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The Light Fantastic

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  515 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything.

Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day, and April Donovan’s eighteenth birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling, and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. A
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  515 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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Cristina Monica
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
DNF – 65%

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC started out great. The writing was great, the characters were interesting and I sure wanted to know where the author was going with all that was happening.

But then suddenly, I realized some things that started to annoy me.

The author isn’t very consistent. As in, some chapters are narrated in the 1st person point of view, while others are narrated in the 3rd person point of view.

Also, the choice of narrators doesn’t follow an order, and there are many of them, and it’
Elyse  Walters
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"One Nation, Under the Assassins, Indivisible, with Revenge and Punishment
for All."

Students and a couple of teachers are part of a group lead by 'The Mastermind' ....
They are a group of assassins. The plan is to enter their schools and go on a shooting
rampage. They meet online to plot a series of shootings.
With several different narrators, we step into each of their minds....with a focus on their reactions when they discover that people are not always what they demonstrate on the surface. Und
April 19th is April Donovan's eighteenth birthday. It's also Senior Skip Day, but she and her two best friends decide to attend school anyway. April has a Hyper Superior Autobiographical Memory (hyperthymesia) and can't stop herself from thinking about every tragedy that has happened during her birth month. On the same day, a young man--known online as the Mastermind--is planning a coordinated attack on the nation's schools.

"People might say to you kids that your generation is spoiled. Entitl
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Candlewick Press and NetGalley.)

“Nothing will ever be the same. There’s before and there is after and I just want it to go away.”

This started out okay, but I lost interest.

There were several main characters in this – April who had a memory condition which allowed her to remember her entire life, Lincoln who used to be friends with April but moved away, a teacher, a couple of Aprils friends,
Maria (Big City Bookworm)

I would like to thank Candlewick Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs is a book that gave me a new perspective on common everyday life in the United States of America. As a Canadian, you would think our lifestyles and our daily way of life would be similar considering how close we are to one another…I mean we’re literally attached for crying out loud. So why is it that our lives are so very different from one another?
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't even have words to explain how The Light Fantastic made me feel. I grew such an intense fondness for all the narrators; I felt protective of them. I suppose this is why the ending felt rushed to me. I needed more closure, especially with Lincoln and Laura. I still have so many questions. Nevertheless, I'm satisfied with the ending and I'm okay with speculating on certain things, since the thing I loved most about this book was the aspect of mystery/the act of connecting the dots. This i ...more
Taylor Knight
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
I loved the writing style (I think it's the best thing about this book) and the characters were pretty cool but I'm not a fan of books that deal with shootings or bombings or anything like that. I don't like reading about those things at all. So even though I loved the writing style, I couldn't get into this book for even a second. It's definitely a case of personal preference and not the book's fault at all. It just wasn't for me. If you're fine with reading about shootings/bombings, I'd say gi ...more
Shameeka Alexis
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Ah, Sarah Combs, did you really have to write a book like this?!


That was me after I finished the book. I HAD to cool down because the book was as fantastic as its name!

The Light Fantastic is written from the perspective of seven narrators:


Ah, I must say. I loved each one of these characters. The author has taken her time to develop each one of these characters. One by one as we hear their sides, all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle starts fitting in and finishe

May 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Compelling, complex, complicated - it is incredibly difficult to figure out exactly how to talk about The Light Fantastic. I've never been so disheartened and saddened and terrified reading something, but I've also never felt more compassion or hope or light in the dark. In her own way, Combs really manages to capture a "flashbulb moment", a day where everything changes for these characters in ways that they could never have imagined. Also, there were a lot of character perspectives, some I real ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
PLOT: People across the country plan school shootings to happen at the same time led by someone who calls himself Mastermind.

CHARACTERS: Multiple first and third person points of view barely distinguishable from one another I was constantly confused as to who I was reading. The backstories got muddled in my mind.

READING EXPERIENCE: Started off average and declined steadily until I was skimming pages to get to the end. I started and stopped multiple times, to take breaks.

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs deals with one of the most pressing and important issues of our time. Namely, the alienation of young people and the connection with school shootings.
April Donovan is turning 18 soon and she can't help rehashing all of the tragedies that have happened during the month of April thanks to her rare memory condition that lets her remember the dates of terrible events accurately. April is not the only main character of the story but she seems to be the one who is a
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. one fateful day that changed everything. Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day and April Donovan's 18th birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling and April's rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attentio ...more
Jenny Baker
DNF at 15%

I’ve been trying to read The Light Fantastic for about six weeks. I’ve started it from the beginning twice during that time and I still can’t capture my interest enough for me to keep reading. I don’t like it when I don’t finish a book, but I try to give novels at least fifty pages before I call it quits. You have fifty pages to impress me and to keep me reading.

A summary of The Light Fantastic can be found here. A group of students and teachers meet online to plan a shooting rampage.
Caitlin Christensen
I’m always intrigued by stories that cover topics that are acutely relevant to the times we live in. Books that aren’t afraid to tackle hard topics – to talk about things no one else wants to talk/think about.

The Light Fantastic tackles what is, in my opinion, one of the most terrifying threats our society currently faces – school shootings. I’ve tried to read a few books on this subject, but I’ve never found one that has completely blown me away (last year’s This is Where It Ends looked promis
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Things I loved about The Light Fantastic

- This shouldn't really count, but it's definitely a plus. The cover. Look at that pretty cover! That was actually one of the main reason why I started reading this book. A book with such a pretty cover must be as pretty inside as well, right?
- Seven narrators interwoven in one story. Even though I didn't really understand what role Sandra (the teacher) had in the whole story, but maybe I missed something. It was really interesting to see the things happen
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thank you, NetGalley, for an ARC of this book.

