Cover Image: We Are the Light

We Are the Light

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Member Reviews

The citizens of Majestic, Pennsylvania are in the dark.  Within their small community, the fallout from a larger-than-life tragedy leaves the citizens wandering, mentally and emotionally, unsure of a way out of the darkness.  With a front-row seat to the tragedy, Lucas Goodgame is lost himself, but when a troubled teen takes up residence in his backyard, they begin to feel their way through the dark together. 

With deft grace, Matthew Quick provides a narrative about the complexities of the human psyche and the healing power of community.  Though the light you carry may be small, combined with the light of others, it becomes a force that can dispel the darkness.  The characterization is poignant and realistic, with no easy answers to the potential of humans to do evil.  But there is an anecdote to the darkness of evil, and Lucas, Eli, and the citizens of Majestic remind the reader that together, We are the Light. 

A hopeful read about the power of relationships and the indomitable human spirit (otherwise  known as Psyche), We are the Light will add to Matthew Quick’s already substantial list of award-winning titles.
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I've read ALL of Matthew Quick's novels, and I hate to say this, but this one was the worst. This book is told in letters, which is the main reason I didn't like or connect with this work of fiction. Secondly, the story is very repetitive. It was a struggle to get through. Normally Quick writes relatable and well-rounded characters. Sure they have imperfections and hang-ups sprinkled throughout, but the main character in this one was insufferable and childish. He read like a teenager to me. The tone was very odd. I understand that Quick wanted to write something new and different, but the overall story failed to impact me as a reader. Such a disapoinment. 

Thank you, Netgalley and Avid Reader Press for the digital ARC.
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Just finished this beautiful book today.  What a masterpiece!  An epistolary story of the aftermath of a mass shooting in a small town told from the perspective of a surviving spouse of one of the victims. Such clever writing, there is so much going on through the whole book but you don’t realize it and then wham!  All of a sudden it hits you.  I laughed, I cried, I was incredibly moved. And now I have a major book hangover.  Thanks to NetGalley and Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of this book.
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Matthew Quick committed fully to the epistolary style with this novel, but the maudlin, one-sided prose this style produces requires variation to be illuminating, and there's very little of it in this book.  

We Are the Light is significantly less optimistic than some of Quick's previous works like Silver Linings, the Reason You're Alive and the positively incandescent Love May Fail, while describing depths of hopelessness and despair that may have gone unexplored in those novels.  It's a relief that this brilliant author is writing again, but fans of his transcendent character studies based around protagonists who suffer from psychological trauma may be less buoyed by the experience in this one.  Certainly, the conceit is no less ambitious (a town dealing with the aftermath of a mass shooting struggles to accept the benign existence of the shooter's sibling) but it may have been too much to wrap up as perfectly as we've come to expect from the narrowly-averted-calamities described in the author's previous works.  

Fans will mostly be glad to see that Mr. Quick is once again writing books--our metaphorical guiding beacons--so we can forgive the lighthouse keeper if the glow hasn't returned to its full brilliance yet.

Thank you to Avid Reader Press and NetGalley for the ARC.
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I adore Mathew Quick and Silver Linings Playbook so having this ARC was exciting. The story follows Lucas and his turmoil after a mass shooting incident. The way the story unfolds kept me wanting to know more. The characters are quirky but real. Quick gave me a poignant great story as usual. Hard subject matter but a great read.
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This was a very interesting story. High school counselor Lucas Goodgame is a widower whose wife and sixteen others were killed in a random, violent shooting similar to the one in Aurora, Colorado. Through letters to his former analyst, Lucas describes his life after the tragedy, which includes mentoring the younger brother of the shooter. Eighteen year old Eli Hansen, now perceived as guilty by association, has set up a tent in Lucas's backyard. Numbed by grief, he cries for days, consumed by a visceral sadness one only achieves when any kind of hope for the future seems impossible.

Over a year we see Lucas, Eli, and the rest of the town as they try to heal and move forward long after the world has forgotten what happened in their small town. As is common with grief, it comes in waves, it comes unexpectedly, and can be triggered by the smallest (but significant) event. Ever the reluctant hero, Lucas tries to reassemble his life while helping others, convinced that surviving is more than just getting angry, but getting whole. While partnering with Eli on a special project, Lucas has his own team of supporters, ready to pick him up when he needs it the most.

