Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light
by Estelle Laure
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Buy It: Amazon / TBD
Source: NetGalley

"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."

My Thoughts:

   I liked the premise of this story and felt it would appeal to a lot of people, especially pre-teens and teenagers. It's about two sisters abandoned by their mother and an absent father with the oldest not yet 18 years old who has to take care of herself, her younger sister, and become financially independent. She has to start balancing her schoolwork, watching out for her sister, starting a job, and a hopeful romance. I think a lot of kids wonder what it would be like without adults and having more freedom. This novel explores that and puts it in a realistic setting with bills, repairs, and other consequences non-adults don't realize will happen. The cover is pretty and makes it obvious the target audiences are pre-teens and teenagers, which I agree correlates with the content of the novel. The plot itself I liked and I like how the story unfolded. I liked the structure of the novel, how it as parted and that the chapter headings signified time centered around their abandonment.  
   I didn't like any of the characters, especially Lucille. She made everything more dramatic than it was and how she spoke didn't seem like a teenager. There were weird analogies used at random times. The author is totally allowed to write like that and have her characters how she wants them to be, but I didn't like it. The prose tried too hard to be whimsical in my opinion. Lucille and Wren's parents were not likable, but they also weren't written deeper than showcasing their problems which led to the abandonment of their daughters. It was intriguing and the novel could have included more bits with memories of them. I guess I didn't really feel any sort of attachment to the characters. I sympathized more for Wren than any of the other characters. However, I tend to do that with a lot of books.   
  Why did her father just finally snap? Why couldn't her mother have just waited until Lucile was 18 years old or she finished her last year of school?  
   Overall, I don't think this novel was outstanding. I felt it tried to hard to be edgier than it was with awkward writing. I didn't find any of the characters interesting or like them. This novel focuses more on familial relationships, than romance (I think it was advertised as more romance than it is). I felt the novel length was too short and could have gone on a bit longer. I got more interested towards the end of the novel and wanted the story to continue. Based on other reviews I feel like this is a book you really loved or you just felt "meh" about. While there were some positive aspects I felt "meh" overall. What did you think of This Raging Light? 

Estelle Laure

About Estelle Laure:
Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

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