Lights All Night Long

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

LIGHTS ALL NIGHT LONG by Lydia Fitzpatrick is a story of two brothers from Russia: "For fifteen years Ilya had lived with Vladimir, who lived for attention of any sort, and Ilya's personality had been shaped by Vladimir's need. Ilya was used to observing from the edges." In fact, when Ilya arrives as an exchange student in America, he acts at first as though he does not speak English, giving him a chance to observe his host family near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Simultaneously, Vladimir is trapped in a Russian jail, accused of murders his younger brother is sure he did not commit. Well-written and complex, the story shifts in time and between the US and Russia. Fitzpatrick spends much of this debut novel creatively relating Ilya's musings: "Ilya woke the morning after the windstorm with the last bits of a dream melting in his mind the way sugar melts on your tongue." Brooding literary fiction coupled with suspenseful mystery, LIGHTS ALL NIGHT LONG, received a starred review from Booklist.
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This was a stunning and compelling novel that transports you into a completely different way of life. Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick is a remarkable immersive coming-of-age story.

Ilya Alexandrovich is a fifteen-year-old teenager who is living in an extremely poor town in Russia. He lives with his mother and his older brother, Vladimir. Ilya is highly intelligent and begins to learn English by watching American bootleg movies. As part of an exchange program, Ilya is chosen to go to America. Before he leaves, Ilya’s life in Russia begins to crumble all around him. His brother, Vladimir, has stopped going to school, becomes a drug addict and no longer comes home. With a broken heart, Ilya leaves for America.

When Ilya arrives in Effie, Louisiana, he finds out that his brother has confessed to killing three young women and is now sitting in prison. It’s now up to Ilya to gather proof of his brother’s innocence so he can get him out of jail. But thousands of miles away, Ilya questions whether his brother is being framed or can he really be guilty of murder?

This book was amazing and beautiful, yet sad and immersive. I felt I had really discovered something I’ve never read and seen before. The two differing places really showcased the fringing of both characters. From the remote and desolate town in Russia, to a small poverty stricken town in Louisiana — the mirroring of these settling’s struggles and difficulties were eye opening.

What really drew me into the book were the characters, they were captivating and heartbreakingly sad. The connection Ilya and Vladimir have is beyond beautiful but desperately somber. I couldn’t praise Lydia Fitzpatrick’s work more. She certainly out did herself with this unbelievably poignant and memorising novel!

Simply put, Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick is a thought-provoking, intense and gorgeously written book that was difficult to put down and left my heart breaking. If you’re looking for a compelling and lyrical novel that will stay with you days later, look no further than Lights All Night Long. This novel is literary fiction at its best!

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Press and Lydia Fitzpatrick for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a very captivating story about two Russian brothers as different as night and day from each other but who share a dream of going to America and a deep love of one another.  The story unfolds in alternating chapters taking place in two small towns--one in Russia and the other in Louisiana -- and shifts back and forth in time adding intrigue for the reader. 

Ilya, the younger brother is bright and excels at learning English. He finds a way to go, as a foreign exchange student in a Louisiana town. Vladimir loves to live life on the edge, hangs out with the wrong people, and becomes addicted to drugs.  Just before Ilya goes to live with an exchange family in Louisiana, Vladimir is accused of murder.  From America, Ilya tries to help solve the murders as he doesn't believe his brother is guilty. 

This twists and turns in the story and the character development held my interest from the beginning. The novel deals with family, loyalty, connection, love, drug addiction, isolation, and corruption.  This is more than a typical crime mystery and a great debut novel.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a story about two Russian brothers- one of time the smart and motivated one who earns  a trip to America to be an exchange student. The other brother falls into drugs and gets himself into trouble. 

This story was just okay for me. I couldn’t find myself caring what happened to the characters. It felt like maybe there were a bit too many characters and none really well developed. Same with all the different stories. This made the story slow for me since I had no interest in the side stories. 

