Sunday, November 13, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan


Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

5 out of 5 stars

The mission: Travel across space to reach New Earth.
The goal: Populate New Earth in order to start the human race anew.

You have been given everything you need in order to survive.  Everything should go as planned.  Nothing should go wrong.

What you didn’t see coming: You are not alone.

Waverly Marshall and Kieran Alden have grown up aboard the spaceship Empyrean their entire lives.  The two have heard the stories of Earth, but it’s hard for them to imagine seeing a rainbow against the clear, blue sky, swimming in the ocean, or feeling the wind against their cheek.  Although they do not know the beauty of these simple, everyday experiences, they do know how to pilot a shuttle and use a grav bag.  Life on board the Empyrean is all that Waverly and Kieran have ever known.

Waverly and Kieran’s ultimate goal is to complete the mission.  The mission is the reason why they were sent into space in the first place.  The Empyrean would travel across the galaxy on its way to New Earth, where the human race could finally start anew.  The ship was designed to provide everything that those aboard could possibly need to survive.  The humans would live a life of comfort knowing that they would be the saviors of the human race.  They were making this journey for the good of society.  The mission would not fail.  Could not fail.  But Waverly and Kieran are about to learn that everything they have ever known is a lie.

There are others out there.  The New Horizon is a ship just like the Empyrean, except for the fact that it left Earth a year ahead of the Empyrean.  In theory, the New Horizon should be miles and miles ahead of the Empyrean.  So why is it that those aboard the Empyrean can see the New Horizon just by looking out of one of the many portholes?  The New Horizon’s sudden appearance throws everyone on board the Empyrean into a state of uneasiness, as a blanket of worry settles over the ship.  What the new Horizon wants may be more than anyone aboard the Empyrean is willing to give up.  How will this affect the mission?  How far are those aboard the New Horizon willing to go to get what they need?  All is revealed in Amy Kathleen Ryan’s intergalactic tale of distrust, survival, family, and most importantly, the will to go on in, Glow!

As soon as I started reading Glow I was captivated and couldn’t pull away until the very last page.  Glow hit the ground running and picked up speed from there.  I found myself anxious and on edge as I constantly worried about Waverly and Kieran’s safety.  No one was safe, and it became evident that no one could be trusted either.  Glow is an action-packed book that I think older teens looking for an edgy read will definitely enjoy.

This book knew how to tug on my emotions and leave me feeling certain, yet at the same time unsure.  I was never quite sure who to put my trust in, as more and more was revealed about each side.  I was presented with both the good and the bad of each side, and then left to make my own decision.  I’m still not sure with whom my loyalties lie, as I don’t know if either side is truly “right.”  Amy Kathleen Ryan has an amazing ability to keep the reader on their toes and let them decide who they want to believe.  This was refreshing to see as I was able to decide for myself who to side with, or to not agree with anyone at all.

Glow is told from the alternating perspectives of both Waverly and Kieran.  It was fascinating to get to read about their experiences on both the New Horizon and the Empyrean.  It was interesting to see how Waverly and Kieran acted as individuals when they didn’t have each other to rely on.  Their true personalities and values were revealed throughout various situations.  Would they ever be able to see eye to eye ever again?  Or has each changed so much that they are now different people?

Being the two oldest kids on the Empyrean, Waverly and Kieran have always been expected to be a couple and eventually marry one another.  At first, I felt that they were perfect for each other in every way.  However, Seth changed that.  When Seth was introduced as a possible love interest for Waverly I was suddenly torn between who to choose.  As the story progressed, I got a chance to learn more about both Seth and Kieran as people, but what I saw wasn’t the most appealing.  Kieran, Seth, and even Waverly definitely change as they try to make it back to one another.  The worst is brought out at times, but it was nice to see that each of the teens was exactly that, a teen.  They were only human and were just doing their best to survive.

At times the writing was dry, but Amy Kathleen Ryan’s ability to twist your emotions definitely made up for it.  I would have liked to have seen the sci-fi element of the book developed more as well.  For example, I didn’t have a clear understanding of why the humans had to leave Earth, or what Earth is currently like.  Also, I wasn’t quite sure what New Earth is supposed to be exactly, or how it came about.  Hopefully I will get to learn more about the specifics of their mission in the sequel.

Glow is a gripping read that will suck you in from the first page, and you won’t be able to let go until the very last.  Dealing with issues that plague our society today, Glow takes a look at what they might look like in the future.  Join Waverly and Kieran as they travel across space to make it back to one another, in order to set things right in, Glow!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

*I received this novel from St. Martin's Griffin. I received Glow as an advanced reader's edition in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you so much St. Martin's Griffin!

My signed ARC of Glow!  Thank you so much Amy and St. Martin's Griffin!

Check out Amy Kathleen's website at


  1. Ooh I totally want to read this now. Stories in space are always so interesting. Thanks for the review!

  2. Sounds good! I love that you say both sides aren't just black or white, good or evil. I love the complexity of that!

  3. Wow. I would love to know why the New Heaven ship is there. My interest is piqued. An unexpected twist like that would totally throw me off balance. Thanks for the review!

  4. this is an awesome review! It sounds like a a book that continues to throw in surprises when you finally think you know what's going on.

  5. Again, Great Review Tessa! Wanna write some of mine? I have this one to read. Your review makes me want to dig it out and read it.


  6. I've been really fascinated by the sound of this book for a while. Need to get my hands on this! Great review, Tessa.

  7. They sent you a signed copy? how awesome is that :) awesome review, Tessa! I have heard both good and bad things about GLOW but I will definitely be checking it out now.


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