Monday, November 23, 2015

ARC Review: This Raging Light

About The Book:

  Title: This Raging Light 
  Author: Estelle Laure 
  Pub. Date: December 22nd, 2015 
  Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers 
  Pages: 288
  Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health
  Rate: 4/5 stars

Synopsis :

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.


Now lately, I've made a habit of only requesting books that I really, really want to read. I'm talking want to read so bad that I stalk the author's Twitter and other social networks on a weekly basis until the book comes out. I immediately fell in love with the description of this book because it's not every day that you see a mature girl with so many responsibilities in a YA book, so I knew I couldn't wait to read it. 

The story takes place after Lucille and Wren's mom already left town. This would be hard for any single parent, let alone a teenage girl with a ton of other responsibilities to take care of a little girl. Their mom sends them $100 every month in the mail because I guess she thinks that's enough to take care of a household? Obviously not! Lucille has to get a part-time job at a restaurant whilst going to school full-time and taking care of Wren. Wren is a doll. She obviously knows something is going on - and her mom isn't just on "vacation" as she claims. She's ridiculously smart and I feel so bad for her that she really never had a functioning household to grow up in. At the same time - Lucille is trying to do the best she can but she's only one person. Her best friend tries to help with babysitting Wren as much as she can but she has things to do as well, which is understandable. They are in high school, they have stuff to do, extracurricular activities - I remember how it was. Well, that's when her twin Digby steps up and offers to help with babysitting Wren. And that's also when things start to get pretty messy. 

"Explain to me what the point of living is if you aren't willing to 
fight for the truths in your heart, to risk getting hurt. You have to rage."

This was a romance that I really liked because I felt it was very realistic. I know a lot of people are going to have problems with it, though. Why? Because Digby Jones has a girlfriend when he starts coming onto Lucille and it does get into the cheating territory. But people - you all have to realize that cheating does sometimes happen! And we read books to know that we are not alone and to help us go through pivotal life moments. Anyway - I loved this because I felt like I never really knew what Digby's intentions were. He was being a really great guy and helping Lucille around the house with things, but at the same time he had a girlfriend and wouldn't leave her. I think he was almost conflicted with himself and that is so realistic because he's in high school.  How many high school guys do you know who have their entire life made up and it actually works out that way? Probably not that many. Digby Jones is conflicted between what he knows is safe/what he should want and what is foreign to him and he wants to explore more. All in all, Digby Jones was very swoon worthy and I really did enjoy their romance. 

"How does a barely noticeable star become your very own sun?"

My only complaint about the story was that I felt it ended kind of abruptly. However, to be fair the entire book is about 280 pages so that is a lot of plot to cover in a short amount of time. The story really never seemed rushed so it wasn't a matter of that. Around 30 pages from the end, I found myself getting worried about how things would end. It was like - "ok there's no way all of the things I want reconciled will have a chance to be". So, I was ultimately kind of put off by that, but that is my only complaint about the book. And before you are mislead - it wasn't that the entire plot of the book was unresolved. I felt that Lucille's personal conflicts with herself resolved very realistically - it was more the social conflicts I thought could have ended differently. 

Overall, I thought this story was an amazing contemporary novel. There are so many times that you will  wonder how parents could do this to their children and this story will probably make you realize how lucky you have things compared to some other people. Yes, there is a lot of struggling and heartache in this novel but there is also a lot of celebration of life and love as well. It is a must read for any contemporary fan, so I highly recommend picking this book up! 

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
for providing this book in exchange for my honest review
- Jocelyn 

1 comment:

  1. Thank the bookish gods that HMH sent me an arc, because I wanted to read it ever since you mentioned there was an aspect of cheating. It's incredibly realistic because HELLO people it happens, so I'm so freaking excited to read this! Lucille always sounds like an amazing character. She has so much on her plate, and I just love when a character's life isn't perfect, it makes it super relateable.