Beautiful coming-of-age story

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A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo is a coming of age story set in 2013 that follows Aria Tang West during the summer between her high school graduation and first year of college. Aria was supposed to be at Martha's Vineyard with her friends Tasha and Haley this summer, but she is sent to California to stay with her grandmother instead after a scandal involving leaked photos of her at a party. She is upset about this decision until she meets Steph, her grandmother's gardener, who introduces her to the queer community in San Francisco. Aria begins to question everything about herself and her identity, from her sexuality to her future career options. A Scatter of Light is a beautiful story of one girl's summer of discovery that is the perfect follow up to Last Night at the Telegraph Club.

This story mainly centers around Aria and her relationships. She is estranged from her two best friends after a boy posted topless photos of her and she was uninvited from her summer at Martha's Vineyard. She makes new friends in Steph, Lisa, and Mel, all three of which help her to figure out she isn't straight like she'd always assumed. She is staying with her grandmother, an artist, who helps Aria reignite her passion for art and creating. Her grandfather, even in death, helps her commit to her love of astronomy and her future studies at MIT.

The story is set in 2013, at the time that Prop 8 was overturned in California, legalizing same-sex marriage. For Aria and her newfound friends, this means celebrating with the greater queer community. There is only a small mention of Lily Hu, a relative of Aria's and the main character from Last Night at the Telegraph Club, where she marries her longtime partner Kath.

This is not a happy story that ends with a happily ever after, and that's okay. It's a story about love and loss. Aria has her first love, which she eventually loses, and she deals with the loss of family members. A Scatter of Light was beautifully written and heartbreaking, and very much worth the read. I loved reading it, and I know it will be one I'll reread in the future.