HOW TO BE LUMINOUS by Harriet Reuter Hapgood


Age Range: 14 - 18
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An English teen reckons with the loss of her artist mother.

Reuter Hapgood (The Square Root of Summer, 2016) serves up an intriguing story of love, loss, and sibling relations. When 17-year-old Minnie Sloe’s “disco ball of a mother” vanishes on the last day of the school year, Minnie’s world is completely upended as she finds a letter that points to suicide—and literally begins to see in black and white. Minnie and her sisters were raised solely by their mother, who attained artistic superstardom when her debut sculpture won the prestigious Turner Prize. Minnie and her sisters—19-year-old Niko, who’s Deaf, and 15-year-old Emmy-Kate—each have strong artistic leanings and have relished their eclectic upbringing, accustomed to their mother’s erratic behavior, characterized by Minnie as “sinkholes and starlight” and not a psychological condition that might lead their mother to take her own life. But when she begins to suffer from monochromacy, Minnie begins to question her own sanity and deeply probe her mother’s demons in ways that greatly impact her relationships with her sisters, steady boyfriend, and an attractive new guy at school. Bracketed by the loss of a parent and teen romance, this well-wrought narrative excels at normalizing both the throes of artistic expression and the varying dimensions of physical and mental challenges. Minnie and her sisters are white; her boyfriend and his uncle are of Indian descent.

A moving tale of grief and self-discovery. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 30th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-62672-375-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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