27.4.16

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.


rating         





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.



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