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The Dark Light

2.94  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  39 reviews
'Ten minutes to midnight!' Jonathan shouts over the sound of the blazing fire. Sparks rise into the sky and mingle with the stars. 'Only ten minutes!' Bevins says, falling down on his knees. 'So it begins.'

Rebekah has lived on the island her whole life, and it's only now that she's starting to wonder what she might experience outside her strict religious community. Alex ha
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 16th 2015 by Macmillan Children's Books
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Average rating 2.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  127 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Aug 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
This actually started off quite promising, considering I find books about cults so interesting I thought this would be a great one. I hate writing such negative reviews because I know authors put EVERYTHING into their books. I'm so sorryyyyyyy I have to be honest so here we go...

This book was just a jumbled mess. The character arcs were weak, the romance lacked any kind of development, and the characters themselves lacked personality, believability, depth, anything. The plot was all over the pla
Lucy Powrie
This made me feel uncomfortable, I didn't like any of the characters, and it made me very frustrated. Sadly, I had to DNF!
Well, that was fucked.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
The premise to this book is pretty gnarly, don’t you think? I mean, anything that involves an extreme religious sect/cult/circle is going to get heavy. I was looking forward to seeing how it all panned out and more than anything I wanted them all to get off that damn island! *inappropriate flashbacks to Battle Royale*

Also there were some scenes that made my skin crawl. The quote ‘the evil that men do’ springs to mind. I thought those scenes really brought the story to life. However, they were fe
Jessica Summers
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: gift, lgbtquia
Third and final book for the #LGBTReadathon.

Originally published at: http://solittletimeforbooks.blogspot....

I had hear very little about The Dark Light before I started reading; I had based my expectations on a recollection of enjoying Julia Bell’s novel, Massive, years ago. Sadly, I doubt I’ll remember this one.

Religion is one of those topics that I really struggle to read about. I have no religion inclinations myself, but I find it an infuriating topic to talk and read about, but luckily the
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whew. I have read some amazing YA this year. The Alex Crow by Jack Smith and Glory O' Brien's History of the Future by A.S King were outstanding but I'd been neglecting my UKYA until I read this little gem.
Two girls.
Alex is miserable, queer and developing a propensity for minor acts of arson when she is sent, seething with anger at her neglectful birth mother, hopeless foster parents and the world, to a religious 'community' on an island off the Welsh coast,
Rebekah has been raised on New Canaan
I loved this! I read it in one big bite on a train journey, and I was so engrossed I barely looked out of the window. It's atmospheric, fast-paced and emotionally engaging. I really felt for the two girls and ached for everything to work out for them.
Jul 01, 2015 marked it as to-read
my mate Julia's third book..
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I’m actually shocked with myself that I’m giving this book 4 stars.
I borrowed this from the library, got it out because of the first page being about a teenage girl named Alex setting fires. It intrigued me, ok? I wasn’t expecting much out of it other than a quick read. Fast forward a lil bit and I decided to read a few pages of it because I like to tease myself when I know I have books I need to read BEFORE reading anything else such as this book. The impression I got from those few pages w
Jun 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
Thank you to the publisher for this eARC.

I was excited to read this book and found that the blurb was very interesting.

Alex has been through foster care and is a troubled teenager. After getting into trouble with the law she is sent off to an island to avoid jail time. There she meets Rebecca and things change for both of them.

