New Release Thursday – If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang



If You Could See the Sun' book review: Ann Liang writes true dark academia

Rounding out the new year for my reviews is If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang. This book follows Alice  Sun, who has dedicated her life to excelling in her prestigious international school in Beijing, China. She’s poor, unlike the rest of the kids at her school, and when tuition is raised for the upcoming year, Alice must raise the funds to pay for it before she’s kicked out of the school for good. But then, something…odd happens to Alice. She suddenly gains the power to turn invisible. Using her newfound power–and her tenuous relationship with the school’s mostpopular student, Henry Li–Alice starts a business to help her raise money for tuition: spying on people. What begins as a scheme to make money spirals into an existential crisis for Alice and Henry–but Alice needs the money…no matter the cost.

I just want to say upfront that I loved this book. I found Alice to be extremely sympathetic and relatable–bookish academic that I am. She’s a great character and I found myself rooting for her with every page. She really grapples with the moral problems of using her powers for…less than good purposes. She also enlists the help of Henry, who is a great character in his own right. He’s much more than the stock perfect student character–rather he’s sympathetic and I LOVED his interactions with Alice. They’re great foils to one another–despite being very similar in terms of their wants and goals.

Ultimately, If You Could See the Sun is a slim volume of a book. But for what it lacks in page count, it makes up for in heart. This book isn’t afraid to ask hard questions and really look at the intersections between class and wealth–while also being pretty dang funny about it. You can check out If You Could See the Sun at the Argenta Library today!

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