[note note_color=”#FFD14E” text_color=”#ffffff”]This Raging Light by Estelle Laure • December 22, 2015 • HMH Books for Young Readers
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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.[/note]
[note note_color=”#BFD1D1″ text_color=”#ffffff”]I received this book for free from HMH Books for Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.[/note]
First sentence: “Mom was supposed to come home yesterday after her two-week vacation.”
This Raging Light had promise—an emotional tale about two sisters dealing with abandonment—but somewhere along the way, I failed to connect with the writing and the characters. It initially pulled me in because of the pretty bright colors on the cover and the promise of sisters. For a book that’s about parental abandonment and seems like it’ll have the emotion kick, it was just a disappointing debut that was filled with “pretty” writing and not enough originality or heart.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS RAGING LIGHT
- This Raging Star focuses on two sisters, dealing with the aftermath of their mother’s disappearance.
Lucille and her little sister, Wren, are left to fend for themselves when their mother packs up and leaves on a “vacation.” The sisters have no idea where their mother went, and they just pretend everything is normal, which isn’t really healthy or helpful to their situation. They’re struggling to deal with their mother’s disappearance. I loved the bond between the sisters. They are the constant in each other’s lives, going through a terrible situation. I just wish the book actually explored more of these two sisters dealing with what happened because I don’t really feel like they did.
The characters were bland and underdeveloped.
Words to describe them: Boring. clichés. Meh.
Outside of what we’re told about these characters, I don’t think I ever truly got to know them. (Well, except Lucille because we’re inside her head.) Lucille has a support system that’s kind of helping her get by, and do we get to know them? No. Not Eden, Lucille’s best friend and ballet dancer, who’s a big presence in her life. Not Digby, Eden’s twin brother and Lucille’s crush, who I didn’t understand why Lucille liked him in the first place because he didn’t say or do anything that said he had a wonderful personality. Not as much about Wren as I liked. We get to know her a bit, but she’s so closed off, and Lucille’s stuck in her own head. I wanted to see more hints of Wren really struggling. If you were to ask me what’s a fun fact about these characters, I won’t be able to tell you because they were that uninteresting.
The writing in This Raging Light is beautiful, but it had me wondering if it really captures a teenager girl’s voice.
The writing tries to weaves you into this lyrical melody that gets terribly awkward and make you question whether it fits a teenage girl’s voice. It’s quite simple and short, and gets tiring after a while. Every word and imagery felt too methodically thought out and it felt like it’s trying too hard to sound pretty. I felt like it just didn’t fit with this character. The language of the book seems very important—especially because of the way it’s written—and I wished the author did something more with it to showcase a change with the main character’s grasp of it.
The romance involves a guy who already has a girlfriend.
If you don’t like romances about cheating, steer clear of This Raging Light.
Lucille knows she shouldn’t act on her feelings for a guy who already has a girlfriend. However, she can’t help but gravitate towards him (which makes me go “oh girl, he’s so boring though. Have you heard the things you say about him? He’s a cardboard cut-out—a waste of space.”). It’s something teenagers will experience. Feelings for people who already have a boyfriend or girlfriend do happen, and cheating does exist, especially in high school. I didn’t particularly enjoy this because the romance was hard to connect with—cheating sucks and Digby wasn’t anything like Lucille “described” (or tried to) him to be. It was boring, and had no meaning to the overall plot.
If you’re expecting this book to discuss why Lucille and Wren’s mother left them, you won’t find out here.
Or anywhere, for that matter.
For a book dealing with abandonment, I thought it would explore, or have Lucille investigate her mother’s disappearance. Do we get that? Nope. From Lucille, we learn of the possible reasons that her mother left, but nothing is completely certain (which is what a person actually experiences when a parent leaves their family without a warning). It just feels like a book that’s all talk, and no resolution. I need something about their mother’s disappearance to ground me to the book. I wanted there to be more moments—flashbacks between the sisters and their mother—to understand the yearning and the betrayal of her leaving. I’m generally okay with opened endings, but not when I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything about the character’s situation.
Do I recommend This Raging Light? Why not. It’s a quick debut—not the most mind blowing or interesting. Let’s see if you can enjoy the writing and connect with Lucille’s struggles.