This book had been sitting on my TBR pile for awhile now. I'm new to NetGalley and I just couldn't figure out how to open a protected ebook. I know, I should have Googled. Anyway, fast forward to this morning, I was finally able to open the book on my desktop (font too small on my phone).

And all I can say is... *drum roll*

#WayUp #Blessed

I'm sooo glad I conquered my laziness and decided to download a reader to open this ARC. Want to know why? The Lig
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"Nobody can tell me that you kids aren't fighting a war all your own."

An ambitious novel with multiple storylines, narrators and geographical locations but in the end it's about emotionally fragile teenagers and the possibility of interconnections. Sure, it was confusing at times and the ending left me wanting but there were so many nuggets of delicious writing and interesting insight in
Chris N
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
They are a generation who have seen plenty of violent acts in their lives, like 9/11, various school shootings and so on, the latest being the Boston Marathon bombings. A group of kids nation wide gather online to "plot" a series of school shootings because they were bullied, marginalized or angry at their parents for something. As more kids drop out the Mastermind is one of a small handful left whi intend on carrying through with their part. Scattered in the story are a few kids who are directl ...more
Ms. Warchol
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs is an audacious novel.I expected the story to focus on April, a young woman with hyperthymesia (or the ability to remember basically everything). Instead Combs tackles the lives of 7 people and weaves them together. This book is set a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 19th, which also happens to be April's 18th birthday. The writing itself is beautiful. Although sometimes, I found myself confusing some of the characters and the details of thei ...more
Funky Fish
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a roller coaster of a book! This novel is about several teenagers, each with strong personalities and stories to tell, who get caught up in violence and tragedy. This book was quite enjoyable and exciting, it just had a few minor issues.

I loved the suspense and depth of the characters, but I felt that the ending was just a bit... flat, possibly due to the confusing plot line. And there was quite a lot of swearing in there, which is just not really my thing. But I still enjoyed the book, and
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
“The truth is that I couldn't not be in love with the world if I tried.”

Taking place in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy, this book follows seven characters that are about to enter an even more personal tragedy in this already tumultuous atmosphere. With a focus on emotion, Sarah Combs explores the individual behind mass tragedy, and the layers of feeling created by a single moment.

I’ve had an advanced copy of this novel waiting for me on my kindle for a while now, and I have to adm
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the overall plot of this book, it was about a topic I've never read before; and one of the MC's has hyperthymesia, which is something that's not very often shown in books.

The writing was a bit weird, I don't know if that was because I was reading an ARC version of the book. I wasn't a huge fan of Gavin talking in #hashtags. I also found the many point of views a bit confusing: there was April, Gavin, Phoebe, Ms. Heslip, the Mastermind, Licoln Evans, and there were other characters that k
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
I wouldn't say it was perfect, but it was so thought-provoking. I love books that ask the tough questions!

This is going to be a tough one to review. It's like trying to describe the way something delicious tastes-- there are only so many words to do it and none of them are as good as the actual eating of the food. I had the best time reading this book. It's so smart and emotional that I basically never wanted it to end.

This book was one of those "not a lot happens" books, but it makes up for it
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
**Thanks so much to the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** 

I don't know about you, but I'm a huge fan of novels with multiple perspectives. That's a big part of why I chose to give The Light Fantastic a read.

So I know that the summary doesn't really give away much, so I really went into this novel not knowing what to expect. In the end, I was completely blown away.

This story is basically about a bunch of people who're part of an online
Zoë P
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it
The date is April 19th, 2013, which just happens to be April Donovan's birthday. April has hyperthymesia, which in very basic terms means she has a superhuman memory. This can be good and bad. For example, remember that birthday part you had as a little kid? Imagine remembering every single amazing detail. Now think of the worst thing that's happened in your life, and imagine remembering every single horrible detail. Remember 9/11. Remember the Boston Marathon bombings. Remember school shootings ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
***Given everything that happened in Orlando recently, I guess I feel I should add a TW for this book/review (although I don't go into explicit detail, neither does the book really, but if reading about that school shootings is too much for you right now... I just wanted you to be aware of the subject matter).***

When I first started reading the book, I loved nearly everything about it. The writing was beautiful, and I loved the characters -- especially April and Gavin. And the plot, it hooked me
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vision
"Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you."

This review was originally posted on my blog.
Oh Lord, help me explain how I felt about this book. It made me so emotional I had to take a break a cool down a bit a few times. It does not matter where you are from, you must read The Light Fantastic!

The book digs into the brains of people, ordinary and extra-ordinary. And you really get it. You get the feeling of this unimaginable sadness seizing your insides, ruined dreams and de
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: my-arcs
Rating: 5 Stars

Poetically written, tangled in harsh but understandable thoughts, narrated in different minds and feelings, is The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs. This book was stunning and fantastic, but I wouldn't have been able to read this masterpiece if it wasn't for Candlewick Press, thanks for sending me this ARC, and sending me on my way to help others.

The Light Fantastic, is about seven different people, and their train of thoughts during a day of tragedy. There is a plan afloat; soon
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Sarah Combs leads writing workshops at a nonprofit literacy center in Lexington, Kentucky, where she lives with her two young sons, two pacifist bird dogs, and her modern-day Atticus Finch of a husband, whose acquaintance she first made at a geek camp not unlike Gloria’s. Breakfast Served Anytime is her first novel.

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