New Release Review: Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert, is available now, has been receiving nothing but the highest praise, and I am happy to add another 5-star review to the list! Thank you so much to Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book! I am pleased to present to you all a guest review from my favorite person, Christy, aka diamondxgirl! Christy reads more YA contemporary than anyone I know, and I trust her recommendations and general fangirling as she knows a good book when she reads one! I am sure you are used to us working together these days on social media, like co-hosting Signed Book Sundays on Instagram, and I plan on snagging her for more guest posts here on BookCrushin! Hope you enjoy her review below and be sure to pick up this beautiful book today!
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: April 10th, 2018; Disney-Hyperion
Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father’s closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there’s much more to his family’s past than he ever imagined.
Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family’s blessing to pursue the career he’s always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny’s lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can’t stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.
When Danny digs deeper into his parents’ past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.
If I were to describe Picture Us in the Light in one word it might be “complex.” Or maybe “squishy.” “Beautiful.”
I have a bad (?) habit of not fully reading synopsis before picking up a book. Really, I don’t need to when it comes to Kelly and her books. Conviction is easily one of the BEST books you’ll ever read so there was exactly zero chance I wouldn’t love this.
I sit here, a week after finishing, unable to read anything else. Danny’s story isn’t just the story of a child of immigrants, of an artist, of a Silicon Valley youth trying to get into our incredibly competitive college system, of someone who is grieving, of secrets, of family, of friendship, of love, of heartbreak. Danny’s story is the story of how complex, squishy, and beautiful our human lives are.
Kelly drops us right into the action – Danny’s college acceptance into his dream school with his dream major. It’s such a beautiful moment, where Danny and his parents recognize their sacrifices and choices (on so many levels) have made it possible for him. We meet Henry, his best friend, and his group of friends. We look into their environment – the small-town feel of Cupertino (home of Apple and safe streets). We sense his world crumbling and his resilience.
In this story, so much happens but honestly it’s all about Danny and you going through the emotions and experiences he’s having. You’re going to experience every emotion Danny has, which are across the entire spectrum. There are shifts in the timeline that reflect situations leading up to the present and help shape Danny and his community. Kelly works her writing magic and brings it all together, leaving us readers in a puddle.
When Christy isn’t devouring YA novels like the world is ending, she spends her time with her fur balls, husband, and fangirling over everything. Always loves book two in a series the most. She’s a big dystopian fan; her favorite series is The Giver Quartet. She’s loves sci-fi and also enjoys contemporary, thrillers/mystery, romance, paranormal, and YA non-fiction. I currently blog at Tales of the Ravenous Reader. You can find her at Bay Area author events and on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads as diamondxgirl.
KELLY LOY GILBERT believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is the author of Conviction, a William C. Morris Award finalist, and lives in the SF Bay Area. Visit her online at www.KellyLoyGilbert.com or on Twitter @KellyLoyGilbert.
Praise for Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
FIVE STARRED REVIEWS
*”Exquisite, heartbreaking, unforgettable.”—Kirkus Reviews
*“Gilbert methodically lays bare her characters’ secrets as if she was slowly pulling a cloth off a fine painting.”—Booklist
*“A heady concoction: a compelling story of all kinds of love and all kinds of heartbreak.”—BCCB
*“Gilbert…masterfully negotiates plot twists and revelations.”—Publishers Weekly
*“Exquisite.” —School Library Journal
“Kelly Loy Gilbert’s story is heartbreaking and beautiful, touching on immigration, suicide, sexual orientation, money (and lack thereof) with poise and care.”—Bustle
“Moving, tender, honest, and intense.”—Medium’s The Coil
“Picture me madly in love with this moving, tender, unapologetically honest book.”
—Becky Albertalli, author of Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
“Kelly Loy Gilbert has written a searing exploration of buried secrets and the heart-wrenching ways that they can tear child from parent, friend from friend and a community from its long-held identity.”
—Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Amber in the Ashes
“Fierce proof that Kelly Loy Gilbert is one of the best writers around.”
—David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite
“This urgent, achingly beautiful story shines a light on those living in the shadows. A beacon of hope and resistance.”
—Melissa de la Cruz, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Few books have ever moved me like this masterful story.”
—Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King