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The Light We Lost

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  35,594 Ratings  ·  3,947 Reviews
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 th
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Popular Answered Questions
Tim Brindle Absolutely not. It uses 9/11 as a catalyst that shapes the lives of the two main characters, Lucy and Gabe, ie Gabe makes choices because of what…moreAbsolutely not. It uses 9/11 as a catalyst that shapes the lives of the two main characters, Lucy and Gabe, ie Gabe makes choices because of what happened on 9/11, and so does Lucy. (less)
Maggie Boorman This book is way, way better than One Day. I loved this book, so I decided to read One Day because I thought it might be similar...and I hated One…moreThis book is way, way better than One Day. I loved this book, so I decided to read One Day because I thought it might be similar...and I hated One Day. This book is great!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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If you’re anything like me—a lover of love, believer in fate or a sentimental dreamer—drop everything and read this book . . . now. I had an inkling this was going to be something special when I picked it up, but I had no idea just how hard this story would tug on my heart or how emotionally invested I would become.

What lends this story a unique feel, in my opinion, is the way Jill Santopolo tells it. Through the eyes of Lucy, a woman living in New York, we’re given a front row seat to an all-co
Jun 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't know if this is going to be funny. Gasp! is your reaction, I presume. I know. Without fail, no matter what, I’m funny. That’s the Emma Guarantee: Five stars or one, hilarity ensues™. But not this time, maybe.

(Update from later: I ended up writing the majority of this review at a later date from this initial bit (had to let the injustice simmer into humor, you know how it is) (yeah, I just hit you with double parentheses, what are you gonna do about
May 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm really struggling with where to begin with this book. Sometimes I wonder if its worse if a book is offensive or if its just totally forgettable. At least when something is offensive its inspiring some sort of emotional reaction out of me. Its asking me to think about what it is I'm finding offensive. Forgettable is just a waste of my time.

I'm gonna go with offensively forgettable and call it even.

Lucy and Gabe meet on September 11th. While not inherently offensive itself this is, perhaps, no
Amalia Gavea
‘’The world felt like it was cracking in pieces, like we’d gone through a shattered mirror into the fractured place inside, where nothing made sense, where our shields were down, our walls broken. In that place, there wasn't any reason to say no.’’

This book was quite a departure from what I usually choose to read. It was all in the cover, to be honest. I saw the lovely couple’s silhouettes and I said ‘’yeah, okay. Bye!’’ Because romance, people. Not my style at all. But, then my brain processe
Pouting Always
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first day she spent with Gabe has stayed with Lucy ever after, even though they didn't really see one another again afterwards. She is inexplicably drawn to Gabe and so when years later they meet in a bar the two start dating. Gabe isn't happy though, he wants to do more with his life and is afraid of ending up like his own father, resentful and unsuccessful. As he pursues his photography he realizes he wants to go abroad and capture the struggles and political turmoil which means leaving Lu ...more
Larry H
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it

"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...I never knew how much I could love another human being until I met you
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My heart is broken. I am blown away and broken. I don't know how to review this, so I'm going to ramble for a bit.

Firstly, I want to thank Putnam Books for sending me a review copy. I'm so appreciative!

Secondly, if there's one thing that I took away from this story is to follow your heart. To fully trust and go with your gut. This book had me so irritated with the nature and fragility of human beings, which we obviously can't control at times, because we fall into the trap of following that whi
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Why is 5 stars the limit??!! OMG!!! I LOVED, loved this freaking book!!! The entire time I was reading, I had a sense of foreboding. The style in which it is told felt like a confession and immediately I was apprehensive. Sigh. Lovely. My poor tear-ducts. Lol

"Love does that. It makes you feel infinite and invincible, like the whole world is open to you, anything is achievable."
Susanne Strong
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Stars.

Lucy & Gabe met on September 11, 2001. After the events of that day, both felt a connection to each other that neither could explain.
One that connected them forever and no other relationship compared. It didn't matter that on that day when they were both in College, they shared a few intimate moments which Lucy thought were the beginning of a relationship and then Gabe decided to go back to his ex-girlfriend that same day. It didn't matter that over a year later, after they met agai
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

What’s a person gotta do to get some hearts broken here?
I’ve been in search of an emotionally damaging read that tugs at my heartstrings for far too long with no luck whatsoever.
A reputable source tells me this might be it... be it.

