Monday, March 7, 2016

YA Contemporary Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Format:  Hardcover
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 288
Published:  December 22nd 2015

Source:  Review Copy provided by publisher as a part of a  Giveaway from Rock Star Book Tours
Genre:  YA Contemporary 

Opening Lines:  "Mom was supposed to come home yesterday after her two-week vacation.  Fourteen days.  Said she needed a break from everything (See also: Us) and that she would be back before the first day of school."  

 This Raging Light begins fourteen days after Lucille's mother has left her in charge of her little sister, Wren.  Their mother has decided that she needs a "break from parenting" and leaves them with a hundred dollar bill and no way to contact her.  Their Dad is also absent because he was taken into custody for attacking their mother, and has refused all contact with the family since.  His lack of interest is part of the reason that Lucille's mother leaves.  It isn't until much later in the story that we find out he is in a mental institution, where he is trying to "find himself" and hopefully reconnect with them.   These are two of the most dysfunctional parents I think I've ever seen.  I must commend Lucille for standing in for her mother, she pays the bills, cooks the meals, and provides emotional support to her sister.  All while trying to finish high school and  hiding that their mother abandoned them from the school, neighbors and even her friends parents.  This is not a story about Lucille trying to play house, but one that shows her desperation to keep her and her sister together. Their story is very heart-wrenching, especially when money starts to run out and Wren exhibits problems at school leading her teacher to request counseling and a meeting with their mother.  Somehow, Lucille seems to be able to figure out a solution.   Lucille isn't completely left alone, she does have her best friend Eden, and Eden's twin brother Digby helping her out.   They help with babysitting of Wren while Lucille is working and are her emotional comfort, with Digby turning into her romantic interest part way through the book.  This is where the story started to loose me a little bit.  I really liked Eden and felt Lucille was being unfair toward her in getting mad when Eden said she couldn't babysit Wren anymore.  Eden was losing time away from her passion, ballet, to watch Wren and it didn't seem like Lucille appreciated her. Having the story told from Lucille's point of view also made it difficult to get behind her and Digby's relationship.  It's pretty obvious how she feels about him, "we're steak and mashed potatoes with a side of gravy, and chocolate molten lava cake with whipped cream and raspberry sauce. We are decadent," but not so with Digby, who has a girlfriend.  And I couldn't get behind all of their sneaking around behind his girlfriends back, I just wanted there to be a more clear cut decision on their relationship.  And that ending, still so many unresolved things, which I'm guessing will be resolved in the next book These Mighty Forces.   I guess what I'm saying is that I liked This Raging Light, but if Lucille's and Digby's relationship would have been better defined and the ending would have not ended unresolved, I could have loved this so much more.  


  1. I am glad this one was a good read, but the ending sounds a little tough. I just read another book that's ending left me with more questions and I didn't feel satisfied. I agree with you that the answers will probably come in the next book (in the book I read too)- but I do prefer for each book in a series to come to a clear ending. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think part of it may have also been that somehow I had it in my mind that it was a standalone. I'll still check out These Mighty Forces.