Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on December 22, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: ARC, Kindle Edition
Source: Review Copy
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.
This Raging Light by Estelle Laure was a book that I truly wasn’t expecting. And I know I say that a lot when it comes to books that I review, but this time there really is no better way to describe my feelings upon finishing Laure’s novel about a young girl who has to grow up incredibly fast after both of her parents leave her and her 11-year-old sister behind.
This first thing I noticed about This Raging Light, and something that I wasn’t all together too sure about as a reader, was Laure writing style. It’s very poetic and lyrical, and at first her writing gives Lucille a quality that seems almost innocent and small, definitely not the impression that she is ready to handle the responsibility of keeping both her and her younger sister feed and comfortable after being abandoned. But the writing works in this way, because in the beginning, Lucille isn’t equipped to deal with this type of situation, and she really isn’t prepared to take on such a responsibility.
But as the story continues, and as Lucille begins to blossom and mature as a person and caretaker, Laure’s voice for This Raging Light reflects that change in her main character while still being very whimsical and flowing. Her tone changed with Lucille, but it never lost the core essence of the girl readers are first introduced to.
Another great thing about This Raging Light is Laure’s bravery in writing incredibly delicate situations without shying away from the realities of consequences that these situations would bring. Lucille isn’t miraculously wonderful at taking care of her younger sister from the get-go. It’s not instalove with a boy, but rather a complicated, messy jumble of “not a good idea.” Mental illness is a real, scary thing that doesn’t play fair. And sometimes, as Lucille discovers, people are just really bad at being what they should be. I mean, what kind of mother just drives off one day and doesn’t come back?
But where Laure shows the bad in This Raging Light, she also shows the good. Help comes to Lucille in some of the strangest ways, and it was refreshing to lighten up some of the heavy while reading. And there’s obviously a lot of heavy.
But in the end, This Raging Light is a book about hope. It’s about finding strength in yourself, and also in those who you surround yourself with. And books like that…well, they almost always get my vote.