Received from NetGalley for review.
This Raging Light is a fairly run-of-the-mill young adult story – there’s love, loss, heartache, some shitty people/decisions, but an ultimately heart-warming (albeit a complete cop-out) ending.
It tells the story of Lucille and Wren, who are seventeen and nine respectively, and how they cope when they find themselves without their father – who has had a nervous breakdown – and their mother – who disappears on some kind of ‘finding yourself’ journey after her husband has his breakdown. Lucille ends up looking after Wren and trying to keep everything together as things fall apart around her – no parents, best friend troubles, boy troubles, trying to deal with the house and bills. It’s hard, and she struggles. All of this is obvious, though, which is what makesThis Raging Light so average – there’s nothing new going on even if it is a decent story.
For me, the characters are fairly predictable. You have Lu, who is struggling but lovely; a quirky best friend who spouts literary quotes; twin brother of said best friend who is actually a dirty cheat and not called out on it; various side characters who are quite nice but unremarkable – I think the best word to describe this book is probably unremarkable. Wren was brilliant to read about though, as were some of the side characters – I wish there had been a bit more development regarding some of the characters (especially the mother and father) but as the focus is so heavily on Lu and Wren they were a bit overlooked.
I’m annoyed about the ending more than anything at this point, but this is a spoiler-free zone so all I will say is if you want a nicely concluded book, go somewhere else. I wanted this book to be more than it was and maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Usually books of struggle and mental illness are my jam but as far as young adult fiction goes, this is just one of many that have failed to stand out, although that I did see through to the end. If you’re looking for an easy read that just touches on heavier subjects, you’ll probably enjoy this.
Read: January 15th 2016