Title: The Way the Light Bends
Author: Cordelia Jensen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Print 390
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected unfinished copy.
Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.
Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school–via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously–Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.
one in light
one in shadow
“Light leaks around each finger.
Light that seeps in.
Light that demands to be seen.
Even if I try to block it.
How much am I capturing something with my art
as much as I am releasing it?”
This young adult fiction novel is written in a poem format with three different sections. I enjoyed the flow of each poem, the explanation of each character, and the emotions in each stanza. The author provided poem titles that captured my attention the entire time. I was engulfed in the text from the first page. Linc is such a fantastic character, and I enjoyed the explanation of her name. The character development for Linc is one of my favorites in this book since it is written from her perspective. Linc merely wants to make her family proud and live up to the same expectations of her adoptive sister Holly. While Holly is a straight A athletic student, Linc is a creative teen on the verge of being expelled from school due to her grades. Both girls struggle to find their place in the world and struggle to find themselves. Holly and Linc’s relationship struggles throughout this novel as both grow and build connections on their own. You can feel the tension between Linc, Holly, and their mother through the words displayed in this book. Will Holly and Linc rebuild the relationship they once had? Can Linc count on Holly in her time of need? Will Linc ever be accepted by her parents?
Overall this book reads like a contemporary young adult realistic fiction. The family dynamics in this novel felt relatable, and I felt like I could connect with the turmoil between family members. The author did a great job portraying the challenges faced by parents of an adopted child. Holly struggles to figure out who she is and wants to connect more with her past. While their mother strives to treat both girls equally while simultaneously being harder on Linc, her birth daughter. I recommend this book to any teen looking for a read that focuses on family, love, sibling rivalry, trust, and forgiveness. Each member must learn to trust each other and communicate better. Secrets are what will tear this family about, but those same secrets are what will mend the broken ties.
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