How the Light Gets In

M. J. Hyland,

How the Light Gets In
 
 
A teenager yearns to escape her roots—but feels like an outsider with the wealthy family that takes her in—in this novel from a Booker Prize finalist.
 
“Sixteen-year-old Australian exchange student Louise (Lou) is ecstatic that she has left behind her rough family, who mock her for using big words, and their tiny flat choked with cigarette smoke. Placed in a wealthy Chicago suburb, in a pristine McMansion with the Harding family, Lou is stunned by the glossy perfection: ‘There are so many healthy, good-looking teenagers that a few crooked teeth, or short, fat fingers, suddenly take on the proportions of deformities.’ The Hardings are earnest and warm, but Lou’s high-strung insecurity and wary independence begin to widen the cracks in her host family’s strained domesticity, particularly when Lou turns increasingly to booze and drugs . . . Lou’s furious, first-person voice is filled with piercing observations that beautifully balance Lou’s teenage detachment and aching, intelligence and self-absorption, yearning and recklessness. And like Holden Caulfield, with whom she invites inevitable comparison, Lou is unmerciful toward those satisfied with easy answers.” —Booklist


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