Note: All my thoughts in this post will be spoiler-free and will not affect you if you haven’t read the book yet!
Hello readers! It’s Alice from Married To Books and currently participating in a readathon on Twitter. It’s now halfway through and so far, I’ve managed to read six books including the one that I’m going to be discussing my thoughts on in this post today: The Taste Of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles. I am part of a YA Book Group at my local library which meets once a month and all of the group members received the opportunity to read and review this from the publishers Hachette. We were provided with ARCs of the book as well as a list of discussion questions which I am going to be responding to on this post! Let’s talk about The Taste Of Blue Light itself first.
This YA novel has the main character Lux Langley who is an Artist, she aspires to be creative but that all changes when she goes to a house party and then wakes up in hospital, having no idea why she’s there or what happened at the party. Her dreams are invaded by the colour of red (the ARC edition above is in red) and she only has a limited amount of time to work out exactly why she’s getting the headaches before she ends up being sent away from her boarding school that she attends. The pain that Lux goes through as well as the attempts to avoid speaking to parents, showed that she is struggling emotionally to keep her life in balance. I liked the whole aspect behind colours, dreams, art which I do have an interest in Art History and the setting of the school that Lux attends. It does touch on mental health issues which as someone with an anxiety disorder, I do respect and am keen to see how a character is portrayed in a story if they also have anxiety for example. There was a paragraph on self-harm which was emotionally challenging to read, the last quarter of the book was what really made me stop and think, taking real-world events and writing about them is very difficult to accomplish but with The Taste Of Blue Light, it actually felt more realistic to read even though the events themselves were horrific. I like to read stories that transport me away from reality BUT also have little reminders about the land that we live on today. There are also references to drug-taking and sex which I feel does make this book an upper YA novel. At my local library, there’s a YA section and a YA+ section with books suitable for age 16+. I say The Taste Of Blue Light is 16+ due to the content.
Overall, this was generally not what I was expecting to read and enjoy but pleasantly enough, I was left very surprised about how much The Taste Of Blue Light spoke to me. Lux’s struggles, her relationships with her friends and parents, going out into the real world after some difficult times, this book will be the splash of red into your daily lives.
Rating: 4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As part of the opportunity to read and review The Taste Of Blue Light, we were also given this list of questions. So, I decided to answer them with my honest thoughts but not giving away what happens in the story. The following questions are:
Question 1: How is colour used in the book- does it help tell the story and/or develop Lux’s character?
The colour red means nightmares, danger, fear. In one of the early chapters in the book, Lux is in the hospital and she is asked to match up numbers with a colour, taste and smell that she associates with it, this is part of the testing that the nurses did to try and come to a conclusion as to why Lux lost her memory. The term ‘Blue Light’ I feel symbolises the colour Blue being depressing, Lux herself mentions that if you feel blue, take yourself and your life and paint it with a different colour.
Question 2: Do you think creating things can help people understand themselves and each other?
I feel that each and every of us are artists just like Lux and want to use their imagination to create a beautiful portrait painting for example. Keeping a reflective journal has helped me to know more about myself and how I used to behave in the ways I did (fourteen year old me, I’m ashamed of you) but I feel that being creative and not following any set rules can bring others together in discussion and enable understanding of who we are and how we live.
Question 3: What clues does the author give regarding the truth about Lux’s blackout?
There’s one clue that stood out to me a lot and that was when Lux found in a notebook a list of words in a collection such as Articulate and Nyctophilia. During a conversation she has with Cal, he mentions a word Basorexia which means a passionate desire to kiss someone. From this, Lux remembers from her life before the hospital incident, a girl that she used to know but feels that her mind is playing tricks on her. This memory however plays a role later on in the book.
Question 4: Did you find the book funny and why is humour important to the story?
I have to be honest here and say that I read the entirety of The Taste Of Blue Light with a completely emotionless face, not laughing, instead more focused on the action between Cal and Lux and also Lux with Dr Baystone who she sees for talking therapy groups and 1 to 1 discussions. One conversation between Cal and Lux however was amusing, when they interviewed each other and Lux said her favourite flavour was piano when she actually meant to say pistachio. Humour is important I feel in the story because of the overall story subject content, it makes the reading experience more comfortable and also makes the characters (mainly Lux, Cal, Mei and Olivia) more realistic since they are all teenagers who are up for a laugh and ready to explore the world, letting their hair down, if neither of the characters joked or were happy, I would have found it to be quite difficult to read.
Question 5: How vital is setting to the story?
As a visual learner and reader, setting and worldbuilding mean a great deal to me, I love to be in the same world as the characters and seeing firsthand what they get up to. I found the setting of Richdeane Arts School to be a mix of Hogwarts (from Harry Potter) and Whyteleafe (from Enid Blyton’s The Naughtiest Girl In The School series) by students not doing traditional subjects but rather have the freedom to go into various studios and express their creativity however they wish. There are rules in the School but the overall picture is not a lot of bad events or naughty students getting into trouble happen. There were descriptions about some of the classes that the students attended which was interesting to read more about.
Question 6: Do you consider Lux a heroine?
This is the hardest question out of the list for me to answer but I actually don’t consider Lux a heroine, I say Mei is more of the heroine in The Taste Of Blue Light as she is the person that is looking out for Lux the most. Whenever Lux is unwell or having difficulty with things, Mei is there to watch over and make sure that she is OK. That for me personally is someone being a hero and not letting the confusing mystery of Lux’s headaches and loss of memory get in the way.
Question 7: What will you remember most about The Taste Of Blue Light?
I will remember a few things; That for Lux, it took time to finally be herself again which in life, it does take time to find the routes that you want to travel down. Also, the power of not giving up, using creative methods to find your voice and the colour red that features predominantly and creates fear for Lux herself. The aspect of the colours as a whole made the storyline interesting and created suspense for when Lux tries to remember a fragment from her past.
That wraps up this post! It was a long one but I really hope that you enjoyed reading it, a big thank you to the YA Book Group and Hachette for the amazing opportunity, I look forward to Lydia’s next novel. Leave a comment in the comment section below if you have read or are planning to read The Taste Of Blue Light. See you all soon with a new post!