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Review: Radioactive

September 17, 2015


Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss is the story of Marie and Pierre Curie, scientists well known for their research on radioactivity, a termed coined by Marie herself.  Marie was born in Poland and moved to Paris as an adult to continue her studies.  It was there that she met her husband and collaborator.

Even as they fell in love, married, and had children, the Curie’s research was first and foremost in their lives.  They made many discoveries and earned several Nobel prizes.  (Marie was the first woman to be awarded the prize and is the only woman to have received it twice.)  Their lives were fascinating and full of triumphs and tragedy.

Radioactive has been described as a “biography-in-collage,” but it’s so much more than that – it’s presented in a unique way that is visually appealing and thought provoking.  Through text and various medium, Redniss tells the Curie’s story and covers the ways the world has used their discoveries, including radiation for cancer treatment and nuclear weapons.

Redniss paid close attention to detail when she designed this book.  First of all, the cover is textured and glows in the dark!  Redniss created a new typeface just for this book and used cyanotype printing to create many of the pictures in the book – original artwork as well as photographs, maps, and pages from an FBI file.   Radioactive was a National Book Award finalist in 2011 and I can see why – I thought this book was fantastic and recommend it to teens on up.

Check out this video clip where Redniss explains the process she used to create Radioactive and reads a short passage:

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2015 6:33 am

    How cool is that, a cover that glows! Very clever. I had read a bio about the Curies many years ago but I like the sound of this one. Relevant examples, maps and more – I will have to look for this one.

  2. Beth F permalink
    September 17, 2015 8:16 am

    Wow. I’m sorry I haven’t read this one yet. Must track down a copy!

  3. September 17, 2015 10:31 am

    It sounds fantastic!

  4. September 17, 2015 11:06 am

    Sounds interesting. I just checked and my library has a copy. I added it to my list.

  5. September 17, 2015 12:08 pm

    This sounds fantastic…very visual

  6. September 17, 2015 12:35 pm

    This isn’t my normal type of read, but it sounds really interesting. And I love that the cover glows. 🙂

  7. September 17, 2015 1:50 pm

    This has been on my wish list for WAY too long… sounds amazing!!

  8. September 17, 2015 4:04 pm

    This does sound fascinating! I like that the covers glows in the dark. Excellent review! 🙂

  9. Patty permalink
    September 17, 2015 6:46 pm

    Wow! It sounds unique! I love that cover!

  10. September 18, 2015 9:45 am

    I need to pick this one up. Amber did a report on Marie Curie last year and I think we would both find this interesting.

  11. September 18, 2015 4:20 pm

    A glow in the dark cover? How cool!

  12. September 20, 2015 1:49 pm

    Wow, this book looks and sounds great! I like it when every part of a book has a strong connection with the story within its pages.

  13. September 21, 2015 10:42 am

    I want this book!

  14. bookingmama permalink
    September 22, 2015 8:24 am

    Wow! This sounds amazing! I wouldn’t have thought I’d be interested in this topic enough to read an entire book but your review is making me rethink that.

  15. September 22, 2015 7:46 pm

    Oh, this totally looks like one that Jason would like!

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