Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Radiate by Marley Gibson

Posted by

Marley Gibson
Release date: April 3rd, 2012
by Graphia

Goodreads / Purchase

Hayley Matthews is determined to be the best cheerleader she can. She works hard and pushes herself 110% all the time.

Then Hayley finds a lump on her leg. The diagnosis is cancer. The prognosis is unclear. She could lose her leg. Or maybe her life.

At first Haley is scared, terrified. In an instant, everything she’s worked for seems out of reach. But Haley is strong. She’s going to fight this disease. She will not let it take her life or her dreams.

*A copy was provided by Thomas Allen & Son for review purposes*

“This is a story of how cheerleading saved my life”

Some may be thinking “Aww poor her she was a loser and being a popular cheerleader “saved her””. Nope: We’re talking cancer. We’re talking honest to goodness heartfelt emotions. Although this is not about the cancer itself more than it’s about the power of positive attitude. After reading this, I truly believe that we have the power to make our own miracles. It’s an inspiration to all who are going through a rough patch. Don’t ever believe you can’t come out of it!

If you’re now thinking “Oh another of those mind over matter stories that I’ll never believe really happen”. Guess what, this is a based on a TRUE STORY. It’s still a classed as a work of fiction, but at its core, this is the author’s experience with cancer. I only found this out at the end, and it made me love the book even more. To know someone – even moreso: a teenager – was this strong, this inspiring, it’s truly something to look up to.

In this book though, it’s Hayley Matthews. Hayley has just gotten her dream of making the varsity cheerleading squad when she starts to get pains in her leg. For a book about cancer, it’s surprising more enlivening than depressing. She never develops a desolate – the world is ending – attitude. She stays remarkably positive with a determined perseverance that makes it a really fantastic read. I would even say uplifting. She made me realize that we are stronger than we make ourselves out to be. She takes what’s been given to her, and she gives it the finger – this is who Hayley is. I adored her. I loved that she doesn’t succumb to the staring and whispering. She goes in front of a crowd to cheer because she loves it; with a limp, with a bald head, with scars, and with a smile. This, to me, is plain a simply admirable.

Besides the cancer, we’ve got family, friends, football, romance – all the things that make a good book even better. The family dynamics, especially, is great. We have siblings, parent, even friends’ families that feel like her own. We also have a reappearing long lost childhood friends. But most of all, we have love. The love that Hayley shares for her friends and family is unequivocal. I wasn’t only feeling for her, I was feeling for everyone around her. Full of shocks and secrets – the side stories give off as much heart as the central one. I really enjoyed how it was all interjected seamlessly into this already loaded story.

It’s undeniably emotional, but also positively encouraging; I’m actually quite surprised that I haven’t seen this book around more, so please, give it a chance because it will surprise you!

5 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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34 Responses to “Review: Radiate by Marley Gibson”

  1. Book Sake

    Wow. I wasn’t sure from the synopsis how I’d feel about reading this one, but it sounds like it was a good read. I’m surprised too that I haven’t heard of it before now.

    – Jessica @ Book Sake

  2. Christina

    Yeah, I’m still not sure if I actually want to read this, but it’s certainly more tempting now that I’ve seen your review. Maybe I’ll save it to read after something unrelentingly depressing.

  3. Jenn Renee

    Great review! I am really excited to read this book. When I first saw this book mention I had no idea what it was about and didn’t pay it any attention. Until I kept seeing it, then I read the synopsis and thought sounds tear jerking. You’re review made it go to the top of my list. thanks!

  4. Celine

    When I see those 5 hot Espressos, I am 100% convinced to read the book! 😉

    And OMG, Radiate sounds AWESOME, Giselle! I’ve been dying to read this book but I haven’t actually read any reviews but after reading your review, I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK SO BADLY!

    Awesome review, Giselle! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

    Celine @ Forget-Me-Not

  5. Giselle

    Thanks guys! It,s really a great book!

    @Aleksandra: Actually the book is more about being positive than the cancer itself so I find the cover matches the attitude of the protagonist. I guess at first glance it doesn’t seem to go with it though.

  6. Nick

    I haven’t seen this book around, but it seems very inspiring.
    It looks like you really enjoyed the book. Thanks for sharing your review, Giselle. 🙂

  7. Amy

    This sounds really good. I actually have seen it a few times around the web, but never really thought twice about it. Thanks for the awesome review!! I would have never thought about reading it before seeing your review for it.

  8. Heather

    This sounds awesome. Finally, a story from a cheerleader’s POV who actually loved cheerleading and how it helped them. I’ve never been one to envy or hate cheerleaders. It’s actually a pretty cool sport for those who really get into it. I may have to read this!

