Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic
Release Date: January 14th 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository
Can you fall in love when everything is falling apart? Estelle Laure is a major new talent to rival John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Her debut novel, This Raging Light, is a heartbreakingly beautiful book that you'll devour in one sitting, but remember forever. How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up? Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend's unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together - just.
This story follows Lucille as she becomes the sole carer of her younger sister Wren when their mother decides to leave them in order to clear her head. After trouble with their father, their mother finds it difficult to cope. So Lucille is left to pay the bills and keep the house functioning, as well as making sure no one discovers their secret. The only people who know what Lucille and Wren are facing is Lu’s best friend Eden, and her twin brother Digby, who Lucille has feelings for despite him having a girlfriend.
This Raging Light is a book I’m quite torn over because whilst there were aspects of it that I enjoyed, there were also parts I found quite predictable. It lacked that unique touch for me. What worked especially well was Lucille’s struggle to keep on top of things by herself. Also the bond between her and Wren was wonderfully done, and Wren herself was a fantastic character.
The writing itself was beautiful and quite poetic at times, and Lucille’s emotions were described well, making everything feel raw and real. Whilst she was a believable character with a strong head, I didn’t connect to her as much as I wanted to. It felt like there wasn’t really much about her that stood out from other YA protagonists in similar situations. Her friendship with Eden was something I enjoyed, though. Eden was a fun and quirky character, and I particularly liked a certain plot twist that happened towards the end of the story which definitely packed a punch.
Lucille’s relationship with Digby didn’t have much appeal to me. In my opinion, they lacked the chemistry that they were clearly meant to have lots of. They have years of history, with the twins living right next door to Lucille as children, but I didn’t feel any of that history between them. I’d have preferred it if more flashback scenes had been included, and if the two of them had had more conversations throughout the course of the story. It didn’t exactly feel rushed because they’d known each other for so long, but I just felt like we were denied the chance to have seen their bond grow, and for that reason I didn’t have much emotional investment in their relationship. I also felt as though there could have been more scenes with Digby’s girlfriend, Elaine. There wasn’t a chance to get to know her and I think the story could have been a bit more dramatic if there had been more attachment to her character.
The element of mystery with regards to Lucille’s dysfunctional family throughout the book kept me hooked. I was eager to find out what happened to get them to the situation they’re in now. However, the ending left me a little frustrated because there were still questions I wanted answers to. But I believe there is a follow up book that will follow Eden? So I’m assuming the story will be explored further. As much as I want more of a conclusion to Lucille’s story, I don’t know if this book got me interested enough to continue with a second helping.