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How The Light Gets In Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Length: 337 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

"The best book I read this year - brilliantly written." (Mark Cousins Scotland on Sunday)

"Heartbreaking and compelling." (Observer)

"[Hyland] brings the long-forgotten teenage sensation of drowning in life's uncomprehended complexities horribly alive." (The Times)

"Hyland's biting debut novel tells of teen anguish in a world that treats such anguish as a crime. Unlike Mean Girls, Hyland's novel doesn't borrow from romantic comedy to dab out the ugliness of adolescence . . . Her dry and fantastically sarcastic voice serves a judicious helping of cheek to peddlers of the American Dream." (Time Out New York)

From the Back Cover

"Heartbreaking and compelling." Observer

Lou Connor, a gifted, unhappy sixteen-year-old, is desperate to escape her life of poverty in Sydney. When she is offered a place as an exchange student at a school in America it seems as if her dreams will be fulfilled . . .

How the Light Gets In is an acutely observed story of adolescence, shot through with spiky humour. In Lou Connor M.J. Hyland has created a larger-than-life heroine who captivates the reader with her vivacity and vulnerability,

from hopeful beginning to unexpected, haunting end.

"Hyland nails the alternating excitement and embarrassment of being a teenager . . . a writer grappling with serious questions about how we make our way through the world."

New York Times

"An astonishingly well-written slice of reality."

Telegraph

"Hyland excels at atmosphere . . . she brings the long-forgotten teenage sensation of drowning in life's uncomprehended complexities horribly alive."

The Times

"An intriguing and disturbing work which shimmers with edgy brilliance."

Sunday Herald


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 674 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1841956112
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (31 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847676294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847676290
  • ASIN: B002VNFNOC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #157,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 29 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book has been compared to Catcher in the Rye quite a bit; it's a big call but a fair one I think. Lou, the narator, has the same sharp, skewed observstins of the world and a fine way with language (as, of course, does the author). Some of the descriptions of people in particular (like flo bapes and the hostel councillor) are fantastic and often very funny.
I read this in a day as the writing is clear and uncluttered and there is a great sense of tension as you wait for Lou to finally make the big mistake you know is inevitably going to come. This last is, I think, part of what makes the book good - Lou wants to do the right thing and to live out the american dream but you can see she is simply unsuited to accept the crappiness and stupidity of life that this requires. This makes her seem simultaneously brave and niave.
all in all, a great read.
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Format: Paperback
I don't re-read books very often, but I could read this book every year and not get bored. There are always new brilliant thoughts to be discovered like: "I want to try a little cereal from each box, like a sampler of cereal and I decide to do it, because it's the kind of mildy eccentric thing that makes Henry happy."

The main character Lou is a very intelligent person, but keeps getting into trouble. Coming from a very run down family in a very run down flat in Sidney it clashes with the ideals of her host family she's going to stay with during her year in the States as an exchange student. (There are a few short flash backs of Lou's old life that are brilliant and gives you a very good picture of who she is and where she's coming from. I especially like the letters written by Lou's mum.)

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is about Lou arriving and getting to know the family and going on a two week road trip with them. The second part is about Lou starting school and getting into all sorts of trouble. Trying to fit in, but gets misunderstood. The third part is about what happens to Lou after she's been expelled from the family after taking drugs.

Even if it doesn't feel like a lot of action there's a real roller coaster to be travelling with Lou's mind and the first person narrative is very precise and offers a lot of insights about American life and the hypocrisy that's going on.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read about a troubled teenager from a very unique perspective.
Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Surrounded by poverty, crime and a family whom she feels she has nothing in common with, Lou Connor is 16 when she gets accepted as an exchange student in America. This is her big chance to escape from her unhappy existence in Sydney and when she meets her host family, The Hardings, and sees them live the American dream, she desperately wants to become part of their lives forever. But Lou has always been used to freedom - her family seem disinterested in her life to the point where she can do whatever she wants, so she soon becomes suffocated with the Harding's rules and regulations, to the point where the only way she can breathe is to rebel.
I didn't particularly like Lou when I first met her, but with time I began to understand and empathise with parts of her personality. It becomes obvious almost instantly that she is a lonely, mixed up young girl, desperately trying to escape from her unhappy existence. She is a frustrating character; she appears to have no feelings whatsoever for her own family and seems intent on getting as far away as possible from them, and is blind to the fact that she creates many of her own problems. But it is important to remember that she's only sixteen, a particularly self-absorbed age - I try to forget about what I put my own parents through at that time.... But as she starts to show genuine remorse for some of her mistakes it becomes impossible not to warm towards Lou.
I haven't read a book in ages which has so accurately depicted the turmoil of teenage years. The author writes so wonderfully and uses the first person narrative so effectively that the reader is able to climb into the character and I think this is what makes the book such a success.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A rare book - it communicates those inner feelings that can be hard to articulate and which mean so much. For me, these are feelings largely from the past that I still have a yearning for. There aren't many books that can take us to places like this one can - disturbing, beautiful and a damn good read too!
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Format: Paperback
Lou is 16 and moves from Sydney to Chicago as part of an exchange program. Secretly, she is not planning on going home and hopes that life in America will provide her with what she feels is missing.

I found Lou a likable character, and wanted things to work out for her, although at times she was irritating, and some of the things she did seemed strange. But I read this book in a couple of days, I really wanted to know how it was going to work out. The only part I didn't like so much was the ending, I turned the page expecting more and realised that was the end. But it's well worth reading, I really liked it.
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