Review// The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

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Author: Jill Santopolo
Series: Standalone
Genre: Romance
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Book Length: 328 pages 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

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 Review:

I thought this was really beautiful. I loved how it was formatted in a sort of love letter to the narrator’s first love, Gabe, detailing their origin story. Although at first it seemed like Gabe and Lucy’s story ended once he moved from New York to Iraq to photograph for the Associated Press during the war, it was really only put on pause as they kept in touch from time to time, even as both moved on to different lovers.

This book really tugged at my heartstrings – it raised the question of whether our choices, fate, or a combination of both come to play when major turning points happen in our lives that change us forever. Gabe was a huge part of Lucy’s life and remained in her heart even when she moved on with someone else; he changed her forever. And although sometimes I just wanted to reach into the book and shake her by the shoulders to bring her to the reality that her and Gabe could never be together again, at the same time, I felt for her. It didn’t matter how good of a guy Darren was to her afterward, or how wonderful the family they’d built together was, because in her heart she was always comparing him to Gabe, and that made me extremely sad.

This was a very unforgettable book, and one of the most tragically beautiful love stories I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommend.

“Love does that. It makes you feel infinite and invincible, like the whole world is open to you, anything is achievable, and each day will be filled with wonder. Maybe it’s the act of opening yourself up, letting someone else in— or maybe it’s the act of caring so deeply about another person that it expands your heart. I’ve heard so many people say some version of I never knew how much I could love another human being until . . . And after the until is usually something like my niece was born or I gave birth to a child or I adopted a baby. I never knew how much I could love another human being until I met you, Gabe.
I’ll never forget that.”

-Catherine

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