A disturbing painting plunges a modern girl into a decades-old mystery.
After sacrificing her college savings to help save her family’s home, Julie is stuck working at Bed Bath & Beyond while her best friend Lauren has the fortunate circumstance to attend Parsons in the fall, a dream both once shared. The white teens’ final summer together begins with a painting Julie purchases at a thrift store. After hanging the painting and then turning off the light to sleep, Julie discovers that the darkness reveals an entire new painting underneath the surface that’s visible in the light. The only clue to the artist’s identity is the signature, the initials L.G. An artist herself, Julie goes on the hunt, dragging Lauren along, to discover more. They find other paintings that share this uncanny technique of masking two paintings in one. With each painting they find, the darkness reveals chilling images connected to a true story of young women who worked at a watch-painting facility during World War I. Alternating chapters follow Julie’s quest and present decades-old love letters written by Lydia, a white radium factory worker, both slowly revealing the horrific story of young women who were exposed to radioactive paints. With this interleaved technique, Bryant brilliantly lures readers into an engaging mystery, a page-turner that begins beneath layers revealed in both paintings and chapters.
A riveting story of ambitious and self-sufficient women, both in the present and past. (Mystery/historical fiction. 14-18)