hidden glowing images that are only visible in the dark, she wants to learn more about the artist. In her search, she uncovers a century-old romance and the haunting true story of the Radium Girls, young women who used radioactive paint to make the world’s first glow-in-the-dark products—and ultimately became radioactive themselves. As Julie’s obsession with the paintings mounts, truths about the Radium Girls—and her own complicated relationships—are revealed. But will she uncover the truth about the luminous paintings before putting herself and everyone she loves at risk?
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
When I requested this book, it was in conjunction with the book The Radium Girls that I had also requested. I was very interested to see how they addressed the issue when dealing with young adults. The other book was not for the faint of heart in some spots. While the cover of the book looked slightly childish I try to not “judge a book by its cover”.
The story revolves around Julie. She is a budding art student who gives her mother her $200,000 school savings to save her from crushing debt and foreclosure on the house. Now in order to make ends meet she works two jobs. One at Bed, Bath and Beyond and the other at McDonald’s. She is scrimping and saving to pay her way through the art college of her dreams. So when she is thrift shopping with her best friend Lauren and comes across a painting she knows she has to have it. There is another painting and the owner offers to sell it as well for a discount but she doesn’t really think she needs it. That is until she goes home and views the painting in the dark of her room. Suddenly, the painting is awash with a glow. To her surprise and delight, there is a gruesome glowing painting underneath that shines through with an unearthly light. That night she decides that she HAS to go back for the other painting to see if that one glows as well. When she goes back, however, the owner has raised the price. When Julie does decide to buy it, she learns that there were multiple paintings but the shop owner only wanted the two she had in the store. Julie manages to find all the paintings. Julie then embarks on a mission to find out what is making them glow. She experiments with various paints and nothing seems to be the answer. Will Julie discover what is making the unearthly glow before it is too late?
While this book was a good quick read, it seemed at times way to YA and at other times (the almost sex scene in the rain) much older than what I think of as young adult. My other issue was that the after an entire book of build up the answers were all in the last chapter and a half. The conclusion seemed rushed. If we had slowed down the book would have come to a nice end and I wouldn’t be left wondering what Julie decides to do. I do think choosing a storyline that revolves around Radium is an interesting choice for a YA book. It will make them curious to learn more about this substance and hopefully, open new opportunities for them to learn.
STAR RATING: 3/5