Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Monday, November 16, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light
by Estelle Laure

To be published by HMH
on December 22, 2015

Source: eARC for review from Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My take:  I can usually tell if a book is for me after the first couple chapters, and This Raging Light had me worried from the get-go. I finished it, but my opinion didn't change. Here's the lowdown.

For me as a reader, this book was voice-y ... in the wrong kind of way. Years ago, I went to a lecture given by a very well-known lifestyle blogger and she said something that has stuck with me: a strong voice both attracts and repels. Voice-y books evoke those kinds of strong reactions in me. If a book's narrative voice feels authentic, I'm in love, and if not, reading that book feels like hearing nails on a chalkboard inside my head for 300 pages. I appreciate poetic writing, but in this case it just didn't resonate with me. Also, I didn't think Lucille's voice sounded anything like a real teenager. She would say things ("I made my whole self very still") that sounded more to me like something a small child would say. There were other characters whose dialogue just about drove me up all four walls. To me, quirk is like salt: it's fantastic until there's too much of it, and then everything is unpalatable.

I thought there was way too much plot. Lucille and her younger sister Wren have family trouble, and I had a lot of sympathy for them over that. But then there's a complicated romance. And friendship issues. And a mystery. Finally, there was a dramatic accident that had nothing to do with anything else.  At one point, one of the characters runs down all the stuff that's been happening and then says, "I have had enough." Me: slow clap.

This is my definition of a "ugh" romance. Not only does the main character fall in love with the twin brother of her best friend, the guy also has a very serious girlfriend. Ugh - why? Female characters, is it so much to ask that you find a teenage guy who is single and available? The romantic scenes between Lucille and Digby also struck me as awkward and cringe-y. Maybe that was intentional, but I found those parts hard to read.

There was an unresolved ending. After all that plot, almost none of it was resolved. Sigh.

Still, I can see on Goodreads that people are having very different reactions to this one, some extremely positive. So don't take my word for it -- if this sounds like something you'd like, give it a try! And if you read this and liked it, please give your take in comments!

18 comments:

  1. "my whole self"? as opposed to part of your self? To me, that statement does not even make sense. You are right, the voice of this character seems very aggressive...and in a not-so-pleasant way.

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    1. To me it didn't sound aggressive, but like something a little kid would say. There were many things I admired about Lucille - her devotion to her sister, for instance - but being in her head for 288 pages nearly drove me crazy.

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  2. I do not like the sound of the narrator being well... so unrealistic. and the romance? that will definitely turn me off. I do not like my books with romance like that (and I'm really choosy when it comes to romance, ugh).

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

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    1. It annoyed me when the cheating was described as "messy inconvenient love." Uh, yeah, I'm pretty sure the guy's girlfriend finds you pretty inconvenient, Lucille!

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  3. Aw, I'm sad that you didn't get to enjoy this one! But yeah, your points make sense. Great review! :)

    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG
    Most recent posts: Review + Giveaway: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart || Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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    1. Well, others have felt differently.
      And I see from your sig line that you are offering a giveaway of a great book so I encourage everyone to go enter!

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  4. I will take your word for it. :) I'll pass on this one. There are too many other books in the world. I hadn't thought of a book having too much plot. I can't stand when there isn't enough plot, but, yeah, I could see how too much wouldn't work either. And I agree, voice is key! I need a good narrator.

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    1. Well, maybe the optimum amount of plot is a personal preference, but I think this book took what if seemed to be trying to do (emphasize that life is often hard and messy) and just pound it home with what, to me, was a lack of subtlety...

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  5. Oh no unresolved ending.... And I hate it when the love interest already has a gf. The almost certainty of cheating puts me off so I will probably skip this one. Thanks for the warning Jen :D

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    1. I'm not always unhappy with unresolved endings, but in this case there was a lot left unresolved.

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  6. is it not awkward to fall in love with the twin brother of your best friend anyway? o.0

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    1. Yes, and the best friend is (understandably) pissed about it. I'm all for throwing difficulties at your characters and letting them make mistakes, but I just wasn't a fan of the romance or how it was handled.

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  7. I have this to read soon. Not going to lie I'm a bit nervous now mostly about an unresolved ending. That usually kills it for me but we will see! Great review!

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  8. Well, this definitely doesn't sound like the book for me! I, for one, am almost always repelled by flowery, unrealistic prose. Also, that romance? Ick. No thank you. D: Sorry you didn't like this more, Jen!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

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  9. Ugh, now I am not super excited about this one. I have the ARC and will be reading it in the next month. It doesn't sound like I will like it very much, but we will see. Great review.

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  10. Hmm, I'm not a big reader of contemporary YA, but when I do - these are some of the elements that are not my favorites. I can definitely understand your frustration on several factors, Jen!
    Thanks for the honest review though :)

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  11. This book is not for me. That is all I have to say about that. Thanks for the review, Jen!

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  12. this sounds like a mess. I am sorry to hear it wasn't the book for you. I have a hard time with romances that just don't seem to fit or flow or make sense. Especially when its a romance centered plot.

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