Author: Lydia Fitzpatrick
Published: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Where I picked up my book: Free from publisher for an honest review (THANK YOU!!)
Key Words: Coming of age, family dynamics (brothers), Russia
My Rating: 3.5
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Lights All Night Long is the stunning story of Ilya Alexandrovich Ekhlakov and his older brother, Vladimir. Two brothers who live in Berlozhniki, a refinery town on the edge of the arctic circle, where they spend their days watching bootleg American VHSs and their nights sleeping head-to-toe on the pull-out couch in their apartment. Ilya is a lingual prodigy; Vladimir the worst student at School #652 and an avid explorer of Berlozhniki’s seedier side. Still, the brothers are close, their love a careful balance of admiration and jealousy. When Ilya is tapped for an exchange program between Berlozhniki and an American refinery town, that balance is upset and Vladimir disappears into Berlozhniki’s underworld.
That winter, Ilya’s last in Russia, a new drug called krokodil surfaces in Berlozhniki and three women are murdered. Just as Ilya is about to depart for America, Vladimir is charged with the murders. Ilya arrives in Effie, Louisiana heartbroken, and in no mood to assimilate. But with the help of his host parents’ daughter – a local girl with secrets of her own – he embarks on a mission to prove Vladimir’s innocence. Lights All Night Long is a thrilling story of the fierce love between brothers, the sacrifices we make for family, and the power the past holds over the future.
There is not much that I love more than a fantastic, debut novel and I’m definitely here to say-this one checks that box! It is a well-written and intense read that will be sure to make you think about this family, and their story, long after you read the last sentence. Although it started a little slow for me, that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the book overall. Fitzpatrick has a way with her beautiful prose and character development that can’t help but hook you in as a reader and once that happened, I was in. The story is about brotherhood at the forefront, but it is intertwined with mystery, poverty, murder, a bit of religion, decisions, intentions, role models, drugs, friendship, family, loyalty and so much more. It’s a story full of wins, full of losses and ultimately, about what it’s like to love someone so much that fighting for them is your only option. It’s a story that will make your heart ache, make you think, make you laugh, make you understand humanity a bit better and is sure to bring you to tears a few times. I’m excited to see what else Fitzpatrick brings us. Happy Release Day Lights All Night Long! I think you will be impacting a few hearts with your words.