Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

All the Little Lights
by Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication date: May 29, 2018

The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town.

Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart.

Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.



My name is Elliott. You don’t know my story yet, but you will. I spent my summers with my aunt and uncle just down the street from Catherine. She lives in a looming, rickety bed and breakfast called the Juniper, and spends most of her time outside, away from the memories that live between the Juniper’s walls amidst more tangible dangers that I never knew existed until now.

It’s not so much that I fell in love or even that I fought for it, but that a war is waging inside Catherine’s home—one I can’t fight for her. It doesn’t matter how strong I am, or how determined I am to stay. I can only get close enough to observe her pain in detail. And, so I stay, and wait, and help her the only way I know how; to do what I couldn’t for her before.

I hope you’ll understand.



All the Little Lights is kind of like a young adult version of American Horror Story. It starts off innocent enough, but pretty soon you realize things are not right. You don’t even get the full scope of what’s going on until the very end. Which leaves you questioning everything that happened leading up that point. And when you stop and think about it, it gives you chills. Yup, that was pretty much this story.

All the Little Lights starts off innocently enough with Elliot spying a young girl burying her dog with her father. It isn’t until years later that he works up the courage to actually talk to her. They end up becoming fast friends and pretty soon they are inseparable. However, something does happen, and when Catherine needs him the most, he is nowhere to be found. Fast forward two years and Elliot is finally back for good and ready to pick up where they left off. Except, a lot has changed in the two years that he’s been gone.

There is so much that goes on in this story that it’s so hard to review it without giving anything away. I honestly thought this would be a cute YA romance, but instead I got this twisted mystery romance story. I mean, you know something isn’t right, but you can never quite figure it out. I will admit that there were a lot of times where I got fed up with Catherine and the fact that she refused to put her foot down around her mother. Not to mention how she would sleep with her dresser and bed against the door, because her mom and the regular guests who would stay at their B&B would come into her room to talk. What?! I just, didn’t understand why she wouldn’t let her friends in the house when there were guests staying there. But then you start to see some shady stuff happening. Like one-time guest’s luggage sitting in the basement after that guest has left, and all the regular guests and her mom having a whispered conversation about Catherine… and then you start to get really creeped out.

Not only was there a lot of weirdness going on at her house, but there was your typical high school drama, too. Catherine is an outcast and is shunned by all the kids at school. So when Elliot comes into to town to stay and enrolls in her school, she starts to go out more and do more things like going out for ice cream and going to a football game. Of course, there was teenage drama with the mean girls, bullying, and what have you. I actually kind of liked that the author mixed a sweet romance with your typical teen drama, with this undercurrent of creepy mystery.

I wish I could say so much more about this story, but a lot of what goes on is sort of dropped into your lap as you are reading. All I can say is that this story is probably unlike anything you’ve read before in a YA romance. It was nothing like I thought it would be and when I got to the end and everything was revealed, I was thrown for a loop.


Favorite quote…

“You can’t get someone out of quicksand if you’re stuck in it, too.”




2 Thoughts on “Review: All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire

  1. Your first paragraph about this one really intrigued me and made me want to know more about it.

  2. Kim Reads on 24 June, 2018 at 4:07 pm said:

    This book is on my reading list. But you mention American Horror Story and not I’m a little unsure.

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