Publication Date: June 30, 2011
I found Luminous to have a confusing premise. I freely admit to peeking at the ending when I was only about one third of the way through reading. I needed to make sure that my hunch about the Flow was correct and once that happened, I was able to settle into the story.
Consuela is shopping for jeans when she collapses. At home she feels an odd bump on the back of her neck and upon further examination realizes that she can take off her skin. As a skeleton, Consuela, or Bones as she is soon known, travels to the Flow. The Flow is a world that exists next to, or is layered over, our world. Consuela learns that she can make new skins for herself, made from water, air, fire, feathers, anything that is near her. She meets some of the other inhabitants of the Flow and gathers that they help people on Earth, people who have given up on life. But the Flow and its residents are being threatened and Consuela must help stop the killer. But what if he's the only one who can help Consuela get home?
The Flow itself was a confusing place. Each of the characters Consuela meets in the Flow gives more details about what it is and what it might look like. Although, it seems like the Flow would be different for different people. Each character has their own place (maybe base of operations is a better way to put it), that is unique to them - Sissy's office, Consuela's bedroom, and lawn outside a high school where Wish can be found are examples. Despite all of the details and explanation, I still wasn't sure what to think of the Flow.
Maybe, because I found the Flow to be a confusing place, I wasn't as invested in the story as I wanted to be. I cared about what happened to only some of the characters - Sissy, Consuela and V in particular. Consuela and Sissy's budding friendship was the highlight of the book. Other characters weren't really around long enough to get attached to. And then there was Tender, who scared me and made me cry, but I still didn't like him. Not even after Consuela learned his biggest secret: Did I understand him better, yes, like him, no.
I did really like that different religions and belief systems had a place in the Flow. Each of the characters used their different beliefs to help them with the main task of helping people on the other side of the Flow. I found the Day of the Dead imagery to be very interesting and liked how Ms. Metcalf wove it through Consuela's story. I wish there were more young adult books that touched upon different belief systems.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about Luminous. Please don't that discourage you from picking it up, especially if you're looking for a book that is different from a lot of other paranormal books.