Quiet, devastating and powerful

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A Scatter of Light follows Aria West, a teenage girl who has just graduated from high school and who has been sent to stay with her grandmother for the summer after a humiliating incident involving nude pictures going viral. She is not happy about this change of summer plans, as she had hoped to spend the summer on Martha's Vinyard with her two best friends.
Then she meets Steph, her grandmother's gardener, and Steph's friends, and discovers a part of herself that she had not known existed. Set during the summer that gay marriage was legalized in California, A Scatter of Light is a queer coming-of-age story with well-developed characters, difficult emotions and complex relationships. Themes explored are those of art, identity, sexuality, memory, grief and the passage of time. I loved the relationship between Aria and her artist grandmother Joan, who finds herself always making art about time.
A Scatter of Light is quiet, bittersweet, devastating and beautifully written. What makes it even more powerful is that it is from the Aria's perspective ten years in the future. Although described as a companion novel to Last Night at the Telegraph Club, these books can be read as standalones. However, reading both allows one to see the evolution of LBGTQ+ rights between the 1950s and 2013 from the perspectives of members of the same family, and to feel the passage of time even more profoundly.