Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
"A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise.”—Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight 
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.
MY TAKE:
I read an excerpt of this book on  Buzz Books and I thought it might be interesting.

In This Raging Light, Lucille is left to take care of her sister Wren after their father had a breakdown and their mother bails on them. In the midst of trying to cope with suddenly being the sole provider, she finds herself getting closer and closer with her best friend's brother.

The story of Lucille and Wren was both sad and beautiful to me. Siblings raising siblings isn't something new, but you don't see a lot of YA books that deal with this kind of thing. This book was able to paint a picture that, while heartbreaking, was also hopeful. Both sisters are doing what they can to make things work, and Lucille picked up the slack without crying about how unfair it was for her to be taking on this role. Her parents are self-centered and immature, and I thought it would be left at that, but at least their dad did try to redeem himself somewhat. I was more pleased with the people who helped the girls along the way. Everyone needs people who will look out for them, and Lucille and Wren had them in abundance.

I liked most of the characters here, except for Lucille and Wren's mom and Digby, surprisingly, but only during the second half of the book. Lucille and Wren's mom was just selfish. There is no excuse for leaving your kids like that without making arrangements for their care. Making your eldest child take on that kind of responsibility (getting a job, running the household, taking care of her sister, etc.) because you need to do I don't even know what anymore, and not even bothering to call and make sure everything was okay or trying to get someone to look in on them? Wow.

As for the romance, well, sometimes, the whole guy-has-a-girlfriend-but-leaves-her-for-the-MC thing works for me, and sometimes it doesn't. This is one of those times that it didn't. I think it was because Digby couldn't seem to decide what he wanted, so he cheated, which is a big NO-NO in my book. Also, Lucille. Now, outside of the romance stuff, I liked Lucille. However, I didn't like her attitude to the whole thing with Digby. She knew he had a girlfriend, and yet, except for one scene, I didn't get the sense that she felt bad that she was stealing away this guy. To her, whatever was going on was between her and Digby. There was also that scene between Elaine and Lucille that left me a bit cold. There's something Filipinos tend to say when we read/hear about stories similar to this scene. "Kung sino pa yung kabit, siya pa yung matapang." Roughly translated, it means, "Funny how the mistress is the one who acts fiercer or like she's the one who's in the right." This scene kinda made me wish that the whole romance between Digby and Lucille hadn't gone beyond flirtation until after Digby decides to break up with Elaine.

Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC,

THE GOOD:

  1. Lucille and Wren have a realistic relationship.
  2. Lucille and Wren's situation is something that happens in real life but doesn't get a lot of representation in YA.
  3. The secondary characters are interesting characters in their own right.

THE BAD:

  1.  That scene between Elaine and Lucille left me feeling angry at Lucille.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like YA books that deal with heavier issues.
  2. You like strong characters.
  3. You like stories that feel realistic. 

RATING:
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SOUNDS INTERESTING?
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