Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Late Lights begins in a dreary, dark place with a sliver of hope. Just a tiny sliver, one that is constantly under threat of being snatched away.
Monty really wants to change his life, but every single odd is against him. The complete lack of love or concern Monty receives from his father had me feeling so downtrodden, I briefly thought maybe Monty would have been better off staying in juvie. Then I felt appalled at myself for thinking that way, because there were some horrific conditions there (be warned). So I ended up feeling suffocated by how impossible his situation seemed.
Monty is heartbreakingly aware of the privilege of others as he walks, in worn shoes that no longer fit, through his friend's neighborhood: "A stiff frozen snow topped the roofs of homeowners’ second and third cars, the ones not often used."
I found myself pleading for Monty. Cheering him on. No matter how little he had to work with, he continued to try to escape the path his life seemed to be taking. I latched on to every hopeful opportunity that came his way.
But I didn't really connect with the ending, which felt somewhat vague. Part of it was due to the choice of character the author decided to end with. Though all of the characters' stories are intertwined, for me, the impact of this book is created by Monty and his experiences. The others, although compelling for different reasons, felt secondary. I just wanted to get back to Monty and find out how he was doing.
Regardless, Late Lights is a powerful novella about childhood friendships and how time - especially time spent apart - affects those relationships as we mature into adults.I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.