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Catch the Light
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Catch the Light
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A love story perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson about a girl who moves cross country and finds herself falling for someone new who throws her whole life out of order. "Beautifully...
A love story perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson about a girl who moves cross country and finds herself falling for someone new who throws her whole life out of order. "Beautifully...
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  • A love story perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson about a girl who moves cross country and finds herself falling for someone new who throws her whole life out of order.
     
    "Beautifully captured, like a photograph of a stolen moment. I ached for Marigold in her journey to move forward while not forgetting her past. Kate Sweeney's Catch the Light overflows with grief, love, and growing up."—Amy Spalding, bestselling author of We Used to Be Friends
    Nine months after the death of her father, Marigold is forced to pick up and move from sunny Los Angeles all the way across the country to rural upstate New York. According to her mom, living with her aunt in a big old house in the woods is the fresh start Marigold and her little sister need. But Mary aches for the things she’s leaving behind—her best friend, her older sister, her now-long-distance boyfriend, and the senior year that felt like her only chance at making things feel normal again.
     
    On top of everything, Mary has a troubling secret: she’s starting to forget her dad. The void he’s left in her memory is quickly getting filled with bonfires, house parties, and hours in the darkroom with Jesse, a fellow photographer and kindred spirit whom she can’t stop thinking about. As the beauty of Mary’s new world begins to sink in and her connection with Jesse grows stronger, she feels caught between her old life and her new one. Mary might just be losing her grip on the pieces of her life that she's tried so hard to hold together.
     
    When the two finally come crashing together, Mary will have to decide what she really wants and come to terms with the ways that the loss of her dad has changed who she is. Even if she can't hold on to her past forever, maybe she can choose what to keep.
     

Excerpts-

  • From the cover We drive into Cumberland, New York, late on a Wednesday afternoon and—­
    Oh my god.
    It’s beautiful.
    It’s the time of day when the light is just starting to turn gold and we’re driving through thick forest and the sun is dappling down through the leaves everywhere. There are layers and layers of shifting light. Hundreds of shades of green. Magic.
    It’s almost enough to make me forget why we’re here. It’s almost enough to make me forget my grandparents in the front seat and the tedious, awkward, ten-­day road trip and the hours of NPR and the slow driving and the musty motel rooms and the subtle humiliation of my grandmother herding us together at every single state park and viewing station, wielding her ancient iPad like a Leica M10 and chirping, “Smile like you mean it.”
    It’s almost enough to make me forget. Almost.
    My sister Bea is sitting on the other side of the back seat with her earbuds in, staring out the window. She looks lost in thought and the leafy sunlight is moving across her pale, freckled face in little flickers and flashes. She’s fourteen, old enough to be pissed about the whole thing, but young enough that it’s not ruining her entire life.
    To be clear: this whole thing is ruining my life. Not that it really matters. The grand scheme of things is much bigger than that. I get it.
    But in California, I had friends. I had a boyfriend, sort of. I had a job at the photography store downtown. I had parties, hanging under the giant palm tree on the lawn after school, laying out in the hot sand at the beach on the weekends. A whole senior year shimmering off in the distance. Some days it was still hard to do anything—­grief pressing down like a weighted blanket—­but things were getting better.
    And then, six weeks ago, a month before my older sister Hannah left for her freshman year of college in Connecticut, I overheard Mom on the phone.
    I’m drowning, El. I don’t think I can do this.

