Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1595
Terrific book!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Danny Cheng appears to have it all--a tight-knit group of friends, a full ride to his school of choice, artistic talent, and parents who adore him. Danny Cheng also has a lot of secrets, and those secrets, though buried deep, keep him awake at night. Danny's parents, it turns out, have secrets of their own, and as Danny begins to shine light on both his secrets and theirs, his life starts to unravel in unexpected ways.

PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT by Kelly Loy Gilbert is a book that seamlessly examines many topical issues with subtlety, sensitivity, and honesty. Immigration, suicide, the stress of the college application process, parental pressure, international adoptions, family dynamics, teen love, and friendships (and much more!) are all covered in this terrific novel, but no one aspect of it can define the book. In that respect in particular I think the book reflects real life beautifully.

Danny is a character who is not afraid of introspection, and he's unflinching in his sometimes too-harsh assessment of himself. HIs parents and friends are as well-drawn as he is, and the plot follows Danny's senior year and his many revelations and discoveries while building the back story that leads to the climax. There isn't a character in the book who doesn't feel real, and although some of the secrets in PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT aren't well hidden from the reader, the ways in which they're revealed are well done. The pacing is sometimes a bit slow--particularly when Danny indulges in his inner conflicts--but I was so invested in Danny and company that I didn't mind that too much.

Kudos to Kelly Loy Gilbert for a fantastic book with great characters. I highly recommend it to darn near everyone. My thanks to YA Books Central and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Good Points
Great characters
Many different issues examined
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