Book Review, Fiction, Review, Young Adult

Book Review: ‘How To Be Luminous’, by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 6 votes

About the Author:

Harriet Reuter Hapgood is a freelance journalist who has worked with Marie Claire, ELLE, and InStyle in the U.K. Her debut novel, The Square Root of Summer, was inspired by her German mathematician grandfather and her lifelong obsession with YA romance, which includes an MA thesis on Dawson’s Creek from London College of Fashion, and a dissertation on romantic comedies at Newcastle University. She lives in Brighton, England.

About the Book:

Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s beautiful writing radiates with color in How to be Luminous, a lyrical and engrossing story about the aftermath of tragedy and the power of self-belief and love.

Minnie Sloe and her sisters have weathered it all together—growing up without fathers, living an eccentric lifestyle with a pet rabbit named Salvador Dali, and riding out their famous artist mother’s mental highs and lows.

But then their mother disappears, and Minnie, who was supposed to follow in her footsteps, starts seeing the world in monochrome. Literally. How can she create when all she sees is black-and-white?

As grief threatens to tear the three sisters apart, Minnie fears she could lose everything: her family, her future, her first love . . . and maybe even her mind.

Review of ‘How To Be Luminous’, by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Magically heartbreaking, both painful and healing to read, How To Be Luminous manages to capture the complexities of grief in a way that neither boxes it in nor broadens it too much to the point of being unrecognisable.  Anyone grieving anything will recognise something of themselves in the experiences of Minnie and her sisters.

But what this book manages to do which is ever more important, is to introduce to readers who have had no prior experience with grief to what it can look like.  The power of literature in general and of young adult books in particular is to offer an opportunity to step into the shoes of people who can be very different from us.  And, should the author be as skilled as Reuter Hapgood, the reader will be carried into a world where new ways of approaching life and new experiences collide, birthing a new, more empathic you.

So How To Be Luminous isn’t only a well crafted and well written book, it also offers an opportunity for readers to get some insight either into their own grief or into the grief of others, both much needed and powerful reading experiences everyone should experience at least once… a month.

Final Thoughts

How To Be Luminous is much more than a great story to read; it can offer insights into grief that can help readers either with their own or with that of someone else’s.

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 6 votes

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