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Lou Connor, a gifted but unhappy sixteen-year-old, is desperate to escape her life of poverty in Sydney, Australia. When she is offered a place as an exchange student at a college in Illinois, it seems as if her dreams are going to be fulfilled. Her host family, the Hardings, has a large and beautiful house in Illinois and couldn't be more welcoming. Everything is perfect. Until Lou starts having to live in the suffocating and repressed atmosphere of the Hardings' suburban mansion and things start to go terribly wrong. How the Light Gets In is an acutely observed tale of adolescence. But more than that, it is an intelligent and darkly humorous study of human aspiration, self-sabotage, and the dislocation and alienation felt by an outsider. In Lou Connor, M. J. Hyland has created a complex and unforgettable protagonist who mesmerizes the reader with her vivacity and vulnerability, from hopeful beginning to unexpected, haunting end.

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