Tuesday 21 March 2023

The Glow

The Glow by Sofie Laguna, illustrated by Marc McBride (Allen & Unwin). PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781761066825

Reviewed by Kerry Gittins

Megan is not like her other sisters. They are loud and love sport, whereas Megan is quieter and loves to draw. It’s not that she doesn’t love them, or her mum and dad, it’s just that the broom cupboard offers a quieter place to get away and draw her fantastical creatures. So does her friend Li’s place. Ever since Li moved in across the road two years ago, the girls have been inseparable. Li is an only child with a single mum, and things are a lot calmer at their house. Plus, Li is a creative too. She loves to write, especially about aliens, and brings Megan’s creatures to life by giving them their own names and backstories. Then one Friday, everything changes.

A blue glow takes over the town and everyone in it, except for Megan, Li and Megan’s dog Callie. People stop and quietly stare in a zombie-like state. And when Megan tries to draw, it seems the pencil takes on a life of its own and she can’t control her hand. The same happens when Li writes her stories. On their way to get help, Callie leads them to the Talora Caves where they see an eerie blue glow emanating from the cavern. It tries to capture their minds and pull them in. The girls will have to use all their courage and awaken their fantasy beasts to defeat the creature that is The Glow.

This is a fast-paced tale of adventure, friendship, and heroism, set against a background of creativity and fantasy. Two ordinary girls are caught in an extraordinary situation and must use all their creative skills to save their town. The story is extremely well written with short chapters, engaging language and plenty of mystery and excitement to keep the reader wanting more. The illustrations, especially those of the creatures, are very intricate with a hint of danger and menace and will have huge appeal to those who liked the dragons, orcs, and other beasts from Middle Earth, Harry Potter and Hayao Miyazaki.  As a lover of fantasy, I couldn’t put this one down and highly recommend it for upper primary and middle grade readers.

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