This Little Light by Lori Lansens

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Penguin Random House Canada
About the Book:
Taking place over 48 hours in the year 2023, this is the story of Rory Ann Miller, on the run with her best friend because they are accused of bombing their posh Californian high school during an American Virtue Ball. There's a bounty on their heads, and a social media storm of trolls flying around them, not to mention a posse of law enforcement, attack helicopters and drones trying to track them down. Rory's mom, a social activist and lawyer, has been arrested and implicated in her daughter's "crimes" whereas her dad (who betrayed his wife and daughter in a nasty divorce) is cooperating with the authorities. The story exists in a universe of gated communities, born-again Christians, Probationary Citizens (once known as "Dreamers"), re-criminalized abortion and birth control, teenage virginity oaths and something called the Red Market, which is either a Conservative bogey-man created to further polarize the "base" or a criminal network making money from selling unwanted babies to whomever wants them and fetal tissue to cosmetics and drug companies. Rory is cynical and scared, furious and scathing, betrayed and looking for something or someone to trust. What she has to say about the dads and bosses and politicians lining up to keep women in their place, and about the ways women collaborate in their own undermining, is fierce, and funny, and sad, and true.

People believe what they want to believe,
plug their ears with their fingers and sing lalala when the other side talks.
Lori Lansens is an incredible storyteller. I savored every word and felt I was with the characters. A riveting coming-of-age story, this book examines the ties of loyalty, family, love, and self-awareness. Lansens has crafted multi-layered, wonderfully flawed characters and a story-line that is both scary yet all too possible. We can all see ourselves in Rory Ann Miller, searching for answers as she tries to reconcile what she feels with what she knows to be true.

Some people were born on third base and some people were born outside the ballpark, and the journey to home plate ain’t the same for all. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone to, like, find a way to get everybody in the game?
This emotional, thought-provoking read had me questioning everything at every turn. I don't know what I would have done, my thoughts were all over the place. Lansens builds strong, young, female characters and there is enough ambiguity within each of them to prevent them from becoming caricatures; everyone holds various qualities within them, none being wholly benign or malevolent.

People need to be with people they can trust. Families they can rely on. Have husbands who don’t cheat. Father figures who don’t abuse. People need to live in countries with leaders who are honest. With roofs over their heads and clean water to drink.
This book could have gone in the direction of horror fiction. Certainly filtered through the lens of contemporary thought, some of the occurrences in the story would have very ugly labels attached to them. However, Rory does not see herself as a victim, she is simply on a quest. Lori Lansens has done a really tremendous job of creating a world that is true to its time and place, without judgment or moralizing, and allowing events to play out. This story feels so real, it totally could have happened. I loved everything about this novel, and the ending was spot on. I highly recommend this story.

Thank you NetGalley, Lori Lansens and Penguin Random House Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.

#ThisLittleLight #NetGalley


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