Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: This Raging Light - Estelle Laure

This Raging Light
Estelle Laure
Series: N/A (Companion Novel coming soon)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I said in a post once that sometimes when I read a book, everything feels right. It makes me feel exactly what I needed to feel in that exact moment, and This Raging Light was it for me. The writing is genuinely heartfelt, Lucille (the protagonist) is broken and strong and the real deal, and the only complaint I have is that it was too short.

I'll get out my only real criticism of the book here at the beginning so I can gush afterwards -- too much happened in the book for it to be crammed into less than 300 pages. It took me all of two hours to read this book (some pages aren't even like, full of words, if you know what I'm trying to say) and honestly there was so much plot and so much character development that I feel like could have been hashed out more. Also, the ending left a lot to be desired -- an extra 200 pages would have totally been warranted. This book doesn't have a sequel but it does have a companion novel, so maybe things will get hashed out there? I guess we'll wait and see. In summation: I'm only mad at this book because I wanted more.

Lucille, our main character, along with her little sister Wren, were abandoned by her parents with no money (they left her with the house though), no notice of their return, and no phone calls. So, she gets a job and leans really heavily on Eden (her best friend) and Digby (Eden's twin brother who Lucille has a crush on). Things are obviously really complicated. Lucille needs someone to watch her ten year old sister so that she can work on school nights and make $100+ a night bussing tables. Lucille makes a lot of money so that the book works but she ends up with a job at a Hooters type deal to explain the extra cash. Obviously there ends up being family drama and romance drama and friend drama because even when the world is crashing down around you, drama somehow still happens.

There's a lot of character development in this book that doesn't necessarily happen when you're paying attention. It seems like nothing and then a lot all at once, but Estelle Laure does it in a way that doesn't seem like one aspect of a character's personality is fixed and therefore now, they'll live a happy life. I touched on how well Lucille's character is written, but honestly, I think all of the characters were written really well. Everyone had their lows and their highs and the book somehow managed to show that there was decency where it was least expected to be. I really hated Eden's character and her whole plot line, but she developed nicely and while I didn't appreciate her character, I enjoyed how she fit into the larger plot.

This book was damn good. It made me really feel for the characters in a way that not many books can do -- Estelle Laure is immensely talented and I really can't wait for the companion novel to come out, because I just want more explanations for some of the things that happen in the book.

- Amrutha

What books have you read at the exact right time?
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