Looking for a cutesy, romantic read with some shocking twists and turns to keep you on your toes? I have the book for you!
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publisher Date: May 29, 2018
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
CW: Abuse, mental illness, racism
*Disclaimer: I do not make a profit off of any books purchased from any retailer.
All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire Summary (Goodreads)
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 picked up this book for a couple of reasons:
1). It was free on Kindle Unlimited
2). I was looking for a cutesy, easy read as I took a short break from It.
What I found was far from cutesy. It definitely started out that way. Upon reading the first section, when Charlotte and Elliott spend their summer together, I was positive I was reading a very well written Young Adult romance novel. While yes, it ended up that way, it got SO much deeper.
Charlotte Calhoun and Elliott Youngblood had incredible character development throughout the book. I really, really loved Elliott’s character development. I loved how he started out as a “weird” kid but ended up being the quarterback of the football team, with the most popular girls fawning over him. Through this, though, I adored how he never lost sight of who he was and who he wanted: Charlotte.
As the book kept going, I constantly found myself wanting more. McGuire did a great job of keeping Charlotte’s life vague and mysterious enough to hold your attention. I literally read this book in a day because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen. The constant twists and turns took me by surprise but worked SO well.
The big mystery you’re left to figure out throughout this book is The Juniper. Charlotte has been helping her mom run the place for the two years since her dad died. She works 7 days a week, every minute she’s not in school. Poor girl doesn’t get a break. The Juniper has its regulars, and doesn’t often get new visitors. Charlotte knows who are her friends of these regulars, but she also knows who she needs to look out for. We read about her pushing her dresser and bed against the door every night so no one can come in. Charlotte talks about all the suitcases of guests that she finds in the basement. We know from the very beginning that Charlotte’s mom must be very, very sick, but are left wondering why she hasn’t gotten help.
But who is she scared of? What is she scared of? What is going on in The Juniper?
All of a sudden, Elliott is a prime suspect of a local tragedy. Just when Charlotte thinks she’s let her guard down enough to fully trust him, he’s being questioned by an investigator, who’s doing his best to frame the teen. Charlotte doesn’t give up on him, but she has secrets of her own that could bring their relationship to a devastating end.
So what happens?
Guess you’re going to have to read it yourself! I strongly, strongly urge you to go find this book. While it’s super suspenseful, it’s a fairly easy read. It deals with some heavy topics, like racism, mental illness, and abuse, but McGuire does a great job of not letting these weigh the book down.
This book received a 4/5 for one big reason: The character development of Charlotte’s teenage friends, Minka, Owen, and Tess, as well as a few other background characters. I almost didn’t see the point of their characters and their relationship to Charlotte. They could have been taken out, or never have been close to her, and the story would not have changed. McGuire did SO well with the character development of her main characters, so I was disappointed when these few didn’t really add up.
If you’re looking for a book that will surprise you on every page, pick up All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire. You will not regret it.
If you’ve read this book, leave me a comment down below with your thoughts and rating!
About Jamie McGuire (from her website)
Award-winning author Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She attended Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.
Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with the international bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel, Walking Disaster, debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Beautiful Oblivion, book one of the Maddox Brothers series, also topped the New York Times bestseller list. In 2015 and 2016, the following three Maddox Brothers books, Beautiful Redemption, Beautiful Sacrifice, and Beautiful Burn also topped the New York Times, as well as Beautiful series novellas, A Beautiful Wedding and Something Beautiful. The fifth Maddox Brothers Series novel, A Beautiful Funeral, debuted at #4 on the New York Times, also making appearances on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
Novels also written by Jamie McGuire include: apocalyptic thriller, Red Hill; the Providence series, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy; Apolonia, a dark sci-fi romance; and several novellas, including Red Hill companion novella Among Monsters, Happenstance: A Novella Series, and Providence trilogy novella Sins of the Innocent.
Jamie is the first indie author in history to strike a print deal with retail giant Wal-Mart. Her self-published novel, Beautiful Redemption hit Wal-Mart shelves in September, 2015. Her awards include 2014 UtopYA Best Dystopian Book of the Year for Red Hill, and iBooks’ 2016 Romance Novel of the Year for Beautiful Burn.
Jamie lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her children.
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