cover image Picture Us in the Light

Picture Us in the Light

Kelly Loy Gilbert. Hyperion, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4847-2602-0

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. (Apr.)