Review: ‘The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise’ by Matthew Crow

I received this book for free from publisher unsolicited in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise’ by Matthew CrowThe Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow
Published by Simon Pulse on March 10th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: publisher unsolicited
A poignant and unexpectedly funny novel about Francis - one of the best and bravest teenage boy narrators since Adrian Mole. This is an emotionally honest story about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad things can be.

Francis Wootton's first memory is of Kurt Cobain's death, and there have been other hardships closer to home since then. At fifteen years old he already knows all about loss and rejection - and to top it all off he has a permanently broke big brother, a grandma with selective memory (and very selective social graces) and a mum who's at best an acquired taste. Would-be poet, possible intellectual and definitely wasted in Tyne and Wear, Francis has grown used to figuring life out on his own.Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukaemia that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself.There's the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop-star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn't reckoned on meeting Amber - fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber - and finding a reason to tackle it all - the good, the bad and everything in between - head on.In Bloom is a bright, funny, painful and refreshing novel about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be. It is a novel about how to live.

About Matthew Crow

Matthew Crow was born in 1987 and raised in Newcastle, UK. Having worked as a freelance journalist since his teens he has contributed to a number of publications including the Independent on Sunday and the Observer. He has written two novels for adults. The second, My Dearest Jonah, was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize.

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Francis is sick with leukemia and being diagnosed changes his life as he knows it. With his mother and older brother, he gets through his treatments. Even when his two grumpy bed mates don’t give him the time of day. In comes Amber, a girl like no other. One who speaks her mind, and does anything she wants. She’s sick too.


This bright and bold cover really stood out to me and this is probably why I picked this up from the plethora of ARCs I have. Even though I know that one of the characters is sick, I knew that I had to give it a shot. In the vein of The Fault in our Stars, this also includes two sick characters who fall in love, but this one focuses more on family which I really enjoyed. I just found that there was no real story-line, and the daily life that Francis goes through grew to be a real bore. I didn’t care too much about the characters, I found the narration to be all over the place, but maybe that’s also because he’s sick himself? His mom is quite the mother bear, and her actions were quite admirable. Never giving up on her child and pretty protective even then. Then there’s Amber who I pretty much threw into the maniac pixie dream girl cliche. She’s pretty feisty and I didn’t really feel like I knew her at all. I didn’t get their relationship either because it spanned pretty quickly.


In the end, I thought the writing was good even though I grew bored, and the characters were there, but I wanted there to be something. Maybe more of a conflict other than their sickness? Because just reading about a character’s daily outings can be a bit of a chore, even if they’re sick. I don’t want to read another lovesick story where one of them dies..Unless it’s an epic tragic love story..because I don’t really see the appeal anymore.



When something bad happens you have to make sure you’re more careful.
I can cope, just about, in my own way. But I don’t know what you need me to be. That’s my problem.
My personality would shine through even the deepest caverns of despair.
I suppose being in her house reminded me that she was human.
However bad things get, just remember…they could always be worse.
A love like that only stops if you let it.

reading progress






  1. Kelsey

    May 1, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    This wasn’t on my radar so it’s a good thing you reviewed it. The cover is pretty, but I won’t be picking this book up. Thanks!
    Kelsey recently posted…Discussions with K: Blog SchedulesMy Profile

    • giselle

      May 6, 2015 at 1:31 PM

      The cover is definitely eye-catching and the book does the hospital visit so much better than TFIOS, but that’s pretty much it

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury

    April 30, 2015 at 11:55 PM

    Ugh, that definitely sounds dry. 0_0 I absolutely need plot when I’m reading. I BEG FOR IT. I like funky characters and quirky families and excellent writing, but it’s kind of wasted if the book isn’t going anywhere, right?! Pity because this cover is so so gorgeous. :'(
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Alice And The Fly // schizophrenia, bullying, and my feels hurtMy Profile

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