This is what I said prior to starting this book... the depressed me who was sat staring at blank space for hours, just wasting the day away could go back and punch the yesterday me with the big mouth. 🤦♀

I'm dead inside. I feel so fucking empty and melancholic.
I have
I don't even know how to review that book. It's one of the most emotionally engaging books I've read in a long time. My heart broke many a time reading it. It's gut-wrenching. But most of all it's just beautiful. It's a love story and it's a story about love and choices we make and all the what ifs we have to live with.
Lucy and Gabe, two people who are meant to be together but when together their love is just too intense, too much, burns and breaks them. Their story is incredibly heart-breakin
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We’ve known each other for almost half our lives.
I’ve seen you smiling, confident, blissfully happy.
I’ve seen you broken, wounded, lost.
But I’ve never seen you like this.
You’ve taught me to look for beauty. In darkness in destruction, you always found light.
I don’t know what beauty I’ll find here, what light. But I’ll try. I’ll do it for you. Because I know you would do it for me.
There was so much beauty in our life together.
Maybe that’s where I should start.”

On the day that Lucy and Gabriel
Oct 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Masochistic Nicholas Sparks fans
Emotionally manipulative drivel.
Akin to a poor man's Nicholas Sparks but with even less heart!
Trite. Dull. Cliches at every turn and a laughably predictable ending which is supposed to be heart breaking and beautiful etc etc but my eyes bled rather than wept! (Figuratively speaking of course)

I sent a message to my friend Gabby after reading the first few chapters of the book. It went as follows:
"I am reading the most emotionally manipulative BS book and I'm just waiting for someone to be dead
Cian O hAnnrachainn
Apr 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I can't do this anymore. I have given up at page 145.

What do we have but yet another young New Yorker examining the lint in her navel and imagining that it is fascinating for us all. The problems of a woman who falls madly in lust and thinks it's love is so small, so petty, that I cannot generate enough enthusiasm to continue.

As usual, the prose if lovely. The sentences are put together nicely, the voice comes through clearly.

It's the fecking story. It isn't strong enough to support an entire no
"There's something about death that makes people want to live."
Book one for the Booktubeathon is complete! And I fucking loved it. I cried so much at the end of this book holy shit I was unprepared. This is a romance novel that spans decades and it follows the characters Lucy and Gabe. This story is told in this very interesting second person, and it's from Lucy's POV as she tells her story to Gabe from her perspective. And it almost reads like literary fiction because of the way it spans decade
Christine (Shh Moms Reading)
I had high hopes for this one. While I was totally engrossed in the story itself, I had A LOT of problems with the choices that the main characters made. When I finished the book, I was just sad 😕
This is a new author to me that I would read again

Full Review now posted 5/9
The blurb for The Light We Lost captured my attention right away. For one, I am a HUGE fan of Me Before You and I love any romance story about first love.

I had very high expectations for this book going in even though I knew th
May 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I won this through a Goodreads giveaway.
Ever have a friend who cannot stop yammering about the love that got away? Imagine over 300 pages of that and you have the essentials of this book. The narrator is incredibly immature, as is the object of her enduring obsession, who has very little use for her, except on the rare occasions when his feelings have been hurt. A significant portion of this book is devoted to the narrator commenting on the fact that the second boyfriend does things that would n
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This was hard to put down, I loved it!
Megan Johnson
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
I had to take a couple days after I finished this book before I sat down to write this review and even now I'm not sure that I have the right words to put towards a review for this book - too many thoughts and I'm not sure how I feel about what I read.

This book has been highly acclaimed as gut wrenching, heart breaking, beautiful, and raw. I can agree, it's all of those things. It's truly a FANTASTIC read and I want to give it credit where credit is due. It's been a while since I read something
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"What makes a life well spent?"

