Under the Light (Light #2) by Laura Whitcomb
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published: May 14th, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Helen needed a body to be with her beloved and Jenny needed to escape from hers before her spirit was broken. It was wicked, borrowing it, but love drives even the gentlest soul to desperate acts.
When Jenny returns to her body, she finds that someone has been living her life while she was away. She doesn’t remember being Billy’s lover or defying her family. But now she is faced with the consequences. And Helen, who has returned to warn Jenny—to help her—finds herself trapped, haunting the girl she wished to save.
In this captivating companion novel to A Certain Slant of Light, the love story between Jenny and Billy begins out-of-body—where they can fly and move the stars--and continues into the tumultuous realm of the living, where they are torn away from each other even as they slowly remember their spirits falling in love.
It's been years since I read A Certain Slant of Light and I found myself being concerned about whether I would be confused with this book. I remember only a few things about it, but as I read Under the Light I began to remember A Certain Slant of Light and it all came back to me. Initially I didn't remember who Jenny was, but she's the one who's body Helen took in A Certain Slant of Light. So it's more her story, but Helen is still present and tells a bit from her side as well.
Jenny's family is super religious and her spirit was being broken by her father. He read her diary and then took everything important to her away. This is where Helen comes in. So we see where Jenny went when out of her body but a good portion of the story is when she comes back and how things play out with Jenny and Billy (who was Helen's lover but whose body was taken by another ghost) and how they have this thing that connects them but they don't remember each other. It's also about Jenny and her family. Her super religious and over the top father and the mother who is lost herself but only knows one thing, religion.
I liked Jenny a lot and really felt bad for her. I wanted her to stand up for herself and find her way and we got to see that happen. It was slow, she didn't change over night, but she found her footing and found her voice. She ended up being very strong. We also get to know Helen's past and how she died, which was very interesting and I was glad to know more about her.
I really love the concept of ghosts in these books and think that the author did a great job of making it all very believable. I believe in ghosts and have interacted with them myself, so this was something I did connect with.
Laura Whitcomb has a very lyrical writing style. It's more along the literary lines of things, which I don't usually like, but quite liked in this book. The story was easy to read and once I got into the rhythm of it I didn't put it down once. I read nearly the entire thing before bed and didn't stop reading until I finished.
While this is a companion novel and you don't have to read the first book, I do encourage you to do so. You'll understand things much better and you'll enjoy it more as things regarding Helen will make much more sense. I very highly recommend this series to fans of YA books with ghosts (not scary) and contemporary since the contemporary theme was very important in this one.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.