I Am Out with Lanterns (Emily Gale, Random House)
I Am Out with Lanterns is nuanced, complex and thoroughly readable. Told from multiple perspectives, it follows a kaleidoscope of characters as it explores community, connections, and the desire to belong. Mystery and moments of chance drive the plot; the novel begins with Wren sketching an imagined girl’s face, only for the girl to appear at school the next day. The lives of Wren, Adie, Milo, Ben, Juliet, and Hari continue to intersect in ways both obvious and surprising—sometimes affirming and sometimes destructive. Emily Gale displays immense skill in weaving so many perspectives into a rich, effortless read. On occasion a tertiary character point-of-view and subplot stalls the pace, but these moments are few and easily forgivable in exchange for the beautifully intricate plot and the wealth of diverse characters. There is an extra layer of connection for fans of Gale’s previous book, The Other Side of Summer, but prior reading is not a prerequisite to understand and enjoy I Am Out with Lanterns. Unapologetically feminist and utterly timely, this book will jump up the to-read lists of contemporary YA fans, and sits particularly well alongside such recent gems as Take Three Girls.
Jordi Kerr is a freelance reviewer and youth literature advocate, formerly with the Centre for Youth Literature