When Light Left Us
When the Vasquez siblings’ father left, it seemed nothing could remedy the absence in their lives . . . until a shimmering figure named Luz appeared in the canyon behind their house.Luz filled the void. He shot hoops with seventeen-year-old Hank’s hands. He showed fourteen-year-old Ana cinematic beauty behind her eyelids. He spoke kindly to eight-year-old Milo. But then Luz left, too, and he took something from each of them. As a new school year begins, Ana, Hank, and Milo must carry on as if an alien presence never altered them. But how can they ever feel close to other people again when Luz changed everything about how they see the world and themselves? In an imaginative and heartfelt exploration of human—and non-human—nature, Leah Thomas champions the unyielding bonds between family and true friends.

When Light Left Us Details

TitleWhen Light Left Us
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherBloomsbury USA Childrens
ISBN-139781681191812
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Science Fiction

When Light Left Us Review

  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    Review can also be found on my blog, here: Kiwi Can ReadI was so stoked to receive a Net Galley e-arc of this book. This was one of my 2018 most anticipated releases. I read Leah Thomas' Because You'll Never Meet Me last year and LOVED it so much. It instantly became one of my favorite books of all time. I'm sorry to report that I can't say the same for this one.The premise was so original and compelling, I thought for sure I would love it. I ended up getting so frustrated with this book, that I Review can also be found on my blog, here: Kiwi Can ReadI was so stoked to receive a Net Galley e-arc of this book. This was one of my 2018 most anticipated releases. I read Leah Thomas' Because You'll Never Meet Me last year and LOVED it so much. It instantly became one of my favorite books of all time. I'm sorry to report that I can't say the same for this one.The premise was so original and compelling, I thought for sure I would love it. I ended up getting so frustrated with this book, that I was fuming with rage while reading it at one point. It took everything I had in me not to just DNF this sucker and be done with it. Nevertheless, I persisted until the very end. I'll start with what I liked:1. Multiple POVs - This story was told from 4 main perspectives, from all different ages. It's told from the perspectives of an elementary schooler, two high schoolers, and a parent (plus an alien at one point). It was like getting to read a Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult book all at the same time. You don't know how much I appreciated getting the parent's POV. Something that I hate in YA is how little of the parental figures we get to see. Not only did we get a real live parent in this book, we also got to see what she's thinking. I hope that this is a trend that sticks!2. The Originality - I thought that the alien parasite concept was so cool. Especially when I read that he took something from each of the three Vasquez siblings. From Hank, he took the use of his hands. From Ana, he took control of her eyes. From Milo, he took over his ears. Cool!What I didn't like:1. Confusion, Confusion and More Confusion - I thought the alien idea was cool beans. However, I felt that there was not enough backstory and explanation at the beginning in order for me to really get a grasp on what was happening. At first, I thought this was a good thing. I was strangely compelled, and wanted to keep reading in order to figure this thing out. However, as time went on, this just got more and more frustrating. By the 50% mark of the book, Luz the alien wasn't fully explained and I started to get mad. I felt like the book was stringing me along and wasting my time and I very badly wanted to eat my Kindle out of rage. I get that authors want to keep their readers interested in order for them to want to keep reading. I just don't think that this is the way to do it.2. Offensive Language - I swear. A lot. But still, I feel like in YA there are a few words that are utter and complete NO-NOs. Two of these taboo words that I'm talking about are "retard" and "faggot." These words, and ones similar to them, are generously sprinkled throughout the book by a real homophobic character. There was also a supremely racist moment as a bonus. I just feel like there's no way that people aren't going to take offense to these things and that it should be pointed out. Maybe it would have been okay if the characters being called these names would have stood up for themselves, but they never really did. Which brings me to...3. The Characters - Okay, let me first say that I can really tell that the author loves her characters like they are her own flesh and blood. It's obvious in her writing that she cares about them a lot. However, I don't really feel like she gave me any reason to care about them. This book was heavily character oriented (and barely even had a plot, imo), so you really need the characters to be lovable. These ones really weren't - not to me.Meet Milo - an adorable six (or seven?) year old boy who ended up bugging the crap out of me. For starters, HE SHOUTS ALMOST ALL OF HIS LINES. He also adorkably (or irritatingly) sometimes uses the wrong words, which wasn't at all distracting. He also said really random shit at times. It got not cute real fast. I wasn't a fan.Get Acquainted With Ana - the semi-emo 16-year-old girl who duct tapes her eyelids open and puts safety pins through her legs. I liked her the best out of all of the characters, but I do think that her character could potentially be very triggering.Say Hello to Hank - the boy who's dumber than a bag of rocks and just as useless. He was bullied pretty drastically and yet never got angry or spoke up for himself. At one point, someone threw a basketball at his thick head and he was all: "I'm not even mad about it." Woooow! Where are your emotions robot boy?Meet Mama Maggie - the mom who is fed up with her crazy kids and may or may not love them anymore. I felt for her the most, because she's helpless to her kids who went loco all at once, but I really didn't like it when she'd say or think bad things about her kids. Do you hate them? Do all parents think horrible things about their kids at times? Do I need to be worried?4. The Plot - What plot? Where? I didn't see any plot! As I said earlier, this one was mainly about the characters. I love me a good character oriented book. However, there needs to be more plot in a story than there was in this book. It's 400 pages long and hardly anything happens. And what does happen feels random and disjointed and just all over the place. Every chapter was like a fragmented piece of nothingness. I feel like this book was trying way too hard to come across as "deep." I kept asking myself, "WHAT IS HAPPENING? WHAT IS THE POINT? GAH!" It actually made me pretty mad.5. Dumb Jokes Are Just Dumb - I'm no Robin Williams or [INSERT OTHER RELEVANT COMEDIAN HERE], but the jokes in this book were so lame. I usually don't mind sad puns or whatever, but these ones were a little pathetic. Some were even offensive. One dick joke is too many. I don't want ten.I don't know, guys. Maybe I'm just too shallow of a person to really appreciate the full effect of this book. Maybe someone who's smarter or more profound than me will be blown away by it. At this point, I kinda just want to blow it up. 2/5 Stars.
