On the front cover of this novel there is a quote by author Simone Elkles
“Radiate shows readers the power of positive thinking can change lives.”
This is without a doubt the most accurate statement I’ve ever seen splayed across the front of a book before. Normally they are just puff to entice the reader.
“Engrossing…thrilling ride!” “Utterly amaaaazing!” “Give me more…rah rah rah!”
What exactly are we supposed to take away from those? That the author had this book shoved down their throat by the publisher in an effort to show solidarity to their fellow authors? That they were forced to be enthusiastic at the expense of their pride? Phooey!
Call me Negative Nancy. Call me a party pooper. Hell…tell me I have a T-Rex sized light poll shoved up my @$$, I don’t care. I only ask for one think when it comes to people pushing books and that is honesty.
So, what exactly does this little tirade have to do with Radiate?
I had to see if Simone was blowing smoke. (I’m masochistic that way.)
“Hayley Matthews is determined to be the best cheerleader she can. She works hard and pushes herself 110% all the time.
Then Hayley finds a lump on her leg. The diagnosis is cancer. The prognosis is unclear. She could lose her leg. Or maybe her life.
At first Haley is scared, terrified. In an instant, everything she’s worked for seems out of reach. But Haley is strong. She’s going to fight this disease. She will not let it take her life or her dreams.”
At first glance Radiate is NOT a book I would pick up for myself. (Duh.) I was not a cheerleader in high-school, therefore my interest in the whole “this is a cheerocrocy” mantra isn’t really my thing. BUT after only a few chapters I realized that this book was less about cheering (though the jumping, yelping and altogether giddiness that surrounds the peppy pom pom holders was prominent) but about keeping an upbeat frame of mind during troubling and challenging times.
Hayley the lead character in Radiate just wants to stand out. That is her entire goal for her senior year of HS and she plans on accomplishing this by joining the cheerleading squad. After months of intense training she accomplishes this goal. Unfortunately, a few weeks into her summer workouts she gets some horrifying news. She has the big C. Cancer. But…instead of letting this drag her down (which it would have every right to do) she uses her new “cheerleader” attitude (go fight win) to focus on the things she CAN control. For example: walking without a limp and being ok with her now bald head. An attitude we could all benefit from. (Especially the hair loss.)
As for the basics:
The characters were well written; even the supporting cast. The appropriate people were inappropriate at the exact moment they should have been. The best friend was honest and felt shockingly real. (Aka she had emotional breakdowns when most normal people would,) and the boys were…well…boys (indecisive, secretive and blind!)
The plot held just enough intrigue (relationships & coping with the windfall) to keep the story flowing in a forward direction and even more interesting…you find out after the fact (from a note at the end of the book) that this story was actually based on true events. Which makes the message that more meaningful AND powerful. (Which I guess makes Ms. Elkles right. Kudos to her!)
This is not going to be a book for everyone, the sis boom bahs may get a little overwhelming for older audiences (or the non-cheery types like me) but it definitely has it’s place.
Overall: Interesting book. Great message. One I would highly recommend for younger impressionable audiences.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Save the cheerleader…save the world!