What usually comes to mind when you think of the lights going out? Most likely some kind of horror movie, where bad things happen.
Whelp, When The Light Goes Out, bad things continue happening to young Ami. High schoolers stuck in the middle of an evacuation with no parents sounds like a recipe for disaster. To be fair, it wasn’t all their fault.
The narrative at the beginning is deceptive: it opens like a Young Adult would. With characters introduced and conflict established, the tone takes a hard left. An unexpected hard left. Readers feel the same sense of urgency as Ami. They start to panic with her. Word choice and sentence structure set the pace well. The plot makes appropriate twists and turns. And the plot, as a whole, wasn’t an industry standard. I kind of liked that.
What I liked most about the characters was that they were real. They weren’t perfect do-gooders with a penchant for saving the world. They’re flawed: they drink, smoke, do drugs, and break the law. Yet they’re not the antagonists. Nor are they “bad apples.” All were real people, not boring cutouts. All of them feel like different people. The series of events that occurs does wonderful things for their character development. While they weren’t always getting along, their disagreements weren’t over-the-top. They served as learning experiences, and the writing acknowledges that. The narration did well to show and not tell the story.
Character descriptions I felt lacked, but scenery was perfect for the writing style. So were actions. I little issue picturing what was going on at a given time. For the most part, I felt as though character had realistic reactions to all their mishaps. There was no “sudden superhuman strength” to get them out of jams.
Let me tell you that I enjoyed the romantic subplot in this one. Shocking, I know. I’m such a stickler when it comes to romance. It didn’t follow the standard formula, which was fabulous. Especially since writers have a tendency to use a toxic formula for teen romance. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to say much more. But. This was a well-done subplot.
A few noticeable errors did pop up from time to time. Most of the writing was pretty solid otherwise.
When The Light Goes Out is a nice read. Slow to start, but once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. It will actually keep you turning the page.
Buy it here!