The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles
|The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Hard to summarise without spoiling, so I'll steal the blurb... complex, smart, raw, pure, sweet and shattering, this vividly unique voice explores invisible illness, modern threats, first love and the creative urge. That about covers it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
I will find the old Lux and when I do I will climb back inside her and sew myself into her skin so I never get lost again.
Lux went to a party. Then she woke up in hospital. And she can't remember what happened. Her worried parents hover. Doctors of the body do scans. Doctors of the mind conduct therapy sessions. But nothing works. And what Lux wants is to get back to school. She's sure that the answers will come if only she can do that. What Lux doesn't want is to go back to Singapore with her parents. There are rows about this. Big rows. Lux doesn't like to think about those but she does have an overwhelming feeling that she can't trust her parents.
School is Richdeane Arts School, a very expensive, very progressive private school which asks its wealthy and privileged students to pledge to art and let go. And let go they do, although perhaps not always quite in the way the school intended and with copious amounts of sex, drugs and music.
A compromise is found and Lux is allowed to return to Richdeane provided she sees therapist Dr B. But it's probationary: Lux and Dr B have only until the end of term to work through the trauma and uncover Lux's suppressed memories. Plagued by nightmares, migraines and a kind of synaesthesia that turns her nightmares red, can Lux find the truth in time?
The Taste of Blue Light is one of those books that is incredibly hard to review without spoiling. The blurb says complex, smart, raw, pure, sweet and shattering, this vividly unique voice explores invisible illness, modern threats, first love and the creative urge and truly, this about covers it. Lux has suffered a huge trauma which has affected her mental health in catastrophic ways. When she returns to school, nothing is quite the same. But what was that trauma? What could have happened to Lux that was so dreadful? Why does she suddenly distrust her parents with such intensity? Can Dr B help? Can her friends help? Can submerging herself into the creative urge help?
Lux is an unreliable narrator. At times she's even unsympathetic and I couldn't decide between spoiled rich kid and deeply traumatised adolescent. But then, neither can Lux, and that is the point. Ruffles is very clever with her character development based as it is on a period of mental instability and missing information. The supporting cast of friends, parents and professionals is as well drawn. And the writing is beautiful - lyrical at times and stark at others, without ever missing a beat.
Every now and again a YA novel comes along that defies your expectations and really isn't like anything - in either form or voice - that you've read before. The Taste of Blue Light is such a novel. It feels new and fresh and original and powerful. And so, of course, I recommend it.
If The Taste of Blue Light appeals, you might also want to look at This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees, a dark and unsettling novel featuring three characters interconnected by more than just a love triangle. Or there is Whisper to Me by Nick Lake - murder mystery, love story and exploration of mental ill health combined, it's is a heady, addictive, paralysing read. Or what about Naked by Kevin Brooks, an engrossing and intense look at London during the punk explosion in the 1970s. We say our obsession with image is something new, but is it?
You can read more book reviews or buy The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles at Amazon.com.
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