This Raging Light needs a little more raging and a lot more memorable characters. It’s a fun distraction from real life, but I won’t remember This Raging Light by the end of this week. Or maybe by the end of today.
SUMMARY: Seventeen-year old Lucille has a lot on her plate. Her father is incarcerated. Her mother left a few weeks ago, and she has not returned or called. Her house is falling apart. She is hopelessly in love with her best friend’s twin brother. She needs money, a job, food on the table. Now completely responsible for herself and her 9-year old sister Wren, Lucille tries desperately to hold it together and stay under the radar of Child Services until–she hopes–her mother returns home.
REVIEW: I have to write this review quickly because I know I won’t remember it in a couple of days. It’s one of those books I read and moderately enjoyed, but it is utterly forgettable. The characters are okay, but they are not special enough for my memory to hang onto. Even as I read, I forgot who characters like Janie, John, Jack, Elaine, and Melanie are. They aren’t major characters, but their names would pop up, and I’d think, “Who is Janie again?” I just finished the book an hour ago, and I had to think a minute just to remember the name of the girl who worked at the restaurant with Lucille (it’s Shane).
Is this a bad book? No. It’s okay, and though it took me a week, I did at least finish it. The story is alright, but it was way too easy to put down. To fall asleep while reading. To get distracted by Candy Crush or washing dishes or choosing what to wear tomorrow. That does not happen when I am “into” a book.
I really, really did not like one character. Digby. The breakfast cereal mascot. This boy has a very serious girlfriend, but he kisses and loves all over Lucille (not his girlfriend) throughout the book. All while keeping the girlfriend. Lucille talks about how Digby is so “good” and perfect, but I saw nothing “good” about him and a whole lot wrong with him. I kept hoping some other boy would come and sweep Lucille off her feet. Leave Digby in the dust. Too bad that never happened.
I will say that I can see this book being popular with John Green fans. While it does have romance (albeit, a yucky one), the focus is on Lucille’s situation, her relationship with her little sister, her parents’ abandonment, and another tragedy that happens about halfway through. There is a mystery as well, but it is super-easy to figure out. I like the title, too.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Ordinary. Not bad, but nothing special.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I have no plans to purchase this one unless my students specifically request it.
- Overall: 2/5
- Creativity: 3/5
- Characters: 2/5–a full point off for Digby alone; no memorable characters at all
- Engrossing: 2/5–I did finish though!
- Writing: 3/5
- Appeal to teens: 4/5–great for fans of John Green
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5
- Language: 6 sh**, 4 fu**, 11 damns
- Sexuality: mild; some kissing, boy and girl sleep in same bed, some mild touching (stomach), Lucille wears skimpy clothes for waitress job, talk of “sleeping together”
- Violence: mild; Lucille’s father tried to kill her mother in recent past
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild; brief mentions of beer and wine