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 wasn't expecting great things from This Raging Light - I expected it to be a pleasant read, something to pass the time with. About 20% into this book I realised just how wrong I had been - this was a brilliant book that really had me thinking. I cared so much about Lucille and Wren and Eden and Digby that I simply could not put this book down. I wanted things to work out for them so much.
I think most of my enjoyment stemmed from Laure's writing - she has such a unique, poetic and sometimes raw way of writing which sometimes comes across as quite harsh and sometimes comes across as quite purple prose-y, but the balance between these made the book a sheer pleasure to read. Despite the subject of the book not actually being that happy, I was sucked into the book and Laure made sure that this wasn't a 'problem' book, this was about Lucille and Digby's budding romance and all of the obstacles in their way - one of them being Lucille's difficult life.
That made this book stand out from other contemporary books - there was something so unique about the tone set by Laure that I was smiling and laughing and sad all in one - she's definitely going onto my must read list.
At first, I felt that the whole Digby/Lucille thing felt very rushed and stereotypical and I was setting myself up to be disappointed, but 20% in I realised that I had misjudged this and I was so engaged. It was just great.
If I had just one thing that lets this book down, it's that we weren't giving much of the set up - why did their mother leave them and never come back, it seemed totally out of the blue and this rocked me for a bit. I also felt that the ending did feel too sudden, like Laure had though 'well Wren and Lucille are looked after and Lucille and Digby are together, I can't be bothered to resolve the rest of the plot so I'll end on a note of hope and leave it be'. Like one second we are in full story mode and the next it just jolts to a halt.
Overall, This Raging Light was such an enjoyable novel. Estelle Laure has such a unique voice and I completely was sucked into her writing. The characters and relationships were great, but development and ending definitely felt a little lacking for me.
Overall Rating: B+
Book released 22nd December 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review