Number of pages: 352
Date of Publication: 8th February 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
An incandescent, soul-searching story about a broken young woman’s search for a truth buried so deep it threatens to consume her, body and mind.
These are the things Lux knows:
She is an artist.
She is lucky.
She is broken.
These are the things she doesn’t know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red.
Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.
If her dreams don’t swallow her first.
The Taste of Blue Light is one of those books that I’d heard nothing about and I’d seen little to no chatter about it online. The thing is, this is a book that deals with the topic of PTSD, it is a book whose author will be at YALC (2018), and I don’t get how it has managed to slip under the radar compared to a lot of other books. Knowing what the book blogging community is like with books on tackling mental health, it’s surprising. However, next to the mental health representation, it has a very intriguing mystery that will keep you on your toes.
I’ve been a little hit and miss in the past with YA Contemporaries that have a mystery as part of their plot, but this one blew me away because I didn’t expect the development and journey it was going to take me on. Often I can can predict the outcome, but this time, I did not see it coming. What also surprised me is how realistic the plot was to current events and the world we live in. It just brought the story to a new level and I really appreciated Lydia Ruffles exploring what a lot of people deal with on a day to day basis.
Speaking of plot, this book is very plot driven. Obviously it follows Lux, our main character who is at the centre of the story, but it is written in such a way that you are motivated to unravel the plot rather than delve into the lives of characters. It was slow going at first whilst I figured out my place in Lux’s head but it was worth it for the writing and the mystery. Also, the plot and the twists felt well calculated, planned and weaved in at the right moments. In the end it made for a well-written story and I think it is some of the best writing I’ve seen in a YA Contemporary for a while.
Saying that, I did care for Lux – it’s hard not to when you are always in her head and looking at the world through her eyes. When details unraveled, I personally needed the reassurance that she would understand what was happening to her. I needed to know she was getting the right help. In that respect, I felt closer to her best friend Mei. She wasn’t always clear on how to show it, but her determination to support Lux was fabulous and empowering. It was also relatable. Alongside that, she wasn’t afraid to say how difficult it was for her too. I loved that. It felt real, truthful and it certainly defined a ‘strong friendship.’
Another aspect I liked was the setting. Set primarily at Lux’s school Richdeane, a school founded for the arts and creativity, it allowed for greater expression and freedom to explore their personalities and life in general. As they all have a black dress code for gatherings, it made me more acutely aware how we all use colour as a means of expression and how certain colours evoke different feelings. It gave another layer to the story and to Lux’s character as she tried to work out what was happening.
At the end of the day, this book was a refreshing read, and one I’m certain I’ll be rereading at some point, if not to see if I can pick up any foreshadowing but to remind myself how difficult it is for people to move on from trauma. I did have a few niggles with the pacing in places but for the majority of the time, it worked and felt right.
All I can say is, thank goodness for YALC because I don’t think it is a book I would have actively picked up otherwise. For me, it is definitely a hidden gem!
Have you read The Taste of Blue Light?
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!