Beautifully written with a hint of magical realism (or hallucination,) Lucas's letters touch on everything from the mundane to the profound. His insights show great humanity and emphasize the importance of community after such a shocking event, one which recent history has shown us is, sadly, becoming more and more common.

Author Matthew Quick, who also wrote the powerful Silver Linings Playbook, is no stranger to experiencing and writing about mental illness. His acknowledgments go into detail about how this novel is his first after emerging from a three year writing slump. It is likely that he inserted himself into Lucas, showing the ebb and flow of depression, something to which many of us relate.
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Matthew Quick has long been one of my favorite authors; I’ve read almost all of his books and gone to at least two of his book signings at my local bookstore. So it was with great delight that I got an opportunity to read his first new book in three years prior to its November 2022 release! I’ll be upfront: the Jungian psychology was a lot for me and epistolary books are not my favorite. But it was 100% a Matthew Quick story, chockfull of his honesty, humor, and quirky characters who persevere to triumph over their trials. Even though this one fell a bit short of his other books I’ve enjoyed, I am genuinely pleased he is writing again because his stories, wherever they fall on the scale, are worth reading.
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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the eARC! I feel if I read this book at a different time I would have felt differently about it. Given recent US events this was a hard emotional read. Lots of psychology references so if you have a psychology appreciation you may enjoy this. I unfortunately didn’t feel connected with the main character or find him very interesting. Though the ending of this novel made me far more empathetic when I got more back story.
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Five stars. 

This book was so, so good, I read it in two nights and can't stop thinking about the story and the characters. 

I loved the way that it was written, we get the whole story through Lucas' letters and from his point of view only. But there is so much more between the lines and the reader keeps guessing what has really happened and what is really going on. I felt everything was tied up perfectly and I really loved the ending. 

I have no more words. Five stars. 

Thank you NetGalley, Avid Reader Press and Matthew Quick for the ARC. I will post my review to Goodreads today, on June 21, and on Instagram and Amazon closer to release.
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We Are the Light by Matthew Quick is an epistolary novel with a timely, if not tragic focus. After a mass shooting in Majestic, PA, where 18 people lose their lives, narrator Lucas Goodgame pens a series of letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. Through these letters a slow rebuilding, and sometimes collapsing, of life is revealed.

In the aftermath, Lucas struggles with many demons, including mind-altering grief and loneliness, the label of hero the community bestowed and survivors’ guilt. By witnessing this character's nonlinear healing process we are shown that even the seemingly opposite forces of good and evil are not completely black and white.  

We see Lucas’ life through his words and have access to the contents of his thoughts, which are sometimes disturbing, always honest, and touching in their portrayal of raw grief and trauma. The thread that runs through this artfully crafted story is the light. Light in the actions of the survivors as they come together in their grief. Light in the unlikely relationship between Lucas and Eli, a student Lucas was counseling at the high school, and their work to bring healing to fruition through art. And light in the love that flows out of open wounds. 

In reading this achingly beautiful story and Quick’s acknowledgements we can see the undercurrents of his own struggles brought to the page. The book contained plenty of Jungian jargon, which was largely unfamiliar to me, but was explained to be a significant influence on Quick in his own life. When these thought processes are transferred to the page in the form of Lucas, it feels right for the character, and exists as a sort of lifeboat for a struggling soul. 

Obviously, this novel was penned before the recent rash of mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo and other cities. It is easy to shy away from harsh realities, especially when we want to escape into reading a great book. But tragedies of this nature need to be addressed on both the political front and the mental health front. While I don’t think Quick could have predicted the timeliness of the subject matter, this book is an important piece of the puzzle that is healing and mental health. Most importantly, it offers the observation that light and love will always win. 

