For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.
Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever. Quoted from Goodreads
I've never actually reviewed a novella before. Don't get me wrong, I've read plenty, but I never really counted them as actual books. It always felt a little like I was cheating when I added them to my Read shelf on Goodreads. Still, when I heard that Harper Teen Impulse was releasing a series of novellas, I was excited. I love learning more about characters I've grown to love and getting different points of view you would normally never see in the actual book.
Radiant absolutely delivered. It mostly reveals Angela's back story, with a few moments that foreshadow how amazing Boundless is going to be. I learned a lot, and I loved getting in Angela's head. From the beginning she's been one of those fun, ambiguous characters whose story arc could go so many ways. This novella doesn't change that at all, but I do feel like I understand her a lot better than I did before.
At the same time, we still see enough of Clara to keep tie the story into Unearthly, Hallowed, and Boundless. Clara's still struggling after the ending in Hallowed, but she's also dealing with hints and visions of a new problem. It's interesting to see Clara from someone else's POV. Angela has her own issues, so you take what she thinks with a grain of salt, but I enjoyed seeing Clara and her problems through Angela's eyes.
Then there is the lovely Phen, Angela's mystery boy. I loved this introduction. You know he's been lurking in the background since the first book, but you never actually get to meet him. Still, I'm pretty sure he's going to have a key part in Boundless, so I'm really excited. Yes, I missed Tucker and Christian (they, unfortunately, only appeared in Clara's and Angela's memories), but it is kind of fun to have Angela be the romantic focus for a minute. Plus, Phen is a great foil for Clara's two love interests.
I give this this novella 4 stars. It's everything a novella should be. Is it as complicated as a book? Of course not, but it's still absolutely worth reading. I don't know how essential this is to reading the next book, but it's a great glimpse into Clara's world. The ending left me counting down the days to Boundless.