This Raging Light

5 CDs. 5:30 hrs. Recorded Books. Mar. 2016. $51.75. ISBN 9781490660141. digital download.
Gr 8 Up—Life is not easy for 17-year-old Lucille, especially after her mother leaves her and her nine-year-old sister, Wren, for two weeks. Everyone in town knows that Lucille's father has been institutionalized, but Lucille tries to keep her mother's absence a secret, especially when she does not return when promised. With the house falling apart and bills to pay, Lucille takes a job clearing tables after school; she leans on her best friend Eden for babysitting help and moral support, and soon Eden's twin brother, Digby, is helping, too. It's hard for Lucille to accept help, especially from Digby, since she is in love with him—and he has a serious girlfriend. Lucille soon learns that secrets have a way of coming out, that sometimes she has to trust and be open to love, and that she and Wren can rely on a community for help when things seem most hopeless. Sandy Rustin narrates so expressively, with such fear, hope, and youthful passion, that it is as if Lucille is speaking straight to listeners; she gives other characters' voices just enough variation to make conversations easy to understand. Although the story ends a bit abruptly and not all of the problems are resolved, listeners are left with the impression that Lucille will succeed and flourish.
VERDICT A strong female protagonist, a sizzling romance, and life-threatening intrigue will keep teens hanging on to every word. ["A good choice for savvy readers and book discussion groups; this title will invite comparisons to Cynthia Voigt's contemporary classic Homecoming": SLJ 11/15 review of the HMH book.]

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