This novel debuts in November, 2022, and as a lead up to publication, Quick is offering a Monthly Personal Letter, where he writes about mental health, sobriety, the writing life and more. 
To receive the FREE Monthly Personal Letter, visit his website: https://matthewquickwriter.com/contac… and enter your email to receive his letter on the 21st of each month, as well as read letters from previous months. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Avid Reader Press for granting me early access to this luminous and transcendent story.
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I love Matthew Quick's books. I think I've read all his books, both for adults and young adults. And I normally love epistolary novels, but I could not get through this one. I did not find the main (only) character compelling, not even interesting at all. I was bored and completely put off by the constant references to Kant and psychological theories. So I gave up at about 25%.
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We Are the Light by Matthew Quick is an extraordinary story.  I really can’t express enough how fantastic it is.  The story is written as a series of letters the main character Lucas has written to his Jungian analyst who will not see him anymore.  Lucas is a survivor of a mass shooting that took the life of his wife and many other residents of the town he lives in.  Through the letters, we see how Lucas has responded to the tragedy.  His wife’s best friend Jill comes to help him as well as a young man named Eli who moves into a tent in his backyard.  Eli is the shooter's brother and feels that the whole town hates him, he is seriously struggling.  There is so much more to this that I cannot say or it would ruin the story.  Just know Lucas has such a big heart and he means well and it was devastating seeing him break down.  The characters are a great bunch and you will root for them all to come through this somehow.  There were ups and downs and major surprises along the way.  One minute I was laughing out loud while reading about Eli and the monster costume and the next I was crying over Lucas going back into the Majestic theater to face his fears.  This is hands down one of the best books I have read this year.  Everybody needs to read this one.
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We Are The Light by Matthew Quick is a story about a community coming together after a tragedy. 

Majestic, Pennsylvania is a small town that suffers an unexpected tragedy. In the aftermath, Lucas Goodgame is heralded a hero, but struggles with his own recovery from the events that took place. One day he looks out his window and sees that a teenage boy, Eli, has been living in a tent in his backyard. 

The story is told through Lucas’s letters to his former therapist and tells how Eli and Lucas work together to help heal the town while ultimately healing themselves as well.

An interesting side note - Matthew Quick is also the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into a movie which won an Academy Award a few years ago.
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This book is about a town called Majestic that experienced a mass shooting at the historic movie theater. The main character, Lucas, lost his wife in the shooting.

This book is written in letters to Karl, Lucas’s “Jungian analyst,” who hasn’t spoken to him since the shooting happened, but he is finding healing through the writing. This is so beautifully written. So much about grief, but also about community care, and the way this town came together and helped each other, including the shooter’s brother. So many times, they could have easily written the main character off, but everyone made sure they’d get the survivor’s through their hard times.  

This was incredible, so so beautiful, I can’t say enough about how much I loved it. 

Matthew Quick was my favorite author and I’m glad he’s writing again.
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I admire Matthew Quick’s sarcastic and extra smart sense of humor, his flawed, broken warrior characters and his sensitive approach to mental health issues. 

After reading Silver Linings Playbook ( and watched the great movie adaptation) , I was so ready to go blind for his next work! That’s what I did for this book!

  “We are the light” discusses more sensitive issues like death, grief, PTSD, delusions centered on a tragic massacre in Majestic Theater, Pennsylvania where 19 people lost their lives. 

  Lucas Goodgame is the soul survivor of the massacre, a good teacher, helping the troubled students, also loses his wife Darcy at the tragic incident. But he thinks his wife is alive, she’s not a human anymore just like the other 18 people who lost their lives in crime scene. They all turned into angels, floating in the air with their strikingly gorgeous wings. 

Lucas thinks his wife keeps visiting him at his house, giving him advises, helping him to move on to the next chapter of his life! 

  Jill; Darcy’s best friend already moved to Lucas’ house to take care of him, frightening the press members lurking around his house or any person in town making Lucas uncomfortable. 
She also tries to frighten the boy who is camping at the backyard of Lucas’ house. 

But when Lucas finds out the identity of the person who is camping out, he lets him enter his house and his new life. That boy is Eli, 18 years old troubled boy, one of his students he’s helped before. Now he’s outcasted by the townies because of his connection with the tragedy. But he has an idea to help the people who lost loved ones to heal their wounds.

Eli and Lucas teams up to help people who suffer from grief. But each person has his/ her own way to deal with his/ her pain so not everyone in town will be pleased about their intentions and some of them may reject their help by taking anger out on them. 

