I’m about to head into my last week of classes in my MFA program (then just one semester and I graduate!), but am still trying to find time to keep up my reading. This Raging Light, by Estelle Laure comes out December 22, so I wanted to get a review up before the publication date. I had a lot of excitement about this one, mostly positive feelings (but a few mixed ones too), and really cannot wait for it to come out to get more opinions.
The story starts with senior in high school Lucille’s life basically falling apart. As the back cover will tell you, her father’s gone crazy, her mom’s abandoned her with no money, she has a little sister to take care of, and she’s fallen in love with the least convenient person ever – her best friend’s brother, Digby, who has a very serious boyfriend. So basically Estelle Laure took the advice to put your main character in tough situations very seriously. The book follows Lucille trying to keep people from finding out that she’s alone with her sister, solving logistical problems, being freaked out by anonymous acts of kindness, and (of course!) having a lot of confusing interactions with Digby.
I liked how the characters had really nuanced reactions to the difficult situations in the book. Lucille is far from a perfect saint who keeps everything together. Her friends, for the most part, don’t abandon her or become perfect helpers. The hard situation is hard, for everyone. There are also some really top-notch romantic scenes written and Digby was a character I totally fell for. I flew through the book reading it in almost one sitting.
As for mixed feelings, there was a lyrical writing style that I’m not always a big fan of … especially in an intense book with high stakes. I also had a little trouble connecting to Lucille and just feeling really upset that her parents failed her so spectacularly. These aren’t reasons it isn’t a good book. But they might be reasons it isn’t a good book for me. A friend from school also got an advanced copy and she loved it … which is probably why Baskin Robins makes 31 flavors and why publishers publish even more different kinds of books.
*I received a free ARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.