Wednesday 24 February 2016

Book Review: Under The Light; Laura Whitcomb.

I remember reading the first book in his duology and adoring it, but wondering what on Earth a sequel could possibly offer. The story had felt like it had reached a natural conclusion. I needn't have worried, as this was a wonderful second installment to the series!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Under The Light

AUTHOR: Laura Whitcomb
SERIES: Light (#2)
HMH Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 256
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Ghost Story

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Helen needed a body to be with her beloved. Jenny had to escape from hers before her spirit was broken. It was wicked, borrowing it, but love drives even the gentlest soul to desperate acts. And Helen, who has returned to help Jenny, finds herself trapped, haunting the girl she wished to save. Jenny and Billy's love story begins out-of-body and continues into the tumultuous realm of the living, where they are torn apart just as they begin to remember falling in love.

What I Liked:
  • Laura Whitcomb's writing is beyond beautiful. The lyrical, gentle tone is soothing to read and I just absolutely adore it! I wish more people read this series because I know so many people who would fall for and appreciate Whitcomb's writing as much as I did! It was my favourite thing about the first book in this series, 'A Certain Slant Of Light', and I think it was my favourite aspect of this book too. Whitcomb knows how to spark the imagination and at the same time her words are very deep, particularly concerning the afterlife.
  • I didn't think that the story could really go a whole lot further but I found that in the case of Jenny and Billy, I was completely wrong! Whitcomb of course had to address the issue of their memory gaps and what impact the actions of Helen and James would have on their lives. I loved watching them try to solve the mystery, and in the process, their complex relationship develop into a sweet little romance. Some of the unanswered questions from Book One are addressed too which is lovely and I loved the idea of them, now having reclaimed back their bodies, claiming back their lives too and particularly Jenny becoming a strong, resourceful young woman.
What I Disliked:
  • Despite the fact that I loved this book, I felt like Helen's inclusion was a little unnecessary. As much as I loved her in Book One, I felt like her story had really ended and there was no need for her to come back in this one to make sure things were okay. Especially as she didn't really have a huge impact on the story so to speak. Most of her parts involved a large number of flashbacks too, which took up a lot of story space that could have been used to progress the plot. I understand Whitcomb's desire to have Jenny and Helen interact but in the end, I think it took away from the story rather than adding to it.
Overall Conclusion:
I am very relieved to have enjoyed this book and despite my reservations about the need for a sequel, I'm so glad that Whitcomb decided to write one! It was a sensitive, hauntingly beautiful read and shone a whole new light on the lives of Billy and Jenny as well as developing them into something more than just lost souls. Helen's inclusion was a little disappointing as she didn't really contribute to the story, preferring instead to reflect on past events. While not necessary, I suppose she did manage to shine another interesting light on the afterlife and some of her interactions with Jenny were chilling and sad. Nevertheless, I would have preferred more book space dedicated to Billy and Jenny, and their surrounding family members.

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