HMH Books for Young Readers
December 22, 2015
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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 love when, whatever the why, I am not that sure I want to read a book but then I do . . . and I love it! It is such a fantastic surprise. This Raging Light was definitely a surprise to me.
I think a lot of that was that the summary bills the novel as a romance, promising Lucille falling for Diby is a main focus. Really, though, so much more is about Lucille, her little sister Wren and how they, Lucille, especially, must cope when their mother's 'vacation' goes on longer than anticipated.
Lucille has to figure out not only getting herself ready for senior year, but also Wren's first day of fourth grade, keeping their mother's absence secret from the adults around them, knowing what to tell her sister, and how to keep them both fed and okay. It is a lot for one teenage girl to handle, even with the help of her best friend Eden and form some unexpected sources.
While the circumstances are extraordinary, I enjoyed that Lucille's character - her friendship with Eden, her crush on Digby, her relationship, worries and care for Wren, her own doubts and questions -- was so real and easy to relate to. She wasn't someone with super powers, she didn't have all of the answers or always do the smartest thing. But she was trying. What she did do, her feelings, thoughts and decisions made sense.
Even when it seemed she wasn't quite keeping it all together, when things were just about to fall apart, you have to admire how well she is doing and you hope for things to work out. Whether or not the 'how' of that is easily discernible.
The romance is present, not nearly as central as the summary would make it seem, but it is there. While I enjoyed it - how the characters were with each other, the difficulties they faced, how things evolved, it is not what I am going to remember This Raging Light for. Rather, it is Lucille's strength, her love for her family, and all that she finds out about herself that I will keep with me.
review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher