Author: Julia Bell
Pages: 256 (Paperback)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: July 16, 2015
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
'Ten minutes to midnight!' Jonathan shouts over the sound of the blazing fire. Sparks rise into the sky and mingle with the stars. 'Only ten minutes!' Bevins says, falling down on his knees. 'So it begins.'
Rebekah has lived on the island her whole life, and it's only now that she's starting to wonder what she might experience outside her strict religious community. Alex has been sent to the island to escape her dark past, and through her eyes it's a dark and sinister place. Thrown together by chance, Rebekah and Alex strike up an unlikely friendship and it's together that they attempt to break free of their worlds and make a world of their own. But when a kiss between the girls is witnessed by an islander there is no escape they can make - the Rapture is coming for them all.
There was no way that I couldn’t not read The Dark Light. Rapture? Girls kissing? Weird island? Yes, please! However, I was expecting a Romance, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then this is not it. I was quite disappointed on that front, but I did really enjoy the story for what it was. Alex has just gotten into the biggest trouble of her life. She can either go to court and have her fate determined by the law, or she can agree to live at New Canaan for the summer. Rebekah was raised in this religious community and is preparing to be whisked away to Heaven, but then she meets Alex, and realizes that her life isn’t at all what it seems.
The Dark Light was actually quite frightening. Not in the Horror novel sense, but in the way these people go along with whatever Mr. Bevins says. He’s their leader and the one who is blessed with being able to hear the word of God and gives them the date and time of the Rapture. His behavior is quite frantic at times, and yet, the community listens to him. Other times, he’s very calm and reasonable and the things he says almost make perfect sense, which I think is even scarier. The New Canaan way of life seems peaceful, if a little backward, on the surface, but there’s an underlying terror there.
As for the romantic aspect, I did enjoy what little there was. The Dark Light is definitely focused on the suspense of the upcoming Rapture. Is it really coming? What will Bevins do in either scenario? I was furiously flipping pages to find out! But Alex and Rebekah do develop feelings for each other in all of this chaos. Alex is introduced to us as a lesbian, but Rebekah has no knowledge of anything in the ways of romantic love. She just knows that she’s drawn to Alex and wants to be with her. Of course, that’s unacceptable in this community and Bevins manages to twist it into something ugly. The ending is something that I totally did not see coming, and it will upset readers who are looking for a more Happily Ever After F/F story.
The Dark Light was great. I love these types of stories about people who are so removed from central society and the effect they have on those around them. It certainly kept me hooked from the moment Alex arrives at the island. It’s obvious that something is wrong there other than us just knowing that Bevins is a control freak rather than a prophet. I do wish there had been a happy ending, or at least a bittersweet one. As it is, it’s quite abrupt and tragic.