Into the Light is a YA suspense/thriller that tackles the US fostering system, religious ideology, family, and finding your true place in a world full of prejudice, discrimination, and injustice.
I always love a culty premise, so I didn't hesitate to ask for an ARC when I found this on NetGalley. I found Manny's homelessness and defenselessness compelling and heart-wrenching. His mistrust of anyone willing to help him was sad but realistic, when you take into account the poor foster care system in the US.
Despite liking the premise and enjoying Manny's character, the pacing of the novel was all over the place. The first 75% was too slow; there was a great deal of repetition, and it felt like not much happened until the big reveal. From then on, it was a sprint to the finish. The book would have been more gripping if it had been shorter and Manny didn't spend so much time getting to Idyllwild.
The following contains some minor spoilers.
I didn't appreciate the unexpected reveal. Having a supernatural twist made the rest of the novel seem bland in comparison. If there was an otherworldly presence at the camp, why hadn't it ever been tapped before? Why not use that to bolster the cult's following and create an atmosphere outside of what can already be stripped from the headlines? I feel that, with the twist, the book lost a lot of weight.
End of spoilers.
Despite the pacing and twist issues, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes reading about religious camps, cults, and found family.
*Thanks to Tor and NetGalley for the ARC.*