Title: Under the Light (Light #2)
Author: Laura Whitcomb
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Under the Light is the story of two girls: Helen, a spirit who inhabited a body and regretted the consequences of her actions, and Jenny, the girl who doesn’t remember what happened during the time that she was gone.
Going into this story, I was pretty anxious. A Certain Slant of Light was one of my favorite reads in recent memory, a slow, sad ghost story with a literary style and questionable ethics. (I felt so strongly about the book, I even gave away a copy on Nova Ren Suma’s blog recently!) Helen’s choices left Jenny in an unimaginably difficult situation, however, and I wasn’t sure whether the author could convince me that this wrong could be righted without losing the integrity of the first book.
I’m happy to say that I needn’t have worried. This sequel is astonishingly complete and wholly satisfying in how it resolves both Jenny and Helen’s journeys, and in the way it gives us a truly transportive experience in Jenny and Billy’s tentative relationship. I wasn’t sure I would be swayed by a pairing that started under such unusual circumstances, but the yearning, uncertain romance made me thrill with their connection and wish fervently for their happiness.
I don’t want to say too much about the specifics of this story, because the less you know about it, the better. But Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb is full of love and beauty, as well as a deep and tender spiritualism that outshines even its predecessor. The writing is the kind that I live and breathe for–it takes you out of your body because it’s so utterly gorgeous.
The night was deep, the stars had risen, a faint glow defined every blade of grass. Wasn’t it strange that the stars sparkled in his eyes even though he would not cast an image in a mirror himself?
This two-book series isn’t for everyone, because while the stories are short, they are densely fitted with words and mature themes. But if you’re someone who appreciates literary YA, I’d strongly recommend this series. Just know you’ll need to keep an open mind…but also know that it may lift your heart and imagination to places that you would never have expected.
5 shining stars. Love love love love love.
This review also appears on GoodReads. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Be sure to stay tuned for our interview with author Laura Whitcomb, which will appear on the blog later this month!