Overall this had some good writing but not enough to keep me interested.
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This was an involving story of brothers who have a bond, and nourish and sustain each other.  The writing is beautiful and the characters well defined. 
Many thanks to Penguin Group and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Lights All Night Long begins with fifteen-year-old Ilya’s arrival in America. He is oddly detached, walking past his host family’s welcoming sign twice before stopping. He pretends he does not understand them and doesn’t speak English leaving them puzzled why he was chosen to participate in this exchange sponsored by the refinery companies in his hometown and theirs. The next morning, he apologizes and explains that he is struggling because his brother recently died.

This is not true. In fact, his brother has just confessed to murdering three women and is awaiting trial and sentencing in prison. It seems so appropriate that Ilya’s hometown was once part of the Gulag. The story goes back and forth from the past in Russia and the present in Louisiana. One thing unites both cities, the refineries and their bright lights that illuminate the sky all through the night, the lights all night long.

In the past, we see how close and how different the brothers are. Vladimir is older and protective of Ilya. Ilya is studious and bright, Vladimir struggles with school, reading with difficulty. Vladimir skips school, takes drugs, and runs away from home, squatting in an empty building. Ilya is recommended for an exchange program while everyone has given up, more or less, on Vladimir.

Except Ilya, who is determined to prove his brother’s innocence even from Louisiana. He enlists his exchange family “sister” Sadie in his research, hoping to find an American missionary who suddenly returned to America, perhaps a witness, perhaps the killer. Sadie has secrets of her own and the two are drawn together by their shared difficulties


Lights All Night Long is brilliant on many levels. It works as a coming-of-age story as Ilya learns more about the brother he loves so much and as he explores his first real love. It works, too, as a story of someone new to America, the initial discomfort and confusion of a new country but it avoids making that into a joke. It also works as a mystery, the slow, almost tortuous work of looking for a rather common needle in the American haystack.

Perhaps what I liked best about the story is how well-developed even the minor characters were. Take the host parents Cam and Jamie. They are on the surface pretty stereotypical Southerners, full of boosterism and religious devotion. Their lives center on their church. Yet, when push comes to shove for Ilya and for Sadie, we see so much strength and flexibility. Jamie, in particular, comes through as an amazing woman. So, too, Ilya’s family and his teacher. There are no flat characters. They inhabit the story so fully I can imagine them living lives outside this story.

This is a story overflowing with love, not just Ilya’s for his brother, but his mother and grandmother’s love. Ilya and Sadie and how thye come to love each other through their fears and secrets. Cam and Jamie’s love and how it grows and forgives. Even the love the communities have for their people. This is a story of people with good hearts who struggle with demons as best they can. I really loved it.

I received an e-galley of Lights All Night Long from the publisher through NetGalley.

★★★★★
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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Press for my early reader ebook copy of Lights All Night Long By Lydia Fitzpatrick!
This was totally out of box as far as what I normally read. I do love a good mystery, but not so much the thriller side of those. This book is also set in a different country  for parts, with a lot of references to Russian language and culture so I learned a bit, but it also made it harder for me to grasp.
While the plot was interesting, the characters and sequencing were hard to follow. There was a lot going on at once. The overall story was definitely a good thriller and left me guessing. I did have a hard time connecting myself to it all, the characters and the neighborhood felt a bit far fetched with their elaborate backgrounds and life stories.
Three stars from me. I really enjoyed Amber Crowies use of twists and descriptive nature of writing. I just had a hard time following story lines and deciphering.
I would love to continue to read more of Fitzpatrick’s works!
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I love a book with a creative and unique premise, as in this book: the story of two towns, linked by a refinery (hence lights, all night long) and a teenager, Ilya, who is a Russian student sent to Louisiana as an exchange student. Although the story can be sad (Ilya's brother, Vlad, is an addict, and life in Russia is bleak and hard), what I loved about this story is that the characters are so redeemable and likable, yet they feel real. Ilya's host family is open-hearted and kind, the students in Ilya's American school are accepting, Ilya's mother and grandmother are steady and strong women. We get the best of each person, even if the circumstances of their lives are challenging. This is overall a hopeful book, and for that reason---and the high-quality writing---I strongly recommend it.
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I absolutely adored this book so much I got in touch with the author and hosted her on my literary blog. The writing is spectacular, and the whole scenario of the Russian exchange student and his troubled brother left behind was moving and fascinating. I think this is the beginning of a most brilliant career.
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Thank you to Penguin Press and Netgalley for the advance reader copy of this upcoming novel. This was not on my radar until I read a favorable Kirkus Review. It’s an interesting story of two different Russian brothers, one of whom gets the opportunity to study in the United States. The book alternates between the brothers’ hometown in Russia and the U.S., and also alternates in time, leading to a mystery solved. I especially liked the ending and thought it was well done.
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Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick is a highly recommended heartbreaking coming-of-age novel.

