Reviews

Rain City Lights, by Marissa Harrison

attackofanxiety's review

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dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

I really loved this book! It felt like multiple books in one; coming of age, mystery, romance. I loved the multiple points of view. It was all so beautifully and poetically written. When I wasn’t reading, I often found myself thinking about the characters and what was going on. I would definitely recommend this book. 

happilyeverapter's review against another edition

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emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

ewd09's review

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dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.75

This book was a rollercoaster of a ride - coming of age, drugs, sex, murder mystery, drama. There’s so much to it! To be honest I had trouble through the first half of this book. It seemed a little slow but it really ramped up in the second half. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters.  They were raw and real and had me rooting for them all the way through. 

**I won a digital copy of this book in a StoryGraph giveaway.**

thebookmonger's review

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

lucyebradley7's review

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challenging dark emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

thebookmonger's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

breysreviews's review against another edition

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5.0

Rain City Lights was a blast from the past, showing the hardships of everyday life as well as life with a serial killer on the loose.

4.5/5 stars

Monti and Sasha became friends at a very young age when both of their terrible circumstances brought them together. As they grow older, and begin growing apart, life continues to throw curve balls at them.

The characters in this book were flawed, they had extreme difficulties, they were stubborn and I absolutely loved them. Both Sasha and Monti were excellent main characters. Their stories were extremely different, but also similar. I really enjoyed them, and I enjoyed the diversity in this book.

The murders happening was such a subtle background plot that becomes important. It was fun to have something in the background to play detective with, while also enjoying the main plot, which was the lives of Monti and Sasha. I didn’t see it coming and it was impressive.

The setting is primarily in the 1970s-1980s. I really enjoyed learning about life back then. iPhones didn’t exist and racial tensions were extremely high.

This book does deal with a lot of possible triggers. These are spoilers, so if you don’t have triggers or don’t want it to be spoiled, stop here. This book deals with addiction, overdose, suicide, murder, and mental health.

katreadstoomanybooks's review against another edition

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dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

This gritty, atmospheric novel made me so homesick for Seattle, even though the main plot centers around a serial killer!  Monti and Sasha are coming of age in the 1980s in Seattle, just as grunge music is kicking off.  At the same time, a serial killer is targeting teen Black prostitutes.

In my opinion, the book would have been improved if the present day timeline was presented first, and then interspersed with flashbacks.  Sometimes, it was hard to tell what year a scene was taking place.  I would have also preferred just reading Monti’s story, but I do love a good chapter from the killer’s perspective!  I was disappointed that there was only one.

The blurb references Seattle’s Underground but as far as I could tell, the book doesn’t mention this at all.  I did love that Harrison focused on the birth of grunge music, teenage prostitutes working in Pike Place Market (rarely discussed), and that it features an interracial relationship.

Bottom line: too much was going on.  It could have been tightened up.  I applaud Harrison for trying to address race, class, poverty, religion, homophobia, abuse, addiction, and more in 370 pages, but it just didn’t mesh in a cohesive way.

prose_before_bros_'s review against another edition

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5.0

This is an absolute must read novel. I loved almost everything about it and I already miss the characters.

It’s 1981 in Seattle and there’s been a string of murders targeting black prostitutes. But honestly while crucial to the storyline, it’s not the focal point. Monti, the protagonist, and her neighbor/best friend Sasha are coming of age in some of the most difficult circumstances. Both children of single parents for reasons explained in the book, Monti and Sasha’s story address racial discrimination, classism, gender inequality, prostitution, homelessness, and drug abuse, among many other issues. And of course the favorite ‘will they/won’t they’ storyline.

I think what I loved most about this book is that Harrison wove intensely rich characters and plot lines from beginning to end. There’s certainly a thriller aspect in that there’s a huge murder component but the way she developed the characters, both with flashbacks and by moving the storyline forward a decade, is what struck me as truly beautiful writing.

The only thing that made this slightly difficult to read was that the time jumped around and if a chapter started it in the past, it was always easy to note when it shifted back to the future. There was also a moment when it said it was 1981 and the trial was taking place, but I think that date was inaccurate? Regardless, the story was not affected and everything still flowed very well.
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Please go read and fall in love with this book and these characters like I did so it gets all the attention it deserves. And pre-order it for when it’s officially published in October!

kpthebookworm's review against another edition

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4.0

This book is so beautifully written. The descriptions are stunning. The scenes were painted so vividly that I could see everything playing out like a movie.

I also loved the characters. I thought they were so well developed & I really enjoyed watching them change from teenagers into adults. Sometimes their interactions positively broke my heart. Monti is a great character who undergoes such an amazing transformation. I really feel like I developed an attachment to them over the course of the book & I’m kind of sad to let them go now.