Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Picture Us in the Light is a quiet contemporary YA that explores the microscopic world of first-generation American Danny Cheng and his idyllic Cupertino suburb. Danny is an aspiring artist and with his supportive best friends and parents he is ready to take on senior year and head to RISD. It should all be perfect but his life begins to fall apart around him when he discovers his parents and the life they built for him aren’t what they seem.
This book slowly reveals all it’s secrets–some which are more predictable than others–as Danny goes searching for the secrets and sacrifices his parents made to give him a future. I liked how in this book Danny and his classmates truly care and support each other. As a reader, you are instantly transported into the enclosed world of Cupertino that Danny is now struggling to hold on to. – Jess
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I read this very early this year and forgot to write a review! Celeste Ng’s sophomore novel takes readers inside the fishbowl of the upper-middle-class town of Shaker Heights, Ohio where the presence of a single mother and nomadic artist Mia Warren and her teenage daughter sets the seemingly perfect Richardson family on edge. The Richardson teens are enthralled by the non-traditional Warren family and I personally like books that are not YA, but are about younger characters. I feel like the perspective is more reflective and there is less of a need for the characters to be earnest.
The only thing I knew for sure in this book is that it features a custody battle between a mother who abandoned her baby and the wealthy family trying to adopt her, but that’s really just one of the many weaving plots in this atmospheric book. ★★★★ – Jess
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Told in a mix of first-person narration and podcast transcripts, Sadie is the story of the titular 19-year-old Sadie Hunter as she sets out on a journey to avenge her 13-year-old sister’s brutal murder. Summers crafts a propulsive and heartbreaking narrative that interrogates the narratives we have about missing girls. The perspective of an NPR-like podcast following in Sadie’s footsteps was a unique addition and the full cast audiobook adds a radio play quality to the audiobook.
Unpopular opinion: While I think this book is good, I think it’s an example of a book that is marketed as YA but doesn’t feel at all like YA. It’s not so much the subject matter but the perspective feels like this could have easily been an adult novel. In fact the cover blurb is by adult thriller author AJ Finn (who…has his own stranger than fiction story) ★★★★– Kat