Book Review: This Raging Light, by Estelle Laure

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_this_raging_lightWhen Lucille Bennett’s mother leaves town to have ‘a break from everything’, Lucille and her sister Wren are left to fend for themselves. This is easier said than done – there are bills to pay, suspicious neighbours to avoid and grades to keep up at school.

Lucille gets a job at a Mexican restaurant run by the eccentric Fred, and her best friend Eden is happy to help take care of Wren. Even so, Lucille’s problems are piling up as fast as the lies she is forced to tell. People are starting to talk, and the Bennetts’ secrets are in danger of being discovered. Just when it seems things couldn’t get more complicated, Lucille finds herself falling in love with her best friend’s brother Digby. Could there be worse timing for something so wonderful to happen?

This book quickly proved itself to be much for than just another YA romance. This Raging Light is a story centred on themes of family and friendship, and I actually think it would have been just as good without the romance. Lucille’s relationships with her sister and her best friend are much more important to the story than her love for Digby.

I was impressed by how realistic Lucille’s character is; her story is very well-written. She’s a strong, hard-working protagonist who is the main force pushing the story forward – you’d be surprised how often the main characters of young adult literature aren’t like this. No helpless Bella Swan characters to be found in this book. I was also surprised by how maturely Lucille dealt with the situations both of her parents were in. Forgiveness is another theme that you don’t see enough of in young adult novels.

I recommend This Raging Light to any teen readers who are looking for a book that they will struggle to put down; the vivid characters are what make this one special. They’ll capture your attention and have you rooting for them from beginning to end.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon

This Raging Light
by Estelle Laure
Published by Orchard Books
ISBN 9781408340271

Book review: The Selection: By Keira Cass

This book is in bookstores now.

I was very hesitant about reading The Selection after sifting threw some overseas reviews prior to getting the book myself. I went in head first expecting to be disappointed with yet another over the top teen romance book, but to my surprise I was totally captivated and you would have struggled to tear the book from my grasp. There was never a right time to take a break and put the book down, constantly wanting to know what was beyond the next page and what was about to unfold in the country of Illea; I was on the edge of my seat shushing those talking amongst themselves in the same room, and managed to finish the book within five or six hours.

The Selection is a story set after World War 4 where Illea has changed immensely and is divided into castes, the “ones” being those of royalty and the “eights” being the homeless and less fortunate. The story follows the life of America Singer a “five” who is secretly dating Aspen from a lower caste then herself.

When the monarchy decides to hold a selection in order to find prince Maxon a bride, America is pushed by her mother and Aspen to apply for one of the thirty-five spaces, for a chance to become princess and a better life for her and her family. After thinking she would never be selected she is surprised to hear her name announced on TV as one of the chosen few, and is moved into the palace to compete against the other girls for Prince Maxon’s heart.

Thinking she could never fall in love with the prince, America is surprised to find herself wound up in the centre of a love triangle when Aspen becomes a palace guard and is stationed at her bedroom door for safety. What had me on the edge of my seat was when the rebels were introduced into the book. There are two lots of rebels – the Northerners and Southerners  – who try to invade the palace endangering the monarchy, the girls and everyone else residing there.

A very addictive book, that you just won’t be able to put down or stop visualising in your head. It constantly drags you in, making you want to read more and to know what happens next. This novel is packed with enough romance,drama and suspense without being over top, a great spin on Cinderella meets The Bachelor, I would be very excited to read any of the other books Kiera Cass has planned for the future.

I must add that the only disappointing part for me was the final page that lead me to realise this was the first installment of three books and I would have to wait until book two was released to once again sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation of whats to come next.

Reviewed by Jessica Moore.

The Selection
By Keira Cass
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 9780007466696