Into the Light

- Mark Oshiro



It’s been one year since Manny was cast out of his family and driven into the wilderness of the American Southwest. Since then, Manny lives by self-taught rules that keep him moving—and keep him alive. Now, he’s taking a chance on a traveling situation with the Varela family, whose attractive but surly son, Carlos, seems to promise a new future.

Eli abides by the rules of his family, living in a secluded community that raised him to believe his obedience will be rewarded. But an unsettling question slowly eats away at Eli’s once unwavering faith in Reconciliation: Why can’t he remember his past?

But the reported discovery of an unidentified body in the hills of Idyllwild, California, will draw both of these young men into facing their biggest fears and confronting their own identity—and who they are allowed to be.



2:27 p.m. Sunday.
The diner is packed. Not surprising. It’s off a long stretch of the 5. Lots of campers. Families heading out to hike or visit relatives. There isn’t a big city for hundreds of hundreds of miles in any direction. Even fewer places to grab breakfast. All of the booths are taken, so after I push through the glass door connected to the motel lobby, I slide into a seat at the end of the counter. Glance up at the TV.
And wait.


* Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

solid, good read:
Into the Light totally had me. I was hooked and deeply absorbed and so fully on board. Until the ‘twist’. I think it was around 80% of the way through, and I just could not suspend disbelief to remain firmly on that ride.

The contrasting Manny and Eli narratives, the flashing backwards and forwards, the mysterious body – I could not get enough. Oshiro tells this story so well, giving just enough detail to keep you invested while withholding all the information you really want to know. I usually hate when authors do this, but it’s done so naturally and in a way that makes more sense to keep secrets than to share them. It makes you want to keep reading rather than making it feel like a lazy plot device.
I do think the Manny-Carlos hookup was a bit strange. Carlos goes from sullen to in love within a few days despite weeks of apathy. They may not be in their respective cults anymore, but it did feel like religious kids getting together way too young and too quickly because of a shared history. It lacked the natural finesse that was otherwise present throughout Into the Light.
While I wish the reveal near the end were more believable, it didn’t ruin how well-told this story was from beginning to end. The tension is consistent, and a sense of foreboding and uneasiness is present in both parts of this story. It feels like the answers are always just out of reach, but you don’t really want to reach for them because nothing here could end well. I can see how some people might love the surprise twist, but it ruined the tone of the book for me. The rest of Into the Light is so grounded in reality that I would’ve preferred that the explanation be similar.

I can’t go lower than four stars – this book probably deserves five stars for how well it describes Manny’s experience and the experiences of so many in the real world – but I can’t help but regret some of the choices made.


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