Blog Tour + Giveaway: How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman

6:30 AM

Summer may be close to ending, but there are still so many great YA reads coming your way. And best of all? Swoon Reads has you covered with Katy Upperman's latest: How the Light Gets In.

How the Light Gets In

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: August 6th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.

When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.

But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?

How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for participating in the blog tour/my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

To explain this novel, spoiler free, is difficult. At its core, it is certainly a tale of grief. It's gorgeous and haunting in more ways than one. This isn't a light, easy-breezy contemporary, so proceed with caution. If you aren't keen on novels with flawed characters, jarring truths and exploration of pain, this novel is likely not for you.

Fair warning: it won't be for everyone. Fortunately, it was right up my alley and all but consumed me. I will definitely be diving further into Katy Upperman's backlist in the future. Just... wow. Wow.

What a beautifully written, thought-provoking read. How the Light Gets In is, first and foremost, a truthful novel about grief and how one lives with it, with a twist. (The twist is in the synopsis, but, I'm still not going to touch base on it in my review so you can experience it at first read.)

And, in the case of our main character, Callie, how some of us virtually shut down in the face of loss. In a lot of ways, this novel hit me in the same ways that Lurlene McDaniel's books hit me as a teenager, only this felt more raw and timely. I appreciate the frankness in it that came with.

In fact, How the Light Gets In was poignant, packed to the brim with emotionally charged moments and true-to-life characters. Tissues are essential to the reading process for this one. When it comes to How the Light Gets In, it gets down to the rougher parts of growing up and dealing with grief. Upperman allows little hints of real life into her prose and it works wonderfully with the narrative, creating a balance of something ordinary and alive.

We touch base on so much in so little time. Death of a loved one. Guilt. Drug abuse and dependency. Love. And so much more. We even have a little nod to another genre, which I won't spoil too much beyond the fact that it is in the synopsis but, well, you'll see when reading.

The struggles of Callie, and her desire to block out the pain in various ways and push everyone away, her abrupt change in personality, as she suffers from something similar to survivor's guilt, is most certainly at the forefront of the novel. It is realistic and something I found easily to connect with, considering I haven't always had the best ways of coping with tragedy myself--I was able to see parts of me in her and that's always a brilliant note to be made. 

We do have light spots in between. These light spots truly usher us into Upperman's title. How the Light Gets In is exactly as described in its name, and that is a wonderful thing. I thought the entire plotline was written in a deeply compelling way. I found myself smiling at the inclusion of a softie named Tucker, who serves as Callie's love interest, and I really enjoyed the renovations that happened in this novel re: Callie's Aunt's house.

It's heartbreaking, but hopeful. It's intense, but charming. It's challenging, but it's worthwhile.

Upperman paints a crystal-clear picture of Callie and what makes her tick. Or, rather, what's made her entire life come to a screeching halt. It takes a lot for some of us to feel sympathetic towards difficult characters, but I found her acting-out-shutting-down-leave-me-alone treble to be incredibly realistic. There are so many ways to tackle grief in fiction and this is definitely an accurate representation of how someone like Callie processes it. How the Light Gets In is strong because of Callie's struggles and weaknesses, and ultimately her journey.

It is more than just a coming of age story and exploration of loss. And it's definitely a must-read.

About Katy Upperman 

Katy’s debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, was published August 1, 2017, and her sophomore effort, The Impossibility of Us, released July 31, 2018. Her third novel, How the Light Gets In, will be out August 6, 2019. All three books are with Swoon Reads/Macmillan. She’s represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Agency.

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