Book Review: Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert // a personal review about asian american identity, suicide, and racism

Title: Picture Us in the Light

Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert

Published: April 10, 2018

Pages: 361

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Book DepositoryGoodreads

Goodreads Description: 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 facade 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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If someone ever asked me what it was like growing up as a first-generation Asian American in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would hand them this book.

At its surface, Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert was a story about high school senior, Danny Cheng, uncovering a family secret. But, peel it back, and the book had so many more layers.

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Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley // the start of my era of diverse reading

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Title: Highly Illogical Behavior

Author: John Corey Whaley

Published: May 10, 2016

Pages: 256

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Amazon / Barnes and Nobles / Goodreads

Goodreads Description: Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.

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I can count how many books I have read about a protagonist with a mental illness on one hand. For that reason, I decided to pick up this book in order to diversify my reading. I also heard that it does a does a good job of respectfully portraying agoraphobia.

Continue reading “Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley // the start of my era of diverse reading”