Review: Play of Light by Debra Doxer

I lived in paradise, and I loved Spencer Pierce.

At fourteen, my life was perfect. The beach was my playground, and the boy who stole my heart lived just around the corner. But perfect never lasts. In one horrifying moment, I lost it all. My family was destroyed, and the boy I believed in turned his back on me. Paradise became a nightmare.

That was five years ago. Everything changed when we moved from our home by the sea. I’ve changed, and I don’t like who I’ve become. I miss the smiling, carefree beach girl who disappeared that terrible night. I want to find her again. I want to face the people we ran from so long ago. Most of all, I have to face Spencer. So I can prove that when he broke my heart, he didn’t break me.

But when I see him again, Spencer Pierce is no longer the boy from my memories. He’s now a man who could devastate me if I let him. He watches me when he thinks I’m not looking. There’s regret written on his face when he’s near. Each time I see him, my heart aches for what might have been, and I think his does too. How can I convince myself I’m over him when I suspect he never got over me?

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

It was mostly Sarah, the main character, that kept this story going. To her the little town she lived in was paradise, though really it wasn't as it had plenty of secrets. After a big tragedy, she and her family are almost forced to move away. Leaving pretty much her youth behind her, Sarah had to grow up fast and she slowly turned into someone she doesn't really like.

Now it's been five years, and before going off to college she wants to pay her old town a visit. Sarah's hoping that she can put the nightmares behind her and think more about all the positive memories. This visit also includes Spencer. The young boy she had a huge crush on and inadvertently broke her heart in the end. Though seeing him again is much harder than she was prepared for. Spencer has grown up very well, and it's clear from the beginning that connection between them is still there.

Sarah was a strong character. She dealt with the tragedy in the best way possible, but it almost made her detached from the world. Now she tries to revert that feeling, hoping she can one day be Sarah Smile again. Especially this part about the injustice that was done in the past keeps eating away at her. The grown ups did what they thought would be best, but now that she's an adult Sarah wants to right a wrong. Though it seems that there was so much more going on than she believed.

Spencer was a troubled young guy, in a terrible situation. The only person he ever confided in was Sarah, but when things went sour he turned away from her. He hated to do that, but in his young mind it seemed to be the best solution. Though he never forgot about her and now that she's back, he doesn't want to let her go again. Being near her makes everything so much better and clearer. Spencer too struggles with what happened so many years ago, and while he supports Sarah in her endeavor, he is also slightly terrified of the consequences.

Play Of Light is a combination of romance and mystery. There is that sweet connection between Spencer and Sarah, that has you rooting for a happy answer. But there is also that constant weight of the past upon their shoulder. They will need to be careful that it doesn't bring them down. I had a bit of trouble with the 'secret', and I had difficulty coming to terms with the injustice of it all. To me it didn't make sense, that for all these years nothing had happened yet and that it's now up to a ninteen-year-old to bring out the truth.

Other than that I really enjoyed this novel. There was definitely plenty of drama and unresolved issues, not making this the happiest story. Though when Spencer and Sarah are together, those scenes are often lighter moments in the darkness. It was very well written and most of all this felt like a story of hope. That despite everything that has happened, there is still a way for it to become good.


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The Author
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”

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