Picture Us in the Light
Picture Us in the Light
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Annotation: Daniel, a Chinese-American teen, must grapple with his plans for the future, his feelings for his best friend Harry, and his discovery of a family secret that could shatter everything.
Catalog Number: #155438
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 353 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-484-72602-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-484-72602-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017034519
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Artist Danny, on the verge of heading to his dream school, RISD, discovers documents that raise questions about his immigrant parents' history in China. Simultaneously, Danny wrestles with whether to admit romantic feelings for his best friend, Harry. Personal and academic promise intersect with a complicated family past in this perceptive novel.
Publishers Weekly
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.)

Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
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)
Word Count: 108,670
Reading Level: 5.8
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.8 / points: 17.0 / quiz: 194121 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.7 / points:25.0 / quiz:Q73251
Lexile: 890L

"Picture me madly in love with this moving, tender, unapologetically honest book."
-Becky Albertalli, #1 best-selling author of Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Winner of the California Book Award and Stonewall Honor!

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 Bay Area 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's 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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