I received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Page Count 320
Publication date June 2019/ Publisher Sourcebooks Fire
Five years after the accidental shooting of Marley Bricket, her friends, who were there the day she died, reunite when a box of letters from Marley is found in her former home. The discovery leads them on a scavenger hunt that reopens old memories, wounds, and betrayals, and leads them to question what they thought they knew about Marley’s death.
15 year old Marley is dead by 11 year old Nick’s hand. 5 years later their teenaged group of friends- ‘the Albany kids’- revisit what really happened that fateful summer day and consider what Marley was really like beneath her rebellious exterior.
Once again I was drawn to the story of a childhood summer. I love these coming of age, nostalgic bike rides through time.
As is often the case with this type the timeline is split between past and present. Written from the POV of Olivia the youngest of 8 small town friends When The Light Went Out explores friendship, family and the dangerous games unattended children will play.
One of my favourite plot lines is a good scavenger hunt. ‘The Adventure’ is exactly that, a game annually created by Marley and never before completed by the group.
On the eve of the towns 5th Marley memorial Olivia discovers the first clue in one final Adventure. But did Marley set this up knowing she would die before they ever began?
As the estranged friends follow the scavenger trail across town through their old haunts they unearth memories of Marley and consider the meaning behind them. Ultimately pulling them closer together, confronting their grief and bringing them the closure they all secretly craved.
There were moments that felt a little juvenile for present tense Albany kids. I’m pretty sure if I had returned from college I wouldn’t be letting my parents take away my phone and ground me! Though in truth these aspects added to the immaturity and irresponsibility of the characters- reminding me they weren’t equipped to handle the events befalling them. Re-enforcing the strange uncertain age between childhood and adulthood.
Again the parents were rarely to be found during the children’s escapades, this time I was pleased to see their absence noted. The Albany kids were known around town as being left to run riot, much of the other residents judgemental but grudgingly accepting of the parents casual neglect.
I identified a little with each of the characters, all of them with strong individual personalities, easy to discern from the outset.
When The Lights Went Out holds a few surprises, and asks a question that can never truly be answered. Trauma and grief in children was handled well and resonated with my own experience of sudden loss.
The relationships formed were complicated and well written, the perfect amount of confusion, angst, loyalty and love. Bridget Morrissey made me yearn for my childhood friends and summers long gone.