ARC Review: Glow by Megan E. Bryant

Book Cover
title: Glow
author: Megan E. Bryant
pages: 272
format: Paperback ARC
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 3/5
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?

The story is a dual narrative, following Julie in the present day and Lydia during WWI. I generally dislike dual narratives for one reason, which was especially a problem in this 272 page book – there’s just not enough room for both of them. The stories are tangentially connected, it’s true, but both are whole, complete arcs that need their own introduction, rising action, and conclusion. Essentially, this is two 150 page books interleafed together. And 150 isn’t a lot of pages.

I truly did like Julie and her personal dilemma of trying to adjust to having her dreams altered. I liked her trying to navigate the subtle but fundamental changes in her relationship with her best friend. I liked her drama with her mother. I loved the way she obsessed over paintings to avoid dealing with the shit going on in her life. But none of that was really explored deeply enough for my satisfaction, because it just didn’t have room. (And a rather rushed and pointless romance took away even more page time from an already-thin book.)

Lydia, likewise, had a very good storyline going on. There was interesting history, and her relationship with both of her sisters was endlessly wonderful and fraught. Liza was an awesome character that I wanted to get to know better. But I couldn’t, because again, it was half a book trying to contain a whole book. Although, of the two storylines, I think the WWI line handled the truncated length better. It was a bit less convoluted, a bit more suited for straightforward ‘recounting of things that happened,’ than Julie’s story.

Overall, it was generally interesting and I enjoyed reading about the characters, but things felt unfinished and unsatisfying.

1 comment:

  1. If you're going to do dual perspectives it's important to ensure the book is informative enough for the reader to enjoy. Sorry this book didn't fully satisfy you. Sounds like it has a nice plot.