Review of A Scatter of Light

A Scatter of Light A Scatter of Light
by Malinda Lo
High School     Dutton    336 pp.         g
10/22     978-0-525-55528-5     $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-525-55529-2    $10.99

The summer before heading to MIT, in 2013, eighteen-year-old Aria finds herself banished to her artist grandmother’s remote Northern California home after an unfortunate revenge porn incident. There she meets Steph, a twenty-something lead singer in a queer band. Their physical attraction is immediate, even though Aria has always dated boys and Steph has a girlfriend. Suddenly all aspects of Aria’s identity seem to be in transition. Is she gay or straight? An artist or a scientist? A dutiful daughter and friend or the kind of person who would cheat with someone else’s partner? When tragedy strikes, Aria realizes that asking the questions is more important than having the answers, and that life, as her grandmother Joan wisely observed about making art, “could be extremely frustrating, but the point of it was the process.” This deeply perceptive bildungsroman thoughtfully explores several absorbing topics, but first and foremost it is an intimate, exhilarating story of first love. It’s billed as a companion novel to Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club (rev. 1/21), and readers will be delighted to discover the connection between Aria’s and Lily’s stories.

From the September/October 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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