Award-winning contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Natalie Grant has been in the spotlight for almost 17 years, and with numerous awards, hit records and even a biography of her own under her belt, she now turns the spotlight in a different direction. Her daughters.
In the first two books of the four-part series "Glimmer Girls," Grant, with three young daughters of her own, takes tweens on an exhilarating ride through the perspective of each of the three girls in "London Art Chase" and "A Dolphin Wish."
It's part fiction but all fun.
In "London Art Chase," the Glimmer family crosses the pond to watch their mom, singer Gloria Glimmer, perform in the British capital. But as the three girls and their nanny, Miss Julia, start to explore all that London has to offer, Maddie starts to feel an awkwardness. After all, it's not easy to find what makes her glimmer and be a twin all the time.
During one specific trip to the National Art Gallery, the three girls see what they believe to be an art theft. Art lover Maddie knows for sure what she saw and tries to convince the others to chase after him before it's too late.
After many bumps and calamities along the way the girls get into trouble and triumph with Miss Julia who is never far behind. Through struggling with her own identity and wanting to save a valued piece of art, Maddie uses her instincts and faith in God to lead her in the adventure, and a little trouble along the way.
Grant's first foray into the world of young adult books hits on a positive note. Not only does she make it easy to read, which is sure to please youngsters of all reading levels, but it also takes the reader on heart-racing adventures, where surprise and intrigue ensue.
A prevalent theme throughout the books is the girls' faith and, given Grant's background as a Christian woman, it's easy to see how well it threads through the story. The Glimmer girls often are praying about the situations they find themselves in and are asking God to help them understand the plan of action to take.
In "London Art Chase," the dynamics of each of the three sisters come through very nicely and although each one of their personalities are different, it's how well they work together even in times of conflict that brings the story home.
It's not only just the relationship between Maddie, Mia and Lulu that makes the book so enjoyable, but it's also the way Gloria, her husband, and the nanny Miss Julia, come together as a cohesive and loving family unit, always showing the girls love and, even in the hard times, understanding in a faith based way.
Being the first book of this four part series, Maddie, Mia and Lulu shine through with each of their distinct personalities. It's clear that Grant left room for each girl to have her own personality and to let that shine through and thrive in their own way. A difficult task, sometimes, when you have characters who are twins, but no doubt Grant having twin daughters of her own it probably made the dialogue much easier to write.
Grant's first book, "London Art Chase" not only builds intrigue, finds adventure and helps children to understand some of life's hard lessons, but also emphasizes a much needed renewal in the way children see God.
This first book is in no doubt a really good read for pre-teens who want to expand their horizons and step into the world of someone like Natalie Grant and her family dynamic.
The only potential problem I see is that it might be looked over by the pre-teen male demographic. It is after all, from the point of view of three young girls and their female based surroundings. Hopefully, boys will be able to look past the fashion shows and makeup to discover that this book is full of adventure and exploring. It's part fiction but all fun.
Grant follows up the first book with "A Dolphin Wish," which is an excellent second installment in the Glimmer Girls series. Following their mom, Gloria Glimmer, on her tour, the girls find themselves in another mystery yet again.
This time Mia Glimmer takes center stage when she, along with her sisters Maddie, Lulu and their nanny Miss Julia, take a trip to Captain Swashbuckler's Adventure Park in San Diego, California, and discover that someone is letting the animals out of their habitats. This time it is Mia who feels the need to solve the mystery and help the animals in any way she can.
In "A Dolphin Wish," told from the viewpoint of Mia, it sees the girls' relationship dynamics change because of the incident that took place in the last book. But when Mia finds an adventure mystery of her own in San Diego, she is caught between two feelings. One of wanting to help the animals at the park and find the culprit, the other to compete with her sister.
Grant does an excellent job of letting the story flow from the first book, "London Art Chase," to the second one and letting all of the sisters' personalities shine through. Mia's personality and struggles with her sister are a central theme of the book, as well as their faith that God will help them their circumstances.
Mia's mom Gloria often reassures her girls with pep talks and prayers. But where Grant hits the jackpot is where the reader is challenged to think through difficult life scenarios, like when to tell the truth and how to know what decisions are right and wrong. This is a must for readers who are approaching their teenage years.
Grant lets family, strength, and Mia's true character stand front and center. Being a young adult book aimed at girls ages eight through twelve, this second book, like "London Art Chase," is a great entry in the series and will no doubt be able to help the reader figure out those tough decisions that lie ahead.