This was an advanced reader copy for the April 2018 publication. (Came out April 10th) There are minor spoilers ahead.
Title: Picture Us in the Light
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
I’ve never been punched gently in the gut, but I imagine it feels the same as reading Picture Us in the Light. There’s an elegant subtly to Gilbert’s main character, Danny Cheng. He’s artist – good enough to get into a top tier art program; however, a seemingly inescapable Imposter Syndrome haunts him.
His issues stem – in part – from an ex-friend’s suicide, but denial shrouds aspects of that, and Danny seems to be actively avoiding thinking about it. Between that and a number of other feelings he may or may not be shoving down there too, Danny’s well of things to deal never messes with his confidence. When his safety net starts to collapse, there’s no more ignoring.
Some of the well spills out pretty early, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Danny Cheng is a sweet, complicated character. The contrast between his narrative and the second-person inserts really highlight his artist sensibilities. I cheered on his love life before he admitted he wanted one.
While I generally predict plot twists, Gilbert did a better job than most at keeping me focused on what was happening to her character in the moment. I cheered Danny, and the bittersweet ending was as realistic as it was poignant.