October 7, 2014.
The Light of Day is a New Adult novel, and within that increasingly popular genre, I would give it four stars. It is not the kind of book I usually review, so I won’t rate it by my usual scale (in which case, it would probably be more like three stars). If you enjoy the genre, you could do a lot worse than this novel, which is part of the “Beyond the Horizon” series – although I only read this one, and it stands alone.
That being said, I did feel that this novel contained realistic characters responding to each other in fairly real ways. This is what NA Lit should be like – real and raw, not sanitized for younger readers. While the premise of the novel is a little shaky – boy and girl meet at wedding with heavy emotional baggage and decide that the only way forward is to move to Portland together? – it does explore some serious issues in a very realistic way. Themes include the struggle with addiction and the pain of dealing with a family member’s dementia, and these themes are explored thoughtfully – not just as a tool to create more drama and angst between romantic partners.
Well, there is some angst – but it doesn’t stem from a place of disrespect or abuse of themselves or each other. The main characters are real people who actually care about each other, with meaningful dialogue and scenes spent together to prove it – they don’t just fall obsessively in love overnight. There is a strong and steady build up to their relationship (starting with an even stronger friendship) that makes their love believable.
Cora has been through a lot, but she is not encouraged to be weak – she works hard to make herself stronger before relying on anyone else. Jake is troubled too, but not in a way that is self-destructive just to create melodrama for his character. The dialogue between the two is well-written, with a great mix of witty banter and emotional moments to make it feel real. There were flaws in the plot, especially at the start, but the story hits its stride once Jake and Cora begin to interact authentically. Ultimately, it is a character-driven novel in which the plot is secondary to the development of Cora and Jake, who could easily act as role models for the NA Lit of the future.
I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.