REVIEW: The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Length: 352 pages

Release date: 7 September 2017

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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.

“Vanilla is an insult to some people, but some days I would give up every flavour in my body just to be vanilla.”

Let me tell you about a book I just read.

It’s been described as “if Sylvia Plath wrote a novel for young adults.” That intrigued me. That grabbed my attention. And it also set me up for a whole load of disappointment, because who are we kidding, that’s a pretty high bar. Let me tell you that the praise isn’t misplaced.

The Taste of Blue Light has got a healthy dose of Plath in it–raw, unrefined emotion.

But of course it’s got a lot more. It has, most importantly, the 21st century. No longer are we in the 50s where Sylvia Plath rightly felt powerless, the time when The Applicant and Mushrooms could speak simply of women and hit their mark that way. Sure, Plath poetry has aged well. It’s as evocative as when she wrote it. But Lux, thankfully, is not Sylvia Plath.

The yearning, the imagery, the confessionalist tone is all there, but Lux is still an 18-year-old girl with an entire life ahead of her. You want her to be happy. You want her to conquer her demons. You want her story to end in a different way than the one you’re familiar with, the one that ends with a tragically young poet taking her own life in carbon monoxide fumes. I won’t tell you whether you get it or not, but that’s the thing about this book. I don’t think it’s meant to be grasped the first or second reading, or even the tenth. There’s always more.

You’ll want to reread it (unless you hated it the first go, then I can’t fault you for passing). Not just because memory’s a tricky thing, even though it is, but also because there’s so much to miss at first and pick up the next time round. This may not be the most exciting book you’ve ever read, but I think it’s very well-written. Lux will try your patience. She’ll be entitled and self-absorbed and spoiled, and she knows it, and you may hate her. Stick with her. She has a story to tell, and if it gets too irritating, well, it’s only fiction.

I hate to be so cryptic, but there’s not much I can say about The Taste of Blue Light without spoiling it. Discover it for yourself–each reveal, each new layer, each piece of the puzzle. Lux’s story is broken and beautiful, if only you give it time to unfold.

*Thanks to Hodder Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing a review copy of this book! All opinions represented remain my own.*

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