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  • georgia ☽
    January 1, 1970
    I WILL READ ANYTHING THAT LEAH THOMAS WRITES
  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5*This is a very... different sort of book. I mean, you see in the synopsis that Luz is an alien who is having an impact on this particular family. A huge impact, basically. But I'll let you read about that. Point is, an alien invading a family isn't your run of the mill story. Also, this alien is kind of an asshole. The book started off in a bit of a confusing way, and I wasn't wholly You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5*This is a very... different sort of book. I mean, you see in the synopsis that Luz is an alien who is having an impact on this particular family. A huge impact, basically. But I'll let you read about that. Point is, an alien invading a family isn't your run of the mill story. Also, this alien is kind of an asshole. The book started off in a bit of a confusing way, and I wasn't wholly sure what I was even reading. Was this contemporary? Was it sci-fi? The story is told through several POVs- the three siblings and their mother (technically, a little from Luz, too). I didn't mind that part, actually. It's a very character driven story, so I liked the opportunity to get to know all the characters in depth. My real problem with the beginning was that there wasn't much happening, and I was confused, and it led to me not connecting immediately. But then, as the book went on (and it's a bit long for a contemporary, at over 400 pages), I really grew to care about this family. I needed to know their stories, I wanted them to be okay. Frankly, I wanted to know if Luz was even a real thing or a construct of their imagination, or something else entirely. I really had no idea where the story was headed, and I quite liked that! I was also mildly disappointed by the end; it wasn't quite as epic/surprising as I'd hoped. It wasn't terrible or anything, mind you, and it very well may just be my personal taste. Maybe you'll love it. But my investment in the characters outweighed my disappointments in this book. I loved watching them grow and develop, make friends and see their relationships change and evolve. I loved their interactions as a family, too. While they were often messy, they also seemed realistic. Their mother cared so much for them, but always felt overwhelmed and like she wasn't doing enough. In turn, each of the children had their own crosses to bear. It all felt incredibly honest. Bottom line: While the plot was on the slow side, and I had some moments of confusion, the characters and the love they shared made up for my dislikes, no question. *Copy provided for review
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    It's a little bit of bizarre premise if you're not into aliens but this book is SO GOOD and yeah there's an alien but even more so, it's about life and family and friends and trauma and loving yourself. Read this book with a friend because you are going to need someone to talk about it with!! I was so sad when I reached the end because I didn't want to leave these characters!
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it. This isn't a perfect book, it's a little mangled as far as a time line goes with pre-Luz, Luz, post-Luz but I was racing near the end to get to the ending that had me welling up. Leah Thomas has found just a great blend of sci-fi and realism. I forgive this book for not being the next book in the Because You'll Never Meet Me series, it's really that good.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    This book was an absolute struggle for me. STRUGGLE. Why? It was too wordy... as if Thomas was trying so hard to make this story magical and engaging. Was it? Not at all. It was hella confusing and I had no idea what was going on... It was simply trying to be a bigger story than what it was.
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  • Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    Holy shit, this book. Hooooly shiiiiit. Punched in the feels, over and over. In the best possible way.
  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    Images from this complicated, layered, grief-imbued story will stay with me.Extraordinarily affecting.
  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    Confusing start, but other than that this was totally a me book? Loved the characters.
