Book: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Published December 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|160 Pages
Where I Got It: I own the e-book
Genre: YA Contemporary
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 was so excited about reading This Raging Light, but I ended up not liking it. Which makes me a little sad, because I really liked the premise of the book.
I don’t read a lot of stories where the protagonist is helping pay bills and takes care of a younger sibling to the point that they are basically like a parent to their sibling, but it wasn’t until I was reading this book that I realized how tired I am of this trope. The parents aren’t in the picture, and Lucy is left to get a job once the money her mom left runs out, and it was just really frustrating to read. Especially because nothing really gets resolved in terms of her mom leaving. There really isn’t anything resolved in terms of her dad either, but given her dad is in a halfway house, it makes sense things aren’t really resolved with him. But we never find out if her mom comes back, or even find out what’s going on with her mom while she’s gone.
And we don’t really get anything about why her parents left, and why Lucille is left to take care of her younger sister. We do get a little bit of backstory, but we’re sort of thrown into Lucy taking care of her sister with no explanation. I also didn’t understand what the point of them leaving was when their story wasn’t completely resolved.
Things are really unresolved at the end of the book, and there are so many things going on that everything is left fairly open-ended at the end of the book. I don’t mind when things are a little unresolved, but I felt like things were going in so many different directions that I wasn’t sure where the book was going, and things felt glossed over. I felt things weren’t dealt with very well, especially with how short the book is.
As for the romance…I didn’t feel it at all. For one thing, Digby cheated on his girlfriend, and she wasn’t really in the book until the end (I think- but I can’t really remember, but I’m pretty sure either her or someone close to her did show up at the end). I’m confused about why he even needed a girlfriend if she doesn’t even show up. He didn’t even seem interested in Lucille, and then they kiss and all of a sudden, he’s interested in her. I felt like there was no chemistry between them.
I felt for Lucille, and she was in a tough position, but she also didn’t really stand out to me as a character. She did seem to have some support from her neighbors and from Digby, and even a little from her best friend, before her best friend gave her the silent treatment for no apparent reason. I didn’t really feel their friendship, and that too was a little lackluster for me.
I didn’t like the attitude some people seemed to have that it was perfectly okay for a 17-year-old to take care of her sister, and not call anyone about it. It does seem like a small town, but still. Just because Lucille’s mom and aunt were in a similar situation when they were kids doesn’t mean it’s okay for Lucille to have to take on that role, even though Lucille is 17-going-on-18. It’s okay, because her mom went through something similar? No, it’s not okay. It just really bothered me that people knew and just randomly filled her kitchen up with food.
1 star. I didn’t like This Raging Light- I thought it was going in too many different directions that were never fully resolved, and the romance was pretty lackluster.