I first heard about The Light We Lost through The Skimm and knew immediately that I wanted to read it, so I chose it for my book club's July read (Sidenote: Most of us really enjoyed it). Then, I saw reviews mentioning the book was a cross between One Day and Me Before You and thought "oh no" but also "oh yes" - 2 books that I really enjoyed but have tragic elements. As I read this book, I braced myself for the inevitable tragedy that I predicted to occur.

The Li
Nadia Awadi
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Warning! this is going to be a huge RANT with lots of profanity. Kids stay in school.

Where do I even start with this book? Oh! Maybe with some general thoughts like:
I FUCKING HATED IT. So much. So so much. SO MUCH.

The Plot

Lucy and Gabriel met as collage students. Kissed at 9/11. Dated for a second. Broke up. Met a second time. Fucked around a lot. Started thinking they were unique and poetic. When in fact they are just regular morons. Hurt people. Stalked each other and thought they were 'f
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a love story albeit a flawed one, that’s not really a bad thing, I don’t believe in perfect love. Love is complicated, love is giving and taking and plenty of goddamn heartbreak. What this book offers through the narrative is an intimacy from the viewpoint of Lucy. You know immediately that something significant is going to happen. You wait and you wait...with bated breath not really knowing if you want it to come. However having so much build up kinda left me feeling a little deflated. ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Copy received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review

On the one hand this was a romantic heart-wrenching beautiful story and I really enjoyed watching Lucy’s and Gabe’s journey, but on the other hand it left me in such a sad mood. That ending was so heartbreaking. This is the kind of story that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.
Jamie Rosenblit
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this book absolutely gutted me...and yet, i can't stop thinking about it or wanting to talk about it...
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The Light We Lost is a story of love, marriage and family from Lucy’s point of view. I soooooo wanted to love this book like so many of my Goodreads friends. ): I think it was Santopolo’s writing style that bothered me a bit. It reminded me of A Small Indiscretion, which was also a three star read. I didn’t hate it or think it was just ok. It was a light and quick read that I did want to read to the end.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So I started this book at 9 pm last night and just finished. 20 hours total, which might be a new record. You know how there's those books that you can't put down? I didn't want to put this down. It was so easy to read and was such an amazing story. The short chapters meant I could keep going even when my lids were drooping last night.

I loved how these characters met on September 11, 2001, at the age I was on September 11, 2001. Their life events happened in time with mine which made for such a
Jill Croce-McGill
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance
4.5 Stars

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo is a beautifully written and realistic novel that I couldn't put down. A definite page-turner with great character development and a storyline that will stay with me for awhile! I loved Santopolo's writing style and the way she captures the emotions of the characters - flawless! A beautiful story that will pull you in - highly recommend!
Ms. Brandon
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sentimental
4,5* "Es lo que tiene el amor.
Que nos hace sentir infinitos e invencibles".
The Light We Lost is a story about choices. Based on my personal reading experience, it's not about 9/11, the terrorists group(s) behind it, or the war that ensued. I know these were all in the book for tone-setting maybe, but I believe this would have been the same story without these sensitive events. The Light We Lost shows a girl: Lucy who moves her life along by making we all do. However, sometimes we regret our choices. Sometimes we think "What if?". Sometimes we suck it up an ...more
Post- reading thoughts: this book left me totally broken, such a beautiful story.

“And if you do find that love, embrace it. Hold on to it. When you give yourself over to love like that, your heart will get bruised. It will get battered. But you will also feel invincible and infinite.”

The Light we Lost was a poignant story of a beautiful romance, a one of a kind romance, that consumes you, that’s crazy and has you double checking yourself, but you know is one that you’d never give up. Gabe and L
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SPOILERS read only if you finished the book 3 75 May 19, 2018 11:05AM  
Jill Santopolo is the author of the The Light We Lost, the Alec Flint Mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series, and the Follow Your Heart books. She holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a certificate in Intellectual Property Law from NYU. Jill is also the Editorial Director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Pen ...more
More about Jill Santopolo

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“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.”
“The thing about roads is sometimes you happen upon them again. Sometimes you get another chance to travel down the same path.” 26 likes
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