Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick (3 out of 5)

Another highly touted book in the spring catalog. This one has been published (hardcover) by Penguin on April 2nd. It is intense, intense, intense! Fitzpatrick’s writing is brilliant and dark. It will be great for book clubs, but the Jodi Picoult lovers would probably call it “too realistic”. It is not for the shiny, happy readers. It’s for the real people who will like a tough read.

Ilya comes over to the United States as an exchange student, while his older brother (and hero/mentor) Vladimir is in jail back in Berlozhniki (a refinery town on the arctic circle, a ramshackle town wrought with hardships), accused of murdering three girls who were friends with the brothers. Ilya just can’t seem to move past his brother, and he quickly lies to his host family that Vladimir has died. The family’s one daughter, Sadie, takes a shine to Ilya and tries to get him to open up to her, while sharing her secrets. An unlikely (Not really!) admiration society blooms between the two, and Sadie begins to help Ilya try to solve the murders and get his brother exonerated. While some might call that far-fetched for a plot given Ilya is in Louisiana and his brother across the world, the author reminds us how easy it would be, given today’s advances in technology. I had a hard time buying Ilya’s passion for the assignment, because he seems to slack off on it in light of his connection with Sadie. Yet the author convincingly demonstrates throughout the novel that he is a young man who worships his older brother and will stop at nothing to get him cleared and back at home with their mother. There’s also the character of Vladimir, a guy who is unapologetic about his burly manner, drug usage, and anger management issues, but who loves his family and wants the best for his ridiculously intelligent younger brother. You are definitely caught up in the brotherly bond. I was. And I think it saved the story. The Ilya/Sadie connection is really only window dressing to the brothers. I have to tell you, this book starts out SLOW, but it really kicked up about halfway through. I was on the verge of kicking it to the curb, because it felt like a modern day The Brothers Karamazov. This is definitely a deep, thought provoking work that is great for anyone who wants a book with a message. This one has a message of brotherly love. Well done, Fitzpatrick.

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~ by generationgbooks on May 31, 2019.

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