Picture Us in the Light

Picture Us in the Light

Book - 2018
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Danny Cheng, a Chinese-American teen, grapples with a dangerous revelation about his parents' past, his plans for the future, and his feelings for his best friend, Harry Wong.
Publisher: Los Angeles ; New York : Hyperion, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781484726020
Characteristics: 359 pages ; 22 cm


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Danny Cheng, a Chinese-American teen, grapples with a dangerous revelation about his parents' past, his plans for the future, and his feelings for his best friend, Harry Wong.

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sjpl_rebekah Aug 26, 2019

If I could sum up this story in one word it would be heart-wrenching. Gut tightening, tear duct prickling, chest aching, I will never be the same, heart-wrenching.

The most astonishing thing about this author’s writing style is how she can touch upon extremely sensitive, hot button issues without seeming like she has any sort of political agenda. The emotions and pain she conveys through her characters is so real and so raw, you truly feel like you are glimpsing into their souls.

The ending of this story is going to haunt me, and it is almost hard to recommend this book because it demands a lot of emotional investment. In some ways, it is like watching a train wreck. You can’t stop it, you just have to watch it unfold. Just when you think the story cannot get any sadder, the author surprises you with another tragic twist. So with this one I say, read at your own risk…and with a box of tissues.

As a final note, this is coincidently the third book I have read recently that takes place near my hometown. The issues the author sheds light on are all too real and all too common. I hope this story finds itself in the hands of the right people, because it might just save a life.

SJPL_JessL Aug 22, 2019

"Picture Us In The Light" takes place in the South Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The main character struggles with family and school issues that are all much deeper then they first appear on the surface. The pacing is slow but the resolution at the end at least brings closure to all parties involved.
My major issues with the book were the characters sheltered life and judgmental perceptions of the certain areas of the south bay. Being from the area described I recognized a majority of the landmarks that were not mentioned by name and was dishearten by the author's characterization of the area based on the main characters thoughts and ideas of the area.


“Picture us in the Light” by Kelly Loy Gilbert is about an artistic senior, Danny Cheng, who struggles to bring his vision of his family on the same level with their hidden past while dealing with his deeply rooted relationship with Harry Wong. The book deals with topics such as loss, the healing process, love, how to see people for everything they are, and a little bit of quantum theory. When I first started this book, I was drawn by the way it used quantum physics to break down what scientifically happens when connections are formed between two people. I thought Danny’s dad’s quantum theory was really intriguing and made me wonder if it could be extrapolated to the real world, or if it was made up. I kept reading because of the compelling and complex characters and how the author emphasized the difference between what they said and what they felt. However, a part of the way this book was written can get a little repetitive- when Danny comes to real-world conclusions, which is often, he often theorizes one thing, then rewords it a few more times until he comes to a conclusion that sits right with him. This pattern can get a little bit predictable. Otherwise, I really connected with Gilbert’s short, conversational, yet powerful writing. In total, this book was emotional in the way it reached out and personally connected with me. It made me cry quite a few times. I definitely think it is a must-read and I recommend it for anyone looking for a heart-wrenching story. From 1-5 stars, I rate it a 4.8 or a 5. Elena of the Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

Jul 06, 2019

Book was extremely slow paced, barely picked up until the very end. Wasn't engaging at all.

Jul 05, 2019

Picture us in the light really hit me where it hurts. This book was filled with issues facing the main character and those around him. Some of the issues are quite serious too, but I really like how the author brought them up. Things were hidden for a long time, and I was quite shocked when they were revealed. I immediately fell in love with the main character Danny and his best friend Harry. Danny is an artist trying to get into RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). Harry is perfectly happy where he is, with a girlfriend and a (very) positive attitude. I thought the book was amazing, although it was very different then others I have read. The ending was also very different, but I think that the author did a great job with this book. @IVYBooks of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library


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