Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Publication date: Dec. 22, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Netgalley (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. 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. (

The good
Even though I don’t have any siblings myself, reading about sisters who are close always gets to me (in a good way!). Seventeen-year-old Lucille has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her dad went crazy and ran off. Then her mother decided to run off too. Now, Lucille has to pay the bills, take care of her little sister and keep a roof over their heads while not raising the suspicions of her school and neighbors. It’s a lot to handle but what keeps her going is her sister. Their relationship is the best part of the book as they band together to make the best of a crappy situation.

From the get-go, I couldn’t help but feel admiration for Lucille. She stepped up exactly when she needed to. I’m not saying every decision she made was right, but her intentions were always good. She basically just wanted to do the best she could for her little sister. Even if that meant working crazy hours to pay the bills or acting like a parent far sooner than she should have to. I’m not entirely sure how realistic it is that she was able to last as long as she did without any help but I was willing to suspend my disbelief because I wanted her to succeed.

(Major) Reservations
Between her equally crazy parents (if you ask me) and Lucille’s newfound responsibilities, I didn’t think the book needed or should have any more drama. To me, it just felt like a distraction from the heart of the story. I didn’t mind the idea of a romance but I personally thought there was something off about the one between her and Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. For one thing, he was in a long-term relationship forever and from what I understand, has known Lucille for just as long if not longer. There was no real chemistry between them either. It was literally like a switch went off and suddenly he was super into her. (She, on the other hand, always found him attractive but unattainable.) I just never felt as if we got to know him and understand why we should root for him to be with her. Then there’s the complication of this being Eden’s (Lucille’s best friend) brother! I get that it’s weird but the way Eden treated Lucille was harsh and rubbed me the wrong way. Again, this is bad timing all around but give the girl some slack! She’s got bigger problems. Which was ultimately my issue with this ancillary drama. THERE WERE BIGGER PROBLEMS.

Do I recommend?
It wasn’t for me and I can’t say I would personally recommend it but I will say this. When I considered putting down the book, I checked how much I had read and I was at 75% which completely shocked me. The writing was engaging enough that I flew through the book so if the storyline intrigues you, it might be worth giving a shot.


  1. It's interesting that you read this one so quickly, R! I think it's always cool to read about sisters, and seeing how you described the almost protective, parental relationship that Lucille has with hers makes me pretty curious about this book.

  2. This one was a real gut punch to read in the final third. I have to disagree with you about the drama though. I thought that the way Lucille dealt with the traumas in her life was extremely realistic and well-handled. The way things happened also felt authentic because in this high anxiety, traumatic situations everything is usually heightened and as the saying goes, it doesn't rain but it pours. I also liked that it was a quick read and I'm excited to see what Laure does next.


with love,