Engaging read

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A SCATTER OF LIGHT is an enthralling and moving YA coming-of-age story. Aria is 18 years old, and after a terrible and public situation with a boy, her parents have decided to send her to her grandmother's house for the summer before she begins college at MIT. Aria is still reeling from the way that everything happened when she arrives to the Bay Area.

Her grandmother is Joan West, famous artist, and she appreciates the time spent with her granddaughter while also asking for her help on a big project. As part of it, Aria is digging through her grandfather's old files and helping to sort them. Not long after she arrives, Aria meets Steph, her grandmother's gardener. Aria feels an attraction unlike she has before, and she is questioning what that means for her identity. As she spends the summer with Steph and Steph's friends, she begins to understand who she is, what she wants, and how to make sense of the chaos that is her feelings about friends and her family.

What I loved: This is a really enthralling read about figuring out yourself, understanding challenging family members, and discovering your own path forward. Aria comes from a line of artists and engineers, and she is determined to make her mark on the world with a path akin to the latter. As she spends the summer with her grandmother though, she begins to learn more about art and its appeal and challenges. There are some really poignant discussions of art with parallels to life throughout the book.

Aria's feelings are as consuming to the reader as they are to her. Steph has a girlfriend, but Aria cannot help but feel the pull toward her. In many ways, Steph will be a defining character in her life and self-discovery because of what she represents more than precisely who she is. That being said, there are definitely some feelings being caught all around. The writing has a lovely and captivating flow to it, so it is easy to get pulled in and caught up in the feelings of it all.

The strong themes around family, art, self-discovery, prejudice, love, and friendship all shine through the text. The ending was unexpected, but it really brought all of these points home in a big way. Life is complicated, and so is Aria's story - and it felt all the more real for it.

Final verdict: A consuming and compelling read, A SCATTER OF LIGHT features lyrical prose, unforgettable characters, and a powerful journey of self-discovery. Highly recommend for fans of RISE TO THE SUN, HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE, and I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST.