Love. That is the theme of this book and it is explored in so many ways. It's neat to see the many ways that love can be dysfunctional through the families that hurt one another, and then the sharp contrast of another family who tragedy pulls them together instead of apart and they are close. It also shows the extreme value of friendship and the love it offers. As usual, Lurlene McDaniel hits the hard and emotional issues, and deals with them with elegance but still in a realistic and easy to relate to way of writing. The characters feel real, and I am able to sympathize with them and want the best for them. It is hard to see them hurting or going through hard things, but I know that the character growth and their journey will be so worth it. They all have their own hard problems, Arie has been sick, Eden used to cut and is in a non-traditional and controlling relationship, and Cialina takes care of her grandma who is sick and from the blurb, we know she is going to die. Their friendship was a huge draw for me, I appreciated how close they were and how they supported each other. My issue was only that they kept huge secrets from one another at times, and while they may have done it for good reasons, it only caused more pain than they were trying to prevent. The different kinds of love that they showed was important to, and that relationships can be different things to different people at different times. I will say though, that if it were just going from the blurb, I don't know that I would have picked this book up, but Lurlene McDaniel is an auto-read and I am glad that I gave it the time. This is darker than her other works, but still has the same themes and emotional roller coaster type feelings. The Year of Luminous love has a bittersweet ending that ties up the book well. It leaves quite a few things resolved but open. That is okay though because there is a companion novel that will be released. Bottom Line: Emotional and powerful novel about friendship, love, grief, pain and healing.