Synopsis: The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town. Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart. Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.
Review: This book deserves to be hyped up. All the Little Lights is one of the first dozen books I read- and to my ‘books I’ve read’ library, is a classic. I literally read this once a week – not the whole book obviously but perhaps a couple of paragraphs or a chapter. I can actually quote some of this book by heart. Apparently this is a coming of age book however I think it veers more towards Young Adult side. The plot line is amazing and the plot twist at the end!! I’m telling you now, this book is a hidden gem.
This story is about Catherine and Elliot. They are teenagers who briefly met whilst they were 15 for a summer however Elliot abruptly left while Catherine’s father was being taken by an ambulance. This wasn’t Elliot’ fault rather his mother forced him. Catherine was unaware of this and believed Elliot left because he could not handle her. When Elliot returns to Oak Creek (the town) her joins senior year with Catherine. Catherine hasn’t forgiven him yet for abandoning her. During this time when they are reconciling, Elliot and Catherine are being questioned for the murder of Catherine’s bully.
Elliot is an aspiring photographer and Quarterback. Elliot has been in love with Catherine since they were small even before they met for the first time whist they were 15. Catherine works at her mother’s Bed and Breakfast which is also her home. Catherine’s mother is a widow whilst Elliot’s mother is escaping an abusive relationship. Both Catherine’s and Elliot’s family problems mean that they confide in each other.
Elliot is basically a perfect boyfriend. He is kind and empathetic to Catherines situations. He may have anger issues however this only becomes a problem if people are rude to Catherine otherwise he can control himself. Elliot acts wise beyond his years and Catherine also has to deal with problem most 18 year olds don’t. Catherine is struggling to make ends meet at the B&B. Her grieving mother oftenforgets to buy food or give money for food so catherine has to rely on herself. Catherine also serves the guests and basically runs it herself. Whilst Catherine is a social outcast and is bullied (and also has no friends), Elliot is incredibly popular due to his Quarterback status. When Elliot is a main suspect of the case of a missing student and Catherine has a secret she is desperate to keep from Elliot, their relationship becomes even more complicated.
The plot of this story was complex enough that it wasn’t boring or predictable and also wasn’t too hard to follow. The point of view that this is written at alternates between Catherine and Elliot. There are several elements to the story that adds to it which I think is attempted often but just convolutes the story however Jamie McGuire has executed it perfectly. The whole books keeps you guessing about Catherines secret and other things. The ending was so unexpected, I feel as though if you were clever enough you could piece together some things in the book and you could guess the ending but it is highly unlikely. I especially loved Elliot’s character but I sometimes found Catherine to be irritating however when you remember everything she has been though, it is understandable.
Overall, I love this book enough that I have labelled it my All Time Number One. I literally had to stop myself from reading it in one sitting otherwise I wouldn’t have slept the night I picked it up. I don’t really know if there should be a sequel to this book as it ties off nicely at the end but I do want to know what happened to Tess (Yes, I’ve read it so many times that I realised that Tess wasn’t really given an ending. If you’ve finished it you can see on pages 302 and 303 her name isn’t mentioned.) I would definitely recommend this book.
Also as a present to myself I bought ‘The Wrath and The Dawn’ Series by Renée Ahdieh so be prepared for a review of that.