  9. Sam

    I am eager to read this as soon as possible after your review! I love how uplifting and worthwhile it sounds, and the family dynamic you mentioned is another factor I can’t wait to discover for myself. Brilliant review!

  10. kimba88

    Get the tissues…Great review Giselle. I tend to shy away from contemporary…especially emotional ones..but this sounds really good. So I will save the title for when that moody strikes me!

  11. Jac

    I hadn’t thought much about this – but thanks to your fabulous review I think I’ll have to give it a read. (Although it’s one of those that I think will touch close to home – one of my soccer teammates was diagnosed with cancer in our sophomore year…)

    Of course, anything you give a 5 rating too? Is bound to be good – I’ve learned that.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  12. Angie

    You don’t give out perfect ratings often, do you? This one must be incredible!

    The cover alone would make me pass on this one, but your review actually makes me want to give it a try! Thanks for the great review! 🙂

  13. Giselle

    Thanks ladies! I’m glad I could make some of you notice this one!

    @Angie: I don’t give them very often no. This one truly deserved it imo 🙂

    @Jac: wow this could be even more emotional for you! Hope you like it, Jac! I highly recommend all my 5-stars! 😀

    @Heather: I know this isn’t about the angst at all she loves cheerleading and it’s a really awesome sport. One of the most dangerous too!

  14. Books And Beyond

    Sounds like a gr8 book. Always happy to toss a new one on the TBR pile. I know I am a liar if I think I can NOT add a new book to my TBR after visiting a few blogs each
    I am glad this one has a bit of substance to it.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog last week, always nice to see a familiar face.

    I see you finished the As the World Dies trilogy, wasn’t it PHENOMENAL? OMG. I recently got the books so I could re read and they are pretty much the same as the internet stories from long ago, cleaned up a bit, tweeked here and there, but just as awesome as I remember!

    Have a gr8 one!

  15. Danny

    Truly, this cover is missleading then! I thought , Oh a High School Cheerleading fun, but it’s much more serious! I like it when important and emotional topics are wrapped in a great tale. Considering this is a true story I’m eager to hear this story!

  16. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Sounds like a fantastic book! Marvelous review. I typically don’t read cancer books because they make me sad. Still, John green wrote one that I enjoyed so i might try others. this one seems to have great moments and i love books based on true stories.

  17. KTJ

    I wrote a really good comment, then my internet died on me 🙁 so here i go again!

    I don’t think I would have picked this up, even if I’d heard about it before, but now I’m definitely intrigued and will have to seek this one out, it sounds amazing! I love stories with good side stories and characters!

    Nomalicious Reads

  18. Giselle

    @Books And Beyond : YES I finished Siege about a month ago and it’s truly fantastic! I’m always happy to find other fans! 🙂

    @Danny: I agree I did a double take on the synopsis when I read it too! But once you read the book you get it. It’s positive just like her.

    @Rachel: This one’s actually not that sad. It’s more touching than actual heartbreakingly sad.

    @KTJ: GAH! I hate when the Internetz steals!!

    Thanks dolls! <3

  19. Lexie

    Gorgeous review. I would read this just based off of the premise, but the fact that this was based off of the author’s own life . . . I think it makes the whole thing that much more incredible. This one sounds absolutely beautiful, and I’ll definitely be picking up a copy.

  20. Marley Gibson

    To Giselle…

    I am extremely grateful and humbled by your amazing review and extraordinary rating and recommendation for my book, RADIATE. Thank you so much for spreading the word about RADIATE and what it meant to you. The reviews on the book are VERY strong…we just have to keep getting the word out about it so people will read it.

    If any of your readers would like to learn more about the book, my personal journey, see the kick-cancer’s-butt book trailer, and learn about my new Radiate Foundation, please visit

    And…JUST for your commenters, I would love to offer a giveaway copy of RADIATE. All your commenters need to do is visit, click “Contact” page and look for the link at the bottom to send me an e-mail. Mention this blog and follow me on Twitter to enter.

    I’m away for the weekend at a conference, but I’ll choose one winner randomly from the entries on Monday.

    Thanks again and all the best!

    YOU, too, RADIATE!
    Marley = )

  21. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    When I read the blurb for this I was a bit taken aback. The cover gives the impression of a fun, feel good book. But you say it’s a very positive story, and not depressing so maybe it is kind of feel good. I really admire and respect people who can stay so strong and positive when faced with cancer and I think they are an inspiration to us all. Great review 🙂

  22. Kathy Ann Coleman

    I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while now but with what my family is going through I had put it on the back burner. It sounds like this might actually be something I *want* to read right now, though. It sounded fabulous when I heard about it and your review only reinforces that. I have the sample on my Kindle and odds are it will be getting a download. 🙂