This book was sadly a DNF for me. I found Alex to be very rude and a "in your face" character. I did not like how she treated people. Yes she had a horrible upbringing an
Jen Minkman
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This book started out pretty intriguing, but I soon found it to be so bogged down with descriptions of the island (just how many varieties of sea birds, grasses, and scraggly plants can you use in one book?) and the stark-raving-mad utterings of the cult members (can someone please hurry up and Rapture Mr. Bevins and Hannah RIGHT NOW??) that the development of the romance between Alex and Rebekah suffered. I found the character development overall to be lacking. For example, I didn't quite under ...more
Katie Hurse
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Really interesting subject matter (scary how real it is considering some groups) and really interesting plot. I think that the protagonists (and narrators) could have been written better and more believably, I didn't connect with either of them. Would be interesting to read more books covering the idea of cults
SJH (A Dream of Books)
I couldn't get on with this one. Tried picking it up a couple of times but I didn't like any of the characters or the subject matter of the story. Not for me I'm afraid.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was gonna give this a three because it was trashy aaf, but in a way I guiltily enjoy but THAT MF ENDING?! I read cheesy crap for the cheese, man, and this was like, cheese cheese cheese CHALK. No.
Anna Luce
Feb 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
review to come closer to the publication day...
Robyn Coughlan
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Started so well. Loved the concept and writing style. Ended fine. Disappointing.
Okay, so, I must admit, though I have never read any books about cults, I've always thought that they probably wouldn't be my thing. There seem to be quite a lot of YA books about cults lately, and I didn't want to read any of them, but when I saw THE DARK LIGHT, it caught my eye because of the LGBTQ content in the synopsis – two girls sharing a kiss. That definitely piqued my interest. However, after reading this book, I think I'd do better to stay away from books about cults in the future, eve ...more
Mar 03, 2020 added it
The ending was just bad...
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
There was no way that I couldn't not read The Dark Light. Rapture? Girls kissing? Weird island? Yes, please! However, I was expecting a Romance, and if that's what you're looking for, then this is not it. I was quite disappointed on that front, but I did really enjoy the story for what it was. Alex has just gotten into the biggest trouble of her life. She can either go to court and have her fate determined by the law, or she can agree to live at New Canaan for the summer. Rebekah was raised in t ...more
Helen Dawson
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this YA novel. There's scope for a much bigger novel in the story, but it focuses in on the core of what the author has to show/say (which is quite refreshing after all that recent Booker reading I've undertaken).

The story centres around two young adults, Alex and Rebekah. Alex is troubled, she lost her mum as a child and ended up in the care system. Then her new parents took her on, but she keeps getting into trouble and so her parents arrange, via their church, to send Alex t
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading The Dark Light and wanted to write this review before the WOW factor dissipated.
This is one of those YA books that just hooked me from the first page even though the topic (religious cults) is not my usual cup of tea. The isolated, oppressive and threatening life that Julia Bells portrays in the religious community feels alive, real and very possible; the religious fanaticism expertly depicted. The story holds back enough to make it suitable for a YA audience but, that sa
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This dark story of a religious cult on a Scottish island had me gripped throughout. The magnetic personality of the cult leader and twisted logic of the fanatics was sinister, feeding the suspense in this YA Gothic novel.

The story is told through dual first-person, with both characters likeable and with different voices. Their personalities worked well together, with Rebekah’s naivety contrasting with Alex’s cynicism. It was interesting to see the two girls grow, although some of the character d
Katharine Luxmoore
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-readers
This is the first time that I have read any books by Julia Bell and so pleased to have had the opportunity to do so after winning 'The Dark Light' on the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

It just goes to show that one doesn't have to be YA/LGBT, as I am neither. Actually I am the other end of the age scale and married to the man of my life for the past 38 yrs. Loved the book, which was a little different from my normal read. It is not often that I sit and read a book within a day, as I did with th
Rebecca Hedger
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rebekah and Alex are two very different characters...Rebekah has lived all her life in a cult on an island, whilst Alex has been sent to the cult as a result of her bad behaviour. The cult is the story, and just like Rebekah the reader feels surrounded by it, perhaps a little suffocated by it all, because the rapture is coming, and that's all the leader and the other members of the cult talk about. Not a lot seems to happen through the course of the book, but I really liked the ending of the sto ...more
Amanda-judith Danso
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
(goodreads competition win)

This novel really did engross me, within the first couple chapters, due to the style Julia Bell used, Of the multiple first person narrators. This made it really refreshing to read but there was not one single character I could say I gravitated to whilst reading. The cult theme surprisingly really didn't do it for me either. It is not a bad read but sadly was a major anticlimax for myself.
Nov 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Not sure it was for me. I didn't like Alex at all. I didn't like any of the other characters. I found the plotline unsettling and creepy without anything that particularly made me want to know more or care about what was going to happen next.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbtq
I was so excited to read this book.

But that ending.

FUCK that ending.
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Librarian note: there are multiple authors with this name on Goodreads.

I was born in Bristol but raised in Wales (I can speak Welsh!) and have published two novels for young adults - Massive and Dirty Work, both published by Macmillan in the UK. In the US Massive is published by Simon and Schuster and Dirty Work by Walker Books. Massive has also been translated into ten languages, including Thai!

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