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Picture Us In the Light
Cover of Picture Us In the Light
Picture Us In the Light
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"Picture me madly in love with this moving, tender, unapologetically honest book." —Becky Albertalli, William C. Morris Award winning author of Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda 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 façade 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.
"Picture me madly in love with this moving, tender, unapologetically honest book." —Becky Albertalli, William C. Morris Award winning author of Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda 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 façade 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.
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 12, 2018
    It’s easy to pigeonhole books: this one’s an immigrant story, this will appeal to readers who have lost someone to suicide, here’s a doomed love story, and so on. Gilbert (Conviction) includes all these elements and more in this novel, masterfully negotiating plot twists and revelations while keeping the focus on her characters. Danny Cheng is an artist and one of the least wealthy kids at Silicon Valley High School; when he gets a full scholarship to RISD, he pictures his “whole life radiating like a sunbeam out from this one point.” But the sunbeam is shadowed by the guilt and grief that Danny, his best friend Harry, and Harry’s girlfriend feel about their friend Sandra’s death, and it fades entirely when his father’s job loss forces the family to move. The move dredges up secrets that Danny’s Chinese immigrant parents have been keeping and even threatens his college future. And the love story? It’s there too, in the interstices, another secret that Gilbert handles subtly and surprisingly. Ages 14–up. Agent: Adriann Ranta Zurhellen, Foundry Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2018

    Gr 9 Up-A glimpse into the lives of teens who are dealing with issues surrounding academic excellence and parental pressure. This offering by the author of Conviction tackles topics such as suicide, sexual identity, and loss. Danny Cheng and his friends attend one of Cupertino's privileged public high schools and future success is almost certain. Danny's artistic talent has been recognized by his dream school, RISD, and no one is more proud of his full scholarship than his first-generation Chinese American parents. When Danny accidentally discovers a box of his father's papers containing copies of names, photos, and public records of a powerful Silicon Valley family, he wonders if his parents are involved in something illegal with ties to their former life in China. On the cusp of adulthood yet under consistent parental watch, Danny is determined to unravel the mystery of his family's painful past while navigating increasingly complicated personal relationships and school life. The strength of this novel lies in the ambitious main character's simultaneous snark and vulnerability, which sways readers' loyalty between him and his well-meaning parents. Uncomfortable feelings are communicated through smart, acerbic exchanges and Danny's inner monologues. Dreamlike flashbacks smoothly weave the past's secrets into present-day plotlines. Despite their obvious wealth and sheltered upbringings, the characters are a likable complement to the strange but plausible underlying mystery. The author demonstrates exquisite facility with tech-savvy teen-speak in every scenario and balances the authentic dialogue with elegant prose. VERDICT An excellent choice for YA collections.-Jane Miller, Nashville Public Library

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 1, 2018
    Family, art, love, duty, and longing collide in this painfully beautiful paean to the universal human need for connection. Cupertino, California, high school senior Danny Cheng has a tight circle of friends, adoring parents, and a full scholarship to his dream school, the Rhode Island School of Design. But lurking just beneath the surface are secrets and tensions that threaten to tear apart everything he holds dear. Closeted Danny has kept hidden his longtime attraction to his best friend, Harry Wong, who is in a serious relationship with Danny's close friend Regina Chan. Some of his parents' oddities also turn out to be more than just eccentricity; they are hiding something dark from their past. Danny knows he had an older sister who died in China, but little beyond that. He stumbles across a mysterious file of papers, but his parents refuse to explain. Meanwhile, some in Danny's circle of school friends are struggling with demons of their own. Gilbert paints a vivid portrait of a largely Asian-American community, diverse in terms of socio-economic status, ethnicity, and religious faith. While the topics dealt with may be heavy, the book is suffused with the warmth of the characters' love for one another. Imperfect in their human frailty and noble in their desire to do the best they can, they are universally recognizable and sympathetic.Exquisite, heartbreaking, unforgettable--and, ultimately, uplifting. (Fiction. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Picture Us In the Light
Kelly Loy Gilbert
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