Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan I received an advance copy of this book through Goodreads! Amy Kathleen Ryan takes young adult novels where few have previously tread- deep into outer space. The first book in her new series, Sky Chasers, Ryan offers her readers a look into a dog-eat-dog future of desperation, uncertainty, and just a little bit of faith and hope. Two young lovers traveling across the universe on the Empyrean, one of two space ships on a mission to revive the human race on a planet called "New Earth", are forced to grow up when thrown into violence and unimaginable danger at the hand of the captain of their sister ship, the New Horizon. Although written for a teenage audience, it's graphic and violent and features more adult themes such as duty to society, religious faith, bravery in the face of opposition, and questions the morality of advanced human fertility practices. While I saw the necessity of religion in the overall plot of the book, I did find it to be a little too preachy in a couple places.

By taking her characters out of the world we know and placing them into the fantastic unknown of deep space, Ryan had the opportunity to carve her own world out of uncharted territory. She fully took advantage of this situation and puts the reader directly into her own interpretation of life in a space ship- from the design and structure of the ship itself to the social structure, hive mind, and a level of desperation that we don't always get the chance to feel with our feet planted firmly on planet Earth.

I was very impressed by the level of passion in the characters' emotions. I felt equally as angry as Kieran for being held prisoner for crimes he feels he did not commit, and as hurt and devastated as Waverly, defiled and held against her will aboard a captive vessel. I found that Ryan's descriptive writing style, especially while conveying a character's deep inner feelings, ignited real emotion in myself- it actually felt like I was the one being wronged rather than simply reading about events in the life of a fictional person. I wanted to jump into the pages and deal out the justice the protagonists so badly wanted.

As in any other novel catering to a young adult audience, Glow is also a love story. Thankfully, it's a more realistic romance than other books of the genre. The author doesn't dwell as much on the blind romance of two teenagers, paying fair attention to the more pressing conflicts in the story. Waverly, a nearly 16-year old girl, maintains rational thinking and isn't blinded by her young love for her betrothed, Kieran. This balance reminds the reader that while there is a little romance, there are more critical issues at hand to be dealt with. I greatly appreciated the lack of mushy love scenes and professions of undying love, as those would naturally be absent in the situation these kids are thrown into, though it is by no means void of heart-felt moments of love and yearning.

I don't give five stars very often, but I feel this novel really deserves it. The end left me wanting more but, alas, I must wait. It's one of the best books I have read this year and I truly look forward to the release of its sequel!