(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 12th 2016
"A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can and will take us all by surprise. Jennifer E. Smith, "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight"Can the best thing happen at the worst time?Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love messy, inconvenient love is what she s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page."
I’m so torn on this one you guys… I think I liked it… but there were definitely some things that just didn’t work for me.
This Raging Light falls under the heavy, angsty, YA umbrella. Lucille is seventeen and her life has been turned upside down and it all began on the day her father decided he had had enough of this life Lucille’s mother had supposedly forced him into. Now that he’s gone, her mom also isn’t sure she can go on, and decides she need a vacation… from the life they live, and from the children she should be taking care of so she leaves. When the start of school arrives and her mother does not, Lucille is determined to do whatever she has to in order to make sure younger sister stays with her and no one finds out the predicament they are in.
So what did I like… I liked that Lucille was determined to do what she had to do. Even if that meant getting a job and leaning on her friends. (As if having a job at age 17 is unheard of). I also really loved the mystery 0f trying to figure out who was helping her. I have to say that at times I really liked the writing style… which now leads me to the things that didn’t always work for me.
The writing style was at times a bit too much. The phrasing and writing style didn’t always work for me and it’s hard to explain unless you go ahead and read this. I think I struggled a bit to really understand who Lucille was and who she wanted to be and that really came across in the writing and ultimately that’s why I didn’t love the style.
The drama was a bit too much as well. This book was full of all kinds of it. From her father leaving, then her mother, then her best friend turning on her, then someone sneaking into the house, then the cheating and the drama of her job… it was just all too much. And ultimately by the end very little of it was resolved. Was there some growth in Lucille as a character, sure, definitely not leaps and bounds, but a little … but what the hell with her mother. That was the main plot point of this story and we as readers get nothing in the way of a resolution and that was frustrating.
I have to also mention the cheating. I hated it. The relationship between the two just didn’t work for me, and not only because he was already in a long-term relationship, but because we only know that for years Lucille has had a crush on Digby for reasons we don’t necessarily know. He’s not overly kind to her, he’s doesn’t go out of his way for her… I just didn’t see it. And when they were together, everything was just super awkward and I never felt the connection that would have made it understandable that he would do what he did to his girlfriend. It might be sad to say it, but I wasn’t surprised that Lucille went for him either.
Eden, Lucille’s best friend was also a bit of a riddle to me. I like unique characters, but I never felt their deep friendship. I think the way she talked and acted made her a bit standoffish and made it really hard to understand how either of them connected to each other.
I feel like people will either really love this book or really dislike it. I for one am on the fence. There are definitely aspects that I loved and were truly unique and different, but ultimately, the story felt unfinished and I didn’t truly connect with these characters like I would like to in my contemporary YA reads.
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.