This book has been everywhere, and everyone has been excited to read it, including me. But now that I had the chance to, I just don’t see what the big deal about this one was. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad book (kind of mediocre, and not all that memorable), but it was just missing something that could have made it better. Personality, maybe. It reads like a hundred other YA books, and the writing style left something to be desired. I’m trying to be fair, so let me jump into it a little more in-depth.
Lucille’s mother and father are no longer together, due to something that her father did that she and her mother cannot forgive him for. Since then, it has been just Lucille, her nine year old sister, and their mother. Shortly after her father is gone, her mother decides that she needs a break, and she leaves, too. So now it’s just Lucille, left alone to take care of her nine year old sister, alone. Her mother sends them money for bills in the beginning, and promises she will be back soon, but soon the money stops coming, as do the letters, and soon there is no contact at all. So now it’s up to Lucille to keep up the front about her mother working long hours or being on a “little vacation” when the neighbors ask about it. Also, she is forced to get a job, make sure her sister does well in school, and keep the house in top shape (not to mention paying bills, buying groceries, etc.). She enlists her best friend, Eden, to help watch her sister, and while it works for a bit, eventually she cannot babysit anymore, so Eden’s twin brother, Digby, offers to help out. So she manages to be able to get to work now, knowing that her sister is fully cared for while she’s gone. Oh, did I mention, Lucille is completely in love with Digby, and has been for a long time? Digby has a girlfriend, though, so that can’t work out well for them.
This Raging Light is told from Lucille’s point of view, and while I was able to connect with her (kind of), I wasn’t really able to enjoy any other characters except her sister, Wren. Lucille’s best friend, Eden, was kind of like your “typical YA best friend.” She didn’t really add much to the story, other than the argument the two of them had which led to them not speaking for a good portion of the book. Digby was a cheater, and acted like cheating on his girlfriend wasn’t any kind of a big deal (which I also hated).
While I could see the whole scenario of a mother up and leaving her children like that actually happening, it’s a horrible thing to even think about. As a mom to two girls, the thought of being apart from them for even 30 minutes makes me sad, let alone weeks and months, with no phone calls or anything. That and with her father being gone, the two of them were really alone.
This Raging Light deals with some really dark issues, like domestic violence and abandonment, and it really isn’t an easy read. It was definitely a page-turner, and it made you want to find out what would happen next or if their mother will ever come back. I honestly didn’t care much if she and Digby got together, because I disliked him as soon as he had cheated on his girlfriend.
This isn’t a bad book by any means…I guess with all the hype I was just expecting more than it delivered.
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.