Cover image for Picture us in the light / Kelly Loy Gilbert.
Picture us in the light / Kelly Loy Gilbert.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Hyperion, [2018]

Physical Description:
353 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes suicide and crisis resources at the end of the book.
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.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
GIL Book Teen Collection
GIL Book Teen Collection

On Order



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 Silicon Valley family, he realises there's much more to his family's past than he ever imagined. As Danny digs deeper, 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.

Author Notes

Kelly Loy Gilbert believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is the author of Conviction, a William C. Morris Award finalist, and lives in the SF Bay Area. She would be thrilled to hear from you on Twitter @KellyLoyGilbert or at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.)? © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

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. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.