Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrators: Aaron Shedlock and Teddy Hamilton
Length: 8 hours, 25 minutes
Royal O’Connell worked hard to get a swimming scholarship to college and, now that he’s there, adjusting to being on a new team and living up to the expectations he has for himself is what matters. Then he sees Camden, and the sight of him throws everything Royal thought he knew about himself into chaos.
Camden Morgan didn’t necessarily need a scholarship to college, but he did in order to feel like he was there on his own terms. His dedication to the piano has not gone unnoticed and Camden excels in his field. Ever since he told his parents he was gay, his life has been difficult at home and his parents want nothing to do with having a gay son. Camden is filled with social anxiety, and making friends, even making eye contact, is hard for him.
When Royal and Camden are near each other, the attraction is real. But Royal has never been attracted to boys and Camden can’t veer out of his carefully controlled life and they question if they can have a relationship in public. But love will not be denied as Royal and Camden strive to be part of each other’s worlds.
This book has a soft, lyrical style to it with strong points of view from both Royal and Camden, as well as visual secondary characters. Both Royal and Camden look at the world from within, but from the outside they couldn’t look more different, with Royal being an athlete and Camden being a musician. Royal has a strong sense of family, with his laid-back parents and artist twin sister who is his closest friend, where Camden gets nothing but more anxiety from his parents. Royal understands Camden more than most, as he also understands his father and sister who live with mental health issues.
The attraction between Royal and Camden is new and dreamy and the guys are young as they experience soft kisses and intimate touches and falling in love for the first time. Royal is sweet and patient with Camden and, for the first time, he wants something for himself. The intimate scenes were dreamy as well, maybe a little too dreamy since both guys are so in their own heads some of the intimacy got lost for me.
The book takes us through the anxiety of both Royal and Camden coming out publicly. There is, of course, expected drama from Camden’s parents, but the drama from Royal’s uncle didn’t play out as well and the drama from the swim team was little too expected. The ending was a little too abrupt for my tastes and, although Royal and Camden are together and they are young, the story didn’t feel finished enough to end where it did.
There is another book in this series that features Royal’s sister, Indie, and his friend, Kai, and they were captivating enough to have me interested in their story. Let There Be Light is a good choice for a new adult book that combines the emotions of first love with a lyrical, introspective style.
There aren’t too many dual narrations in this genre and I always appreciate listening to this style performance. While I was familiar with Teddy Hamilton, I had not listed to Aaron Shedlock before. Based on that prior experience and listening to some samples, I am going with Hamilton as being the voice for Camden and Shedlock voicing Royal. Both were excellent choices to bring out the emotion both characters go through during the course of the book. There is a softer tone to both characters and both narrators handled the range of emotions well. There was continuity throughout the entire book as they alternated chapters and the two narrators moved seamlessly navigating all of the voices of the secondary characters, as well. The audio version is an excellent way to experience this book and is definitely recommended.