ARC Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

review         book

I'll Meet You Theretitle: This Raging Light
author: Estelle Laure
pages: 288
format: Paperback
isbn/asin: 978-1250049179
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 4/5 (from hated to loved) or 7.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.  Gritty family dramas with pretty words.
Lucille Bennett is pushed into adulthood after her mom decides to “take a break”…from parenting, from responsibility, from Lucille and her little sister, Wren. Left to cover for her absentee parents, Lucille thinks, “Wren and Lucille. Lucille and Wren. I will do whatever I have to. No one will pull us apart.” Now is not the time for level-headed 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.

in depth

  • This is a gorgeous, poetic triumph of a book, haunting and cutting and quietly magical.  Laure writes so beautifully that my heart ached, longed to possess the power to string together words like that.  She writes in an atmospheric way, packed with emotion, yet never too flowery or overwrought.  For writing like this, I can forgive many defects--although there aren't many.  It's what you'd expect from someone named Estelle Laure (seriously, major name jealousy here).  

  • This is a challenging, frustrating book.  Spoiler alert (from like, Page 2): Lucille's mom has left her children alone with no word of her whereabouts and no plan or money.  Lucille is terrified of losing her sister to social services, so she steps up and finds a way to pay the bills and keep the veneer of her life looking normal.  

  • If you already want to punch mom in the face, raise your hand.  (I'll tell you a secret: Both my hands are in the air.)  It's enraging (see what I did there?), what Lucille has to go through, and even more so when you think on the fact that plenty of real kids are going through this situation unseen, RIGHT NOW.  

  • Angerangerangerangeranger. 

  • You also have to forgive Lucille and Digby for being teenagers.  They don't necessarily make the best choices with respect to other people's feelings, and normally that makes my head go all 'splodey, but I tried to remind myself that (a) they're just kids and they're just people and they screw up sometimes and (b) Lucille is going through some tough-as-sh*t stuff and has earned herself a little leeway when it comes to thinking straight.  

  • Plus, so much subtle adorable swooniness, I can't even.  I thrill in teenage relationships that feel like actual teenage relationships.  It's a bit cheesy, yeah, but I'm a sucker for that.  

  • And you can still think they're being stupid/hurtful and understand and care for them.  Too often, I think adult readers hold teenage characters to very high standards.  

  • And friendship!  Lucille and her best friend Eden have a complicated heartfelt, nails-digging-into-your-arms relationship that sways from brilliant highs to deep dark lows, and both of them make terrible mistakes.  

  • And sisterhood!  The relationship between Lucille and Wren is so tender and sweet, a sisterly bond that doesn't weather in the face of pain and trials.  Wren = ball of quirky cuteness.  

  • The plot is complicated and there's a lot going on: Lucille's job, Wren trying to keep it together, Digby, Eden.  Mostly I found it realistic, but I thought the big "thing" at the end was a little lot overdramatic and unnecessary, hence (in part) the 4 rather than 5 stars.  It's like--really?  After all that?  

  • There is also a lot left unresolved.  I personally thought it was super fitting, because if everything had been neat and pat and tied up in a bow I would have clawed my eyes out in cynical disbelief--but if you're the kind of person who doesn't like loose ends, you have been warned.  

  • Overall, this is a book about real, screwed up people trying to fight through unfair circumstances and come out on the other side with their hearts intact.  It's raw and sometimes ugly and sometimes enraging and sometimes lovely, and it'll leave a mark if you let it.  

in a sentence

This Raging Light is a beautiful, deeply tumultuous story about about real, screwed up people trying to fight through unfair circumstances and come out on the other side with their hearts intact.


will i read this author again?  Yes, I really love her writing 
will i continue the series?  N/A 

Note: I received this copy in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten bookish things almost as good as books themselves

top ten tuesday                extras

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  

Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

Bonus delight: #Bookstagram! Mine is here, and go check out all the fantastic accounts! 

c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten

Bookish Jewelry 

I'm a sucker for book-related wearables of the shiny kind.  Partially because shiny, and partially because it's like a little secret that you share with the other bookwyrms who look at your subtle little earrings and nod.  Because, them too.


The internet makes talking to authors easy, but the best part is actually getting to meet them.  I've had such an amazing time geeking out with authors and making friends with other fans.  

Book Expo America 

It's like Disney World for readers.  Booths and booths full of books and bookish swag and publicists willing to geek out about books.  And panels!  And best of all, other readers and bloggers!  Seeing famous blog faces (and hanging out with them!) is half the fun.  Oh, and ARCs.  That's pretty cool too. 

Authorly Swag 

Another perk of the internet is that authors are way more in touch with their fans, and do fun promotional things like sending out character cards (V.E. Schwab) or maps (Susan Dennard) or hand-penned calligraphy (Jodi Meadows) or even fascinators (Stacey Lee).  Lovely things that I'll cherish for always.  

Twitter Chats 

Whether it's big like #ClanChat (from the Witchlanders) or small like #2016HPReread or growing like #SundayStreetTeam, chats are a great place to talk about the books you love with other people who love them.  And to make thousands of puns, of course. 

Special Editions 

While I hate when books get new covers in the middle of series, I love when they get new covers later on, as a special release.  See Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, even The Book Thief.  It's candy for the hoarder collector in me.  
Old Book Smell 

God, could it possibly get better?  That musty, papery scent is the most comforting smell since fresh laundry.  It does make me sneeze, but it's so very worth it.  (This one is delightful. Buy it from Frostbeard.etsy.com!) 
Movie Adaptations 

Maybe this is controversial, but I love seeing my favorite books getting made into movies.  Sometimes it's horrifically disappointing (c.f. the Ella Enchanted disaster) but other times it's as thrilling and emotional as the books, and just as memorable (Harry Potter, duh).   

Author Notes and Acknowledgements 

Does anyone else read these religiously?  I love the inside jokes, the behind-the-scenes information, the list of author buddies and beloved pets.  The notes are the best too, because it's like getting EXTRA BOOK with your book.  Plus, often recommendations for further reading (Marie Rutkowski is great at this).   

Maps and Illustrations 

Whether it's fantasy or historical, or even contemporary doodles, the art really brings the world to life for me.  The maps especially.  I wish I could have prints of all my favorite bookworld maps (Lord of the Rings, Truthwitch, Shadow and Bone, The Girl From Everywhere, Narnia) to hang on my walls.  This should be a thing.