Glow, by Aubrey Hadley, is a sci-fi story set in Nevada. The main character is Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl who lives under the constant watch of her mother, along with her younger sister, Olivia and older brother, Brett. Their city is currently under threat from the Sleeping Syndrome, a disease which effectively euthanises its victims and has already wiped out thousands of people. As a result, Harper’s mother is incredibly restrictive of Harper’s freedom, limiting the time she is able to spend with her friends and expecting her to spend all her time looking after Olivia.
The story follows Harper as she battles against her mother’s restrictive and manipulative behaviour, using her fear of the Sleeping Syndrome as an excuse to place extreme limitations on Harper’s life. To make matters worse, Brett is excused from such restrictions and Harper cannot understand why her brother is allowed so much more freedom than she is. She makes a pact with Olivia that they will both leave the family home when they are old enough, and make reference to the future they want to build throughout the story.
However, before this happens, Harper is kidnapped by an alien species who are divided into two groups; Ancients and Hybrids. Olivia and her mother have vanished, but Brett has been enlisted as a guard to keep people inside their homes to protect them from the Sleeping Syndrome. But the aliens reveal that there is more to Harper’s identity than she realised and a reason why her mother treats her with disdain. Harper is part of an experiment, and the Sleeping Syndrome has been a way for both the Ancients and Hybrids to wipe out the human race for what they feel is the good of Earth. The rest of the story follows Harper as she undergoes a complete transformation and forms new friendships with her own species who assist her in plotting her escape.
The cover and genre of this story hooked me. The beginning starts out as a fun, engaging read which many who have experienced an oppressive upbringing will find relatable. I really liked the way that the sci-fi elements were weaved into the story and kept the plot realistic. I really like Harper’s character and I could relate to her fear of transitioning from a life of stability to one of chaos and uncertainty. A personal preference of mine is that a sci-fi story allows characters to retain some of their humanity amidst the world that the author has created. In my opinion, Hadley does that really well.
However, there were parts of the story which didn’t require as much information as Hadley has included. In my opinion, the story felt a little rushed towards the end and it would have been nice to have less information which went into more detail. I am a reader who immerses themselves in every scene and at times, the story contained too much information to allow me to become absorbed in the events and the characters involved.
But on the whole, this is a good sci-fi story and I would recommend it to any YA readers who are looking for sci-fi which is digestible and easy to follow. As this book is part of a series, I am intrigued to see where Hadley takes Harper on her adventure next.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It should be available on Amazon very soon.