This is the story of two Russian brothers, Ilya and Vladimir, who take different paths. The novel opens with fifteen-year-old exchange student Ilya arriving in Effie, Louisiana, from Berlozhniki, a small village in Russia on the edge of the Arctic Circle. This should be an exciting time, a dream come true, but as he left Russia, he left his older brother Vladimir behind - and Vladimir has just been thrown into jail and charged with the murder of three young girls. Ilya knows Vladimir is innocent, but how can he prove it while living in America?

The story alternates between the Ilya's past in Russia, leading up to the present day, and his time in America, where he finds an ally and help from his host family's daughter, Sadie. The two brothers were always close, but Ilya has always been the studious one, excelling in learning English. As Ilya studied and prepared for the exam that would allow him to be an exchange student in America, Vladimir descended further into drinking and the local drug culture. Now Ilya and Sadie find a way to help Vladimir from afar.

The alternating chapters serve to contrast the poverty in Russia and the abundance in America, but also served to show, as Ilya learns more, some of the similarities in both countries and cultures. The novel does start out slow and it takes time to get a better feel for Ilya and establish some sense of connection to the characters. The connection with Ilya does improve as the novel progresses and his character becomes better developed, but the slow start to the narrative does serve to impede any immediate connection. Sadie, the oldest daughter of the host family,  is developed as a character, but the rest of the family are never really developed beyond caricatures.  Mostly, this is a tale of two brothers, their bond, and the very different lives the two live.

This is a well-written, compassionate, compelling account of Ilya's life and family and an impressive debut novel. The mystery, solving the murders, does reach a satisfying conclusion which is aptly tied into the plot. The focus is really on the relationship between the brothers and the lengths you will go to help those you love.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2019/04/lights-all-night-long.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2773752538
https://www.librarything.com/work/22465486/book/167418313
https://twitter.com/SheTreadsSoftly/status/1113496653900722177
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This will linger in your head.  The story of Ilya, a bright young Russian and his brother Vladimir, who is felled by drugs, it's so wonderfully written I had a hard time putting it down.  The novel opens with Ilya arriving in the US as an exchange student but bearing a heavy heavy burden- his brother confessed to the murders of three women but Ilya does not believe it.  Ilya's facility for English was able to catapult him away from his dying town in the Russian Arctic Circle.  Both his home in Russia and his new home in Louisiana are shadowed by refineries and by drugs.  In Vladimir's case, it's krokodil.  The image of Vladimir's leg- and of his mother and grandmother- will tear at you.  Ilya sets on a quest to prove Vladimir innocent; he hunts down Gabe, an American who lingered in their town for years.  Gabe gives his a clue which ultimately breaks things apart.  The characters- Ilya, Vladimir, Mama Jamie, Sadie, Maria in particular- are wonderfully drawn.  The images of the towns, both in Russia and in Louisiana, are incredible.  There's a mystery here, for sure, but more importantly, this is a story of two brothers who are devoted to one another.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  Highly recommend.
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Lights All Night Long is about two brothers from Russia. One is tangled up in all the wrong things while the other is sent to America as an exchange student to better himself. Even though the brothers are so far apart they still care for one another and want the best for each other. Ilya (the younger brother in America) will make it his mission to clear his brothers name back in Russia. 
I love how this book flips from when the brothers were together in Russia then to Ilya life in America. Lydia writes a touching novel about the bond of brothers and how lives are changed forever. 
I look forward to read more from Lydia
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An amazing book, quite enjoyable and surprising. I didn't think this was going to be a mystery but there was a bit of that in this book. It was mainly about this smart Russian kid Ilya and his older brother Vladimir. They grow up in a small oil refinery village in Russia, a place where no one goes. Ilya, the smart one, learned English easily, and with some luck was able to go to the United States through an exchange program with the oil refinery company in Russia and one in Louisiana. 

