Jacqueline Brown’s The Light: A Book Review

Written by Ann Burns

February 28, 2024

When the Villains are Beautiful

A blinding flash … then darkness. Bria Ford and her three closest friends are stranded on a country highway in the middle of a November night.

No phones. No car. No lights.

Helpless and hundreds of miles from home, Bria and her friends put their lives in the hands of the handsome Jonah Page and his flinty sister, East, strangers who somehow know Bria better than she knows herself. As the group bonds to adapt to a new, yet old, way of life, the secrets of Bria’s past offer them the hope they need to survive the extremes of Mother Nature, and the even more frightening extremes of human nature.

Quietly suspenseful, The Light explores how the stories we tell ourselves shape the person we present to the world, and what happens to that person when the world falls away.

Not long ago, I received a message asking if I’d be willing to read and review The Light by Catholic author Jacqueline Brown. 

Naturally, I said yes.  Who turns down an opportunity to read a book? 

Candidly, this book is 100% outside of my wheelhouse. I would never have picked it up in a bookstore. 

Which is why I am doubly grateful for that message. It was really good

The book’s premise is a perfect blend of chilling and fascinating:

What would happen if there was a total shutdown of the grid? Who would even survive? 

And, more importantly, who would you become?

It’s a story that by its very nature takes you outside of your comfort zone. 

It took me a minute to get into the story. Initially, I didn’t particularly relate to the protagonist, Bria. Despite all of the information the opening pages offered, she was still entirely foreign. And quite frankly, that might have been intentional. We see a facade, a belief built on deception and wounds, and something about this image is off putting.  But then, the world crumbles apart. Quite literally.  And her personal story slowly begins to unfold and pieces of the puzzle begin to snap into place.  

Yup. I was locked in. 

The author does an excellent job at wielding together the more delicate and layered components of this story — dealing with past trauma, present horrors, and hope.

While a pretty easy read, the book is quite thoughtful, daring to venture into highly difficult and nuanced topics, all while being fast-paced and tinged with suspense. 

While the book covers some heavy issues, it does so tastefully and is appropriate for older teens /YA readers and adults alike!

I will absolutely read the next one, and encourage you to check out the work of Jacqueline Brown! 

Related Articles

Free to Be Me

Free to Be Me

Imagine any of one these scenes:

A mom resisting the dawn of her wiser years as she gets another round of botox.
A teenage boy wondering if somehow God made a mistake with him.
A newly retired father trying to find meaning in life outside the office.
A young woman fruitlessly looking for validation as she downloads yet another dating app.
A man returns to the bar for the third time this week in a desperate attempt to find meaning at the bottom of a glass.

So much of our personal struggles and search for purpose boil down to:
“Who am I? Why am I here?”

read more