Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

My Thoughts:

This book is difficult to review. I enjoyed aspects of it but also felt other parts of this book were blown out of proportion. The plot of this book and its overall premise are mediocre. Although many people lose their first love, I imagine that very few people are unable to let them go. Lucy’s immaturity and obsession with Gabe felt very unrealistic to me. Despite years passing and her eventual long term relationship with someone else, Lucy remains absurdly committed to Gabe. This choice by Santopolo felt like a slap in the face to anyone who has ever loved more than one person. It’s particularly bizarre to me that Santopolo preferred the Lucy/Gabe relationship over the Lucy/Darren one, despite Lucy and Gabe breaking up for very real and reasonable reasons. Absolutely none of these characters were perfect or very deserving of one another.

This book was needlessly long but somehow also very quick to read. To be quite honest, I skimmed the last fifty or so pages. I’d heard that the ending was quite the tearjerker, which I think affected how I read the ending. I went into this book knowing it had a sad ending and therefore could not be caught off guard by how this book ends. That being said, I thought the ending of this book was manipulative. Santopolo made unnecessary choices in order to make the ending as devastating as possible, despite the book now feeling like a soap opera.

What I did appreciate about this book was how Santopolo played out some difficult conversations between the main characters. Lucy struggled with how to balance her relationships with her career, how to focus on her dreams, and how to balance all of that with motherhood. For me, this was the most realistic and honest part of the book. No one is a pro at these types of conversations but they are, nonetheless, necessary to have.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I liked this book. I think I was in the right mindset to read it and appreciated some of the themes that Santopolo writes about. But I also did not think this book was worth the hype and was ultimately let down. If you’re looking for a very quick and easy to read book, look no further. Otherwise, I would not recommend this book.

This book is…


thought provoking

a quick read



Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Genre: literary fiction

Page Count: 338

ISBN: 0735212767

Available here from Book Depository.

Have you read The Light We Lost? What book did you read this weekend?

I am an affiliate with Book Depository and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

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