The book is split between Ilya's time in the U.S. and his time in Russia, mostly of the last year or so. Ilya loves and looks up to his brother immensely and when the book starts Vladimir is in jail in Russia. Ilya knows that the crime, three murders, were not done by his brother despite the fact that Vladimir confessed. Ilya become obsessed with trying to solve the murders even while in the U.S. 

A new drug called krokodil appears in Russia and seems to explain much of Vladimir's behaviors, but there is more to it. The book reveals more and more as you read. My only complaint is that the book kept going after the reveal of who did kill the women. Sometimes it's a good thing to give a little more, an epilogue or coda, but actually I think it would have been left at a shorter point than it did. 

Overall an good book. And while it is about teenagers I would not call this a YA book. Then again, I'm not of that age anymore.
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Thank you NetGalley and Penguin for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.  I was not sure what to expect when I started this book, and I am glad I did not know the details.  I firmly believe that it made the reading experience so much better.  This book is Ilya a HS student from Russia who get the opportunity to go the United States in an exchange program.  This story follows two timelines, the present and the past in Russia and the events that lead up to Ilya deciding to come to America.  This book is about family, love and loyalty.  This one will give you all the feels throughout.  I really loved this one,.
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A coming of age story of two devoted Russian brothers.  Vladimir the oldest is quite a cad.. into thievery, drugs, sex, .etc. and Ilya the younger brother, a good kid with a great mind.  They come from a very poor family and Ilya has the opportunity of coming to America as an exchange student.
This story goes back and forth from their story while together in Russia and the time Ilya is here in Louisiana with his host family and attending high school.
I enjoyed this story very much.. it contains a mystery, along with some grit..but really is mostly about the bond of brotherhood even from afar.

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Press for the ARC!
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This book was very compelling. But the ending was truly depressing. Realistic but the narrative had you hoping for something more right up the sad point. The writing is excellent, the plot complex enough to draw you in, and the characters are amazing. I never thought I would enjoy reading from a teen boy's perspective but the author did a great job.

So do good. Read it and make sure you have chocolate and a funny show at the ready for the end.
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This was a novel of paradoxes; it was sad yet uplifting, frustrating yet satisfying, poor yet rich. The conflict felt by Ilya kept off the page and it was hard to think of him as a 15 year old boy, yet I would be quickly reminded of his age when he would make poor choices. This is the first book in awhile that left me wishing for a sequel.
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This was a well written debut that did some really interesting things with family dynamics and Russian culture. Due to the slower pace, I never really connected to the characters or story, so I can't see myself rating this more than a three. However, I do think the writing her was polished and promising for a debut, so I definitely would check out something else from Lydia Fitzpatrick in the future. Recommended for fans of slow, character driven stories.
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America! The Land of the Free and the Home of the BRAVE!
What better words to here for any immigrant hoping to make a brighter life, "Welcome to America."
Ilya was on his way full of hope, dreams, and a brighter future but he always wanted the dream to include his brother Vladimir.
Unfortunately, while Ilya went ahead with his host family the brother was facing chargers for murder of three women in Russia.
Drugs, addiction, despair, depression it's all alive and well in their homeland. 'Krokodil' is on scene and it's taking many victims.
Sadly it may be too powerful to overcome it all as he's confessed to the crime but was he capable of such a horrific crime.
Ilya would do anything for his brother including taking a bullet but this may be something neither brother can ever change!
What a well written, beautiful show of loyalty, family bonds, love, and hardships. Relationships come and go but brothers can never part!
Life is worth living but there may be a hefty price to pay for those who sway the wrong way!
Thank you to Lydia, the publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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