    My dad died nine months ago. If I try, I can say it now without really feeling anything. But my mom still disappears every time it comes up. She’ll be standing right there in front of you, but the self inside of her is gone.
    When I heard her say this, I’m drowning, in a voice that crackled with sadness, I was surprised. The first few weeks after Dad died, she was blown wide open, leveled by a hurricane, splinters of her former self littering the front lawn. But then about three weeks in, she just got dressed and went to work. And that was the end of it.
    I take out my camera, adjusting the shutter speed and focusing in on the tiny pieces of dust glowing gold on my window. I twist the lens and the dust blurs; leaves and sunlight emerge and sharpen.
    Then the world in my viewfinder lurches and we pull into a long, bumpy driveway that winds through a tunnel of overgrown shrubs and briars. It’s darker in here, too dark for photographs, the heavy greenery making it feel as though the sun’s already gone down.
    The car lumbers along, branches scratching across the windshield.
    “Jesus,” my grandpa whispers.
    “Don’t curse, Jack,” Grandma whispers back.
    “Are we really leaving them here?”
    He must think that my music is on because I’m wearing my earbuds, but I turned it off a while ago. Sometimes I like to listen without anyone knowing.
    If it was up to my grandfather, we would all be moving to Ohio. He’s my dad’s dad, not my mom’s, so all of this is really hard for him. He’s also been ingrained with generations of Irish...

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2021
    A coming-of-age story about finding oneself in the aftermath of loss. Less than a year after her father's death from cancer, 17-year-old Mary Sullivan faces many changes: Her older sister, Hannah, has left for college; her mother is moving the family from Los Angeles to upstate New York; and they will be living with her recently divorced aunt. Overwhelmed by grief, her mother needs help caring for Mary and her 14-year-old sister, Bea. To Mary, this news feels life-shattering. Her senior year is about to begin, and she is being forced to leave her best friend and boyfriend behind. As Mary tries to accept her new reality, she realizes that she is beginning to lose memories of her dad. At the same time, Bea has her own problems, and Mary feels unable to help her without guidance from Hannah. Then Mary meets Jesse, a boy in her AP English class who shares her love of photography. Soon, all her plans for the future fly out the window. Mary starts leading a double life, founded on lies and omissions--but she's not the only one. The narrative largely remains captivating, and readers will feel sympathy for Mary's and Bea's inner struggles as they cope with grief and change, a process that involves risk-taking and substance abuse. Major characters are White; Mary's best friend in California is Korean and White. An edgy love story in which everyone seems to have a secret to hide. (Romance. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    November 24, 2021
    Grades 8-12 Marigold (Mary) Sullivan has lost a lot. Her father died of cancer. Her big sister, Hannah, moved away to college. And her mother decided to move Mary and her little sister, Bea, all the way to New York, ripping her away from her best friends Nora and Bennett. Now Mary has to contend with an increasingly absent mother, a withdrawn little sister, and a new school. After she meets Jesse in her AP English class, she falls for him despite still having feelings for Bennett. Soon, she starts keeping secrets from her family and friends and becomes worried as memories of her father begin to fade away. Through it all, Mary and Bea turn to some less-than-healthy coping mechanisms to deal with their pain. The cast of characters is mostly white, except for Nora, who is Korean and white. Though the narrative feels slightly meandering at times, it comes to a satisfying conclusion. Ultimately, Sweeney's novel is a captivating study of the ways grief affects families, friendships, and the very idea of love.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2022

    Gr 8 Up-Marigold is lost. After her father dies of cancer, her older sister leaves for college, and her mom moves her and her younger sister across the country to start fresh-everything Marigold once knew to be true is now out of focus. A photographer at heart, Marigold lives her life through photographs, and her memories of her old life seem to be slipping away quicker than she can catch them. She knows what she should be doing, but she can't make herself do any of the things she once thought would be her life's path. The boy she loved feels distant, she can't talk to her best friend anymore-it's easier to just lie than to come clean about how she's really feeling. Her home in California feels more and more like a memory than where she is meant to be. A story about loss, grief, and the memories we keep, this coming-of-age novel deals with the holes that are left behind after the loss of a loved one. The story rings true to how a teenager may cope with the loss of a parent, especially without the help of a professional to deal with the grief and an absentee parent who is struggling with their own grief. Almost all characters are heterosexual, white, and cisgender. VERDICT While the book doesn't offer new revelations on grief and is lacking in diversity, it is a solid addition to a collections needing more titles on grief.-Erica Coonelly

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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