Alyson Noel
Riley Bloom, Book #2

Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz


Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?


For such a small novel, author Alyson Noel managed to pack a punch! A suspenseful story wrapped in history and empathy, Alyson Noel proves a good story isn’t about length but quality.

Riley is just as sarcastic as ever! She is rash, stubborn, and hardheaded. She tends to act against better judgment and tends to make a lot of mistakes before she gets something right. She is just like any normal twelve year old . . . er . . . except for the fact that she is dead. Riley grows a lot in this novel. She learns to be more empathetic, a trait most twelve year olds (and adults I may add) don’t fully understand. She learns to understand the power of forgiveness and compassion.

Bodhi doesn’t play as much of a role as I would have liked but considering the story is from Riley’s point of view and what she goes through, I can understand. I just love Bodhi! He is SUCH a nerd. He dresses more laid back in Shimmer than he had when he met Riley in Radiance. He is still head butting against Riley, still as wise and smart as ever (much to Riley’s annoyance).

I also love that Riley’s dog, Buttercup, is a part of the story. His personality makes for a great character even though he can’t actually speak. His facial expressions and attempts to get into Riley’s good graces and even the pain he has to overcome in the story are all believable. He reminded me of my dog Melody and I just wanted to hug my dog after reading about his story.

The only thing that really bothered me in Shimmer was the constant repetition of Riley’s thoughts. She is dramatic in the way she expresses her thoughts and has a need to go on about them for far longer than I cared to read.

Shimmer does deal with dark themes. Slavery, murder, rage. I would advise parents and readers of YA novels (who are under legal adult age) to be cautious with this book only because there are descriptions about what Rebecca’s father did to the slaves he owned. Also, as to what happened with Rebecca and her father. Nothing overly graphic or enough to become completely traumatized by reading but the author does venture into helping to built an image so readers have a better appreciation for the history of suffering that took place during those years.

Shimmer surprised me with how deep the storyline went. There is a great deal of tragedy for the lost souls Riley must help free but also a beautiful journey of triumph and the power of love.

Check out more about the author and Riley’s adventures in the afterlife here.