Picture Us In The Light
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Genre/Themes/Demo: YA, Contemporary
Release Date: April 10th 2018
Page Count: 361
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.
What I Liked
The mystery. Sure, the synopsis gives a hint at a bit of a mystery that is contained within this novel, however, I didn’t think it would play such a huge part in this story. I think that this mystery was one of the main reasons I felt the need to continue reading, even when the story started to drag a little (which I’ll talk more about a little later). I wanted to know the secrets that Danny’s parents were keeping from him and I could not stop reading until they were revealed.
The importance. There was an amazingly important story to be told within this novel that I was not expecting. It all related back to the mystery and secrets that Danny’s parents are keeping from him, so it’s kind of hard to talk about without spoiling the story, but just know that it was completely jarring and not something that I was expecting from this novel.
What I Didn’t Like
The characters. I’m sorry, but I just did not like a single character within this story except for maybe Harry. They all felt slightly childish to me and I just couldn’t relate. I was hoping for more of a character driven story when I picked up this contemporary novel, but unfortunately it relied more on its mystery aspect to keep me reading. Also, the description hints at an LGBTQ+ aspect that would be explored throughout the story, but honestly it felt like more of an afterthought and something that wasn’t really explored until the very end which made it feel rushed and like an afterthought.
Dragged a little. As I mentioned vaguely earlier in this review, this story dragged along for me at a very slow pace that I was not anticipating. The mystery of it is what kept me engaged and wanting more, but any time the story diverted to the characters and their lives, I was left feeling a little bored. I think a lot of this had to do with the writing style which unfortunately just wasn’t for me.
Overall, this was a highly anticipated title for me so I’m sad that it really just didn’t end up working for me as much as I hoped it would.
About The Author
Kelly Loy Gilbert believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She lives in the SF Bay Area and is represented by Adriann Ranta Zurhellen.
Thank you for reading!