Review: The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: March 27th 2018 by Philomel Books
Format: ARC (thank you, Penguin!)

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.

Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school–via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously–Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.


THE WAY THE LIGHT BENDS is a wonderfully written free-verse novel. It’s beautiful and genuine, and it’s now one of my favorite books. I look forward to what Jensen has to offer in the future.

This novel focuses on Linc’s struggle through high school and her relationship with her adopted sister Holly. Linc is incredibly artistically talented but doesn’t do well in school, while Holly does, making Linc feel like her biological parents prefer Holly over her. Linc also goes through the novelty of relationships, such as those of Linc herself, Holly, and one of her friends.

I didn’t realize THE WAY THE LIGHT BENDS was written in free verse, but I’m glad it is – Jensen’s poems successfully reflect the raw emotion and personal struggles of Linc. The poems are expertly crafted and really captured the story well. [I can’t say myself about the representation of Holly’s heritage as she is from Ghana, but! If any #ownvoices reviewers have anything to say about it, I’d be more than happy to include links in my review.]

Overall, THE WAY THE LIGHT BENDS is one of my new favorites. It focuses on love and art, family and reconnecting. This upcoming novel is not one to miss – if you enjoyed BLOOD WATER PAINT (another amazing novel), be sure to check this one out.

Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


alice name.pngAlice is an 18 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.


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Are you planning to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!



2 thoughts on “Review: The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

  1. Now that this book is on my radar, I will be reading it! I loved Cordelia’s first book Skyscraping and I can’t wait to read this one. I love how free verse is much more emotional than a regular book, that what makes free verse one of my favorite ways to read a book. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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