Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town. Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart. Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.
I'll be honest, I was pretty excited to read a new Jamie McGuire book, and was also a little apprehensive to see what she did with a young adult novel. I'd read Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster ages ago and liked them a lot--and the blurb for this one sounded really intriguing. Family secrets, small towns, starcrossed/second chance romance. It was right up my alley.
But, y'all, it really isn't all that intriguing. I liked the main characters a lot, and was pulled in initially by the family drama and will-they-or-won't-they romance of Catherine and Elliot (just kidding, it's always they will), but I really felt like I was slogging through it even before the halfway mark.
And, yes, there is suspense and "devastating secrets," and a huge twist at the end...but 1) it's at least a little problematic and 2) the rest of the book is still pretty dull. I ultimately couldn't connect to the characters, or their romance, and I felt pretty icky about how mental illness is handled in this book. Plus, it's long as hell.
Should you read it? I really thought hard about DNFing this one, and maybe I should have. I definitely think you should just probably not pick it up to begin with.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Published May 29, 2018 by Montlake Romance