Wyatt's world is fracturing; anxiety, harassment, secrets, are causing
great chunks to crack and fall away before his eyes. So he retreats, and
THERE ARE CHUNKS FALLING OUT OF THE WORLD
HOW the LIGHT gets IN creates a surreal world that deftly expresses and explores the pain and confusion
of traumatized teens. It challenges outlooks, demands we see, and while brutally, heart-breakingly honest, it
strives to offer hope.
Listen to an excerpt
HOW the LIGHT gets
Wyatt’s world is literally falling apart in How the Light Gets In, an engrossing yet subtly profound story about a teenager consumed by misery—until he leaves reality.
Wyatt is fairly certain that he was once normal, but he can’t quite remember when. His days are devoted to his art; it distracts him from his pain, brought on by bullies and the “chunks” that disappear from the world around him. There is another world in his drawings. There, he meets Ellie, the only person who might actually understand what he’s going through.
Wyatt’s struggles are real, even if his solutions are magical. His difficulties are recognizable and authentically drawn; he inspires empathy. Volker writes the hardships of depression well; even without the text diagnosing Wyatt, its comparisons and descriptions showcase his feelings in a tangible way.
Wyatt is sometimes more inventive and flowery with his speech than the average teen, though his language fits with his creative spirit. He is most imaginative when he’s being snarky—it’s his self-proclaimed protection tactic of choice. He builds up walls through his actions that are reinforced by the narrative’s prose, revealing the severity of his depression while taking care not to reduce him to his mental illness.
At times, How the Light Gets In reads as a character study; at others, as an empathetic offering to those suffering the way that Wyatt does. Wyatt’s troubles direct the story; there is no traditional upward trajectory in the text. But that mirrors reality, and that is what this story does best: it invites recognition and offers a new take on a struggle that many people face. It is unique and hits close to home.
The story is about anxiety, harassment, pain, confusion, and hope in a teenager who finds it difficult to come to terms with the world around him. The author captures the angst of growing up beautifully through the character of Wyatt.
There is an element of surrealism in the story as it progresses, especially when he meets Ellie who makes him realize that there are other people who are broken like him. Ellie and Wyatt’s friendship will touch the hearts of readers.
The narration is detailed and evocative, making
Wyatt’s chaotic feelings, and his friendship with Ellie and Andy tangible to readers. The story is profound and insightful and gives hope to many readers struggling with their inner demons while growing up.