  Everything in this book is told via letters written by Lucas to his Jungian therapist Karl who also lost a loved one during the tragedy. Lucas has no intention to give up on him, passing by his house, trying to spy on, wishing to restart their sessions.

 This book is realistic, intense, heavy drama! Especially after the late tragic incident in Texas, it affected me more than I expected. The positive outcome and bittersweet ending gave you enough hope. And Lucas’ narration was brilliant. But it is really sad, dramatic story shakes you to the core!

  I didn’t enjoy as much as Silver Linings Playbook but it’s still good written story with great characterization.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Avid Reader Press / Simon &Schuster for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
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This was tough to read this week...after Mass Shooting in Buffalo A d again in Texas this week, reading about a mass shooting and the surviors was tough. The best part of any Matthew Quick novel is the humanity he allows to be seen even when that human is broken. The focus is in on healing those broken parts and that was helpful after the tragedies this May has seen. I am thankful this book will come out later this year and not soon. That will allow the healing to start for our country as well.
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Matthew Quick has the most eloquent way of blending unimaginable heartbreak with optimism that I’ve ever experienced as a reader. I chose this book knowing only that I loved his previous books and without reading the description.  

We Are the Light is a beautiful story about a town healing together after a mass tragedy. The event and its aftermath unfold through letters written by our main character, Lucas, to his analyst.  The story weaves together Lucas’ recent past and childhood, and wounds from both begin to heal through the kindness that residents display for each other.  Characters and relationships are well-developed and lovely. 

This book was a joy, and has cemented Matthew Quick as one of my favorites.  I’m grateful to NetGalley and Avid Reader Press for granting access to a digital ARC.
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I have never read any of Matthew Quick's earlier novels but after reading this one I intend to do so.  We Are The Light takes place in Majestic, PA where Lucas Goodgame is a survivor of a horrible tragedy that rocks the entire town.  The story reveals itself through letters that Lucas writes to his Jungian analyst.  It's a story that carefully straddles sadness and hopefulness.  There are dark, deep human moments and light comical incidents as well. I didn't want it to end and in my mind I can see the movie already.  I highly recommend this book - it is beautifully written.
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This story tugged at my heart, In ways I was not mentally prepared for! It was sad and angry and painful to read yet also giving optimism. There are triggers so I would definitely suggest putting a trigger warning in your online listing, I did in my review on instagram. I enjoyed this so much and it reminded me a little of ‘what comes after’ I loved the silver linings playbook and he did it again with this one.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of We Are the Light.

After a tragic shooting left many people dead, including Lucas Goodgame's wife, the widowed teacher struggles to make sense of his loss and cope with his grief by writing to his Jungian analyst, Karl, who also lost his wife in the shooting.

When an unlikely friendship develops between Lucas and Eli, the ostracized younger brother of the shooter, and with the help of his wife's BFF and a tight-knit community of loyal friends and supporters, Lucas will slowly begin to heal.

Before he can begin the journey to recovery, he must confront what he did the night of the shooting, the reason the community hails him a hero, where Lucas sees himself as anything but.

I'm not a fan of books written in the epistolary format, but it works well here, since Lucas is communicating to his analyst.

With this method, we see Lucas as a man, son, husband, friend, teacher, and widower; how he's coping (or not) and the incredible love and support of his friends and community.

A shooting is nothing new in our headlines today, but the wonderful kindness and understanding Lucas' friends extend to him is nothing short of miraculous. 

Even the way they eventually welcome Eli into their fold is shocking (but in a good way).

The book pulls no punches when discussing abusive childhoods, mental illness, depression and suicide, but  the topics are respectfully written and handled especially with how each person copes differently with tragedy and loss.

Isiah and jill are standout characters, as confidants, kind and generous supporting characters. Each comforts Lucas in their own way, demonstrating their unique personality and behaviors.

I learned a lot about Jungian analysis from We Are the Light, and my interest has been piqued enough for me to seek more information on the subject. I do appreciate when a book teaches me something new.

We Are the Light is sad and angry, but hopeful, optimistic, with a positive ending that promises things can get better, but reaching out for help and support is just as important as being open to getting help and getting better.
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