Friday, December 4, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date is December 22, 2015.

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.

Okay, so if you ignore the fact that the romance is super annoying, what with the cheating and all, you may enjoy this book. 

First things first: Lucille and her sister, Wren, have horrible, horrible parents. This seems to be a common theme in YA literature, but that is kind of the point of the book so I guess we can forgive it. Their dad has kind of a mental breakdown and their mom just takes off a few weeks later. I was not sympathetic to the dad’s “mental break” at all, mainly because it turned out not to be so much of a mental illness situation. Lucille described their dad in flashbacks and we also see him later in the book. The dad is a selfish jerk who blamed their mom for choices he made in life and then one day, he becomes an abusive jerk and he uses that as an excuse to check out and abandon his family. I don’t even know what the mom’s excuse was. What kind of mother just leaves some cash on the counter and leaves her seventeen year old daughter and her ten year old daughter to fend for themselves? An awful mother, that’s who. This was another case of two parents who should never, ever, ever have had children. 

One thing I absolutely loved was the relationship between Lucille and Wren. I love books about sisters! Wren was adorable, especially the way she was obsessed with the Food Network. I am also obsessed with The Food Network but not because I want to be a chef or anything. It's manly because I am obsessed with food. Ha. Lucille was also extremely self-reliant and independent and I loved how determined she was to protect Wren and take care of her. This included getting a waitressing job so she could pay bills and buy food. Lucille did everything she could to make sure no one knew they were alone so that no one would take Wren away from her. There were some powerful bonding moments between the two girls and I kind of wished the book had just focused on their relationship and their parents' abandonment and nothing else. As it was, there was a lot of other stuff going on in this book that overwhelmed the sister dynamic. 

I really, really, REALLY wish the romance part had been left out. I cannot stress that enough. The romance did NOT need to be there. Lucille has a huge crush on her best friend Eden's twin brother, Digby. Digby happens to be in a very serious relationship with someone else. Okay, having a crush on someone who is in a relationship? It happens and that is fine. And with everything Lucille is going through, I can kind of understand why she can't really resist Digby. She is in a bad place, but what is Digby's excuse? I am fairly certain that he is only attracted to Lucille because she is vulnerable and there is that whole damsel in distressed thing. Lucille basically says that Digby barely gives her a second glance throughout her friendship with Eden, so what else could it be? You definitely get the impression throughout the book that this relationship is more than just a mistake in the heat of the moment and the author wants you to root for this couple. But I just couldn't do that. Not even a little bit. Every time they kissed, I just kept screaming HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND!!! I did scream that in my head, otherwise my husband would have thought I was nuts. I found myself skimming over the romance part because it just made me mad. 

I also wish Eden would have been a better friend. She was great in the beginning. She invited Lucille and Wren over for family dinners and she kept their secret about being alone. But then she just disappears. It was so weird and random. It didn't seem like they had fought or anything. Lucille was feeling overwhelmed so she snapped at both Lucille and Digby. Digby kept coming back, but Lucille stayed away. It was ridiculous and her reasons for staying away ended up not having anything to do with Lucille's snappishness. The reason for the distance was stupid, considering everything that Lucille was going through. I would have respected Eden more and thought she was a better friend had she just been upfront with Lucille about her feelings and her need for space. Instead, she just abandons Lucille when Lucille needs her most. Then there was this whole big plot point that happened towards the end that I felt was really unnecessary. I wish there had been a different climax that somehow actually fit with the rest of the issues going on. 

All in all, this was an okay book. The writing was beautiful and engaging and the relationship between the sisters was amazing. I just thought there were too many other issues. To make matters worse, there was not a lot of resolution to these issues at the end. There was way too much left up in the air.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.


  1. I feel like this is getting eh reviews. It is my next book up so I am wondering how I will see it. I am happy to see there is a great sister relationship at least! Great review!

    1. Thanks Grace! I am interested to see what you think of it. I swear, if it had been JUST about sisters, then I would have given it a higher rating. I hope you like it more than I did. :)

  2. Meh, cheating. I can't with that. Thank you for the warning.

    1. Lyn, I hear you completely. Cheating is one of those things that needs to be done REALLY well for me to like it. That was not the case here.