  • Celia Daughter)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!This is a story of three siblings who get possessed, in a way by an alien parasite. Sounds simple, right?Nope.First off, this story is told by multiple POV's so if you're not into that, you can stop here. What I love about this is that you are seeing the story through different ages since the kids range from age seven to almost eighteen. And then you have the mother and the alien toward the end.The story gave me a definite Spielberg vibe. We have three kids who ha Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!This is a story of three siblings who get possessed, in a way by an alien parasite. Sounds simple, right?Nope.First off, this story is told by multiple POV's so if you're not into that, you can stop here. What I love about this is that you are seeing the story through different ages since the kids range from age seven to almost eighteen. And then you have the mother and the alien toward the end.The story gave me a definite Spielberg vibe. We have three kids who have very different views of what the alien had done to their bodies and a mother desperately trying to help them the best way she possibly can. This alien "Luz" took young Milo's ears, Ana's sight and Hank's use of his hands.At first I was a bit confused since the author kind of throws you into it with little explanation. You collect hints along the way, but nothing is fully explained until toward the end of the book. To me, I liked this a lot because it kept me reading and wanting to know what in ever living Hell is going on. Because that is what I said after each chapter. Also this face. O_OThe plot is simple once you break it down. We have three kids trying to live life after this alien invaded them for a summer, coping with their father who had left them and a sort of confusing love life between Hank, who has broken up with his boyfriend in which his sister, Ana falls for, but Hank doesn't know it and seems to fall for his straight friend who may or may not be gay and I'm over here like, Ana has stars for eyes and nobody seems to question that.Through all of this, we have this alien who decides he wants to do some more damage which builds up to a climatic ending that had me on the edge. I couldn't put the damn book down until i knew what happened. I forgot to eat.All in all, I loved the emotion put into this book which is more than an alien story. it's a story of coming of age and acceptance and sorrow. There's something deeper in there that had me dwelling on it after I was done. It's something poetic. I will probably buy the copy when it comes out.
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  • Brittani
    January 1, 1970
    TW: self harm and suicidal thoughts.If you're a fan of Shaun David Hutchinson's writing, I definitely recommend you check out a book by Leah Thomas. Their books both have the whole "contemporary except this one specific science fiction aspect that's completely normal/accepted" thing going on and they're both really excellent at it. I went into this thinking it would be one thing and it completely surprised me by being almost the exact opposite. I won't say anything more than that because I think TW: self harm and suicidal thoughts.If you're a fan of Shaun David Hutchinson's writing, I definitely recommend you check out a book by Leah Thomas. Their books both have the whole "contemporary except this one specific science fiction aspect that's completely normal/accepted" thing going on and they're both really excellent at it. I went into this thinking it would be one thing and it completely surprised me by being almost the exact opposite. I won't say anything more than that because I think it adds to the reading experience. I really loved the Vasquez family and I want to hold them and protect them from the world. This was lovely and weird and it made me think. It was complicated and full of grief and it left me with my own feelings of longing. Leah Thomas is such an underrated author and she writes good stuff.I was provided a free copy of this on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ashley Collins
    January 1, 1970
    A solid 4.5 stars!Not (as much of) my favorite like the BYNMM duology, but I'm so in love with the concept that I don't care that I didn't cry this time! I love how this all wrapped up, love these characters (especially Milo! what a cutie!), and am so happy to see Leah trying new, cool sci-fi concepts in each book she's written thus far. Can't wait to buy the published, physical copy - hopefully it has a gorgeous hardcover!!
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  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    Such a poetic writer and completely original and imaginative.
  • Joshualyn Prater
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC copy from netgalley for my honest review,  so thank you netgalley and publishers for offering me this book! ♡This is a story about life and family and friends and trauma and loving yourself. When the Vasquez siblings’ father left, it seemed nothing could remedy the absence in their lives . . . until a shimmering figure named Luz appeared in the canyon behind their house. Luz filled the void. He shot hoops with seventeen-year-old Hank’s hands. He showed fourteen-year-old Ana cin I received an ARC copy from netgalley for my honest review,  so thank you netgalley and publishers for offering me this book! ♡This is a story about life and family and friends and trauma and loving yourself. When the Vasquez siblings’ father left, it seemed nothing could remedy the absence in their lives . . . until a shimmering figure named Luz appeared in the canyon behind their house. Luz filled the void. He shot hoops with seventeen-year-old Hank’s hands. He showed fourteen-year-old Ana cinematic beauty behind her eyelids. He spoke kindly to eight-year-old Milo. But then Luz left, too, and he took something from each of them. As a new school year begins, Ana, Hank, and Milo must carry on as if an alien presence never altered them. But how can they ever feel close to other people again when Luz changed everything about how they see the world and themselves? In an imaginative and heartfelt exploration of human—and non-human—nature, Leah Thomas champions the unyielding bonds between family and true friends. I give this book a 4 star rating!
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  • Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide/Novelly Yours)
    January 1, 1970
    You had me at "parallel dimensions"!
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