This Raging Light (Hardcover)
HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544534292, 288pp.
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
For fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell comes a gorgeous debut novel about family, friends, and first love.
Lucille Bennett is pushed into adulthood after her mom decides to “take a break”…from parenting, from responsibility, from Lucille and her little sister, Wren. Left to cover for her absentee parents, Lucille thinks, “Wren and Lucille. Lucille and Wren. I will do whatever I have to. No one will pull us apart.”
Now is not the time for level-headed 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.
"A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise.”
—Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
“Lucille may not take down a beast or assassinate any super bads, but she’s what heroines look like and love like in real life.”
About the Author
Praise For This Raging Light…
“Her first-person narration is lyrical, akin to that of a Francesca Lia Block character, but there's an undercurrent of roughness in her voice… heartbreakingly hopeful, lyrically told..." —Kirkus
"Estelle Laure’s prose is utterly gorgeous, even as it lays out the story of a girl dealing with the failings of her parents, death, and her own insecurities." —BookRiot
“Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light might be YA, but it’s got plenty of grown-up appeal.” —entertainmentweekly.com
"Laure’s debut stands out for her keen understanding of the spectrum of human emotions, and her ability to put tough feelings into beautiful prose."
“In an assured debut, Laure gives Lucille a fierce stubbornness that keeps her going. . . The characters are well drawn, and Laure effectively depicts the adrenaline rush of love.” —Publishers Weekly
“This Raging Light is a funny, heartwrenching, and soulful read as Lucille develops her own personal family, bloodline or not. It's not one you'll soon forget.” —Bustle
“Lucille's fresh, first-person voice spills over with metaphor, poetically capturing her emotional landscape with force and fury, frantic love and absolute exhaustion.” —Shelf Awareness
“Laure’s debut is brilliant and not to be missed.” —RT Book Reviews
“Lucille may not take down a beast or assassinate any super bads, but she’s what heroines look like and love like in real life.” —Justine magazine
“[a] poetic, heartbreaking read that will resonate with teens.” —BookPage online
“The narrative rings authentic, especially as Lucille wrestles with romantic pangs. Thankfully, there’s enough wry humor to balance the worry and poignancy. Above all, you’ll love steadfast Lucille and keep caring about what comes next.” —Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Lucille is a steel-strong, deeply human heroine fighting against impossible odds.” —BNTEENblog
“Readers will be seduced by the love affair budding between Digby and Lucille as much as she is. The characters are believably flawed, but eminently likeable, leaving the reader with hope for humanity.” —Montana Public Radio
"Laure’s debut stands out for her keen understanding of the spectrum of human emotions, and her ability to put tough feelings into beautiful prose." —Horn Book
"Bursting with feeling, like a seventies pop song, Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light should be read at a feverish clip and then passed on to your favorite friend." —Campus Circle
“I loved this book. I was torn between wanting to devour it in one breathless read and needing to stop and savor each gorgeous turn of phrase. This is a remarkable debut." —Morgan Matson, author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Since You’ve Been Gone
"This Raging Light is a funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise sometimes." —Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and The Geography of You and Me
“Estelle Laure writes with power and lyricism—but more than that, she writes honestly from the heart. Definitely a writer to watch!” —A.M. Jenkins, Printz Honor winning author of Repossessed
"With This Raging Light, Estelle Laure establishes herself as a literary heavyweight. Laure’s characters mimic her writing, at once visceral and brave, unafraid to confront love in its every facet—surprising, surpassing, flawed. This book is a thick quilt in a cold room, and I want to wrap myself in it." —David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland
“[Laure] has a raw, authentic voice and a passion for storytelling.” —Matt de la Peña, Pura Belprée honoree and award-winning YA novelist of The Living and Mexican WhiteBoy
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. What does it mean to be a teenager like Lucille, forced to take on adult responsibilities as she’s coming into her own?
2. How do Lucille’s parents’ actions affect Lucille and Wren? Beyond the obvious negative effects, is there anything positive that comes from their circumstances?
3. Lucille’s job at Fred’s is more than just a paycheck to Lucille. What does she gain from her experience at her job?
4. At one point in the novel, Lucille asks the question: “Who is this boy I’ve known for most of always, and why is he everything?” Why is Digby so important to Lucille at this stage in her life?
5. How does Wren cope in the absence of a mother in this story?
6. How do you feel about Lucille’s actions in pursuing Digby in the novel?
7. What was your response to Digby’s infidelity?
8. How would you describe Lucille’s voice in the story? Did you find the first person present tense effective?
9. Discuss the role of Lucille and Wren’s neighbors in the second half of the story. How did Lucille’s response to their actions differ from Wren’s?
10. Eden doesn’t support Lucille’s crush on Digby. Why is that?
11. Lucille is a victim of circumstances outside of her control. How does she take control of her destiny by the end of the novel?