From award-winning author Kelly Loy Gilbert comes a “beautifully, achingly cathartic” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) romantic drama about the secrets we keep, from each other and from ourselves, perfect for fans of Permanent Record and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.
All Beth wants is for her tight-knit circle of friends—Grace Nakamura, Brandon Lin, Sunny Chen, and Jason Tsou—to stay together. With her family splintered and her future a question mark, these friends are all she has—even if she sometimes wonders if she truly fits in with them. Besides, she’s certain she’ll never be able to tell Jason how she really feels about him, so friendship will have to be enough.
Then Beth witnesses a private act of violence in Jason’s home, and the whole group is shaken. Beth and her friends make a pact to do whatever it takes to protect Jason, no matter the sacrifice. But when even their fierce loyalty isn’t enough to stop Jason from making a life-altering choice, Beth must decide how far she’s willing to go for him—and how much of herself she’s willing to give up.
High school senior Beth Claire, a violinist, is desperate for her friend group and fellow orchestra members Brandon, Grace, Jason, and Sunny to stay together through college. Given her white father's departure, and her distant relationship with her Chinese American mother, friends are everything to Beth, bringing vibrancy to her otherwise "not as dazzling" existence in Congress Springs, Calif. When Beth and Brandon inadvertently see Jason's father assail him, Beth finds herself willing to do anything to keep their friendship intact and help the group regain a sense of normalcy. But she also finds herself reevaluating her habit of people pleasing, for the first time cultivating authenticity over likability. Gilbert (Picture Us in the Light) capably portrays facets of the Asian American friend group's various experiences, including living up to educational demands and personal sacrifices made by previous generations. Though Beth's selflessness at her own expense can initially feel frustrating, her gradually increasing confidence is heartening, and prevailing themes of true friendship offer readers a promising message of hope. Ages 12 up. \n