Where the Light Goes

Sara Barnard’s novel is not only an account of how a teenager copes after losing her sister to suicide but also a searing critique of how the media tears down young women and only changes the messaging when it is too late. Emmy’s musician sister is Lizzie Beck to the entire world, but just Beth to Emmy. When Beth is found dead after what is presumed to be an overdose Emmy’s entire world changes, never to be the same again.

Emmy’s story brings us through every stage of grief: the confusion, the anger, the guilt of not asking the questions she feels she should have asked Beth in order to help her. Barnard uses a mixture of verse, prose, social media comments, articles and text messages, with the use of these varied forms illustrating the confusion and inner turmoil Emmy feels. Equally, the reader experiences almost first-hand the media frenzy surrounding Beth’s death.

This is a heart-wrenching but hopeful account of how a family copes with the loss of a daughter and a sister in tragic circumstances. By counting the days after Beth’s death, we can see the gradual return of Emmy’s everyday life, excellently illustrating the grieving process for young adults, as grief is never linear. This novel is also a celebration of friendship and young women looking after each other and trying to build each other up in a world that tries to tear them down. Unmissable.

Book Cover - Where the Light Goes
Publication Date
May 2023