Book Club

Book Club’s next read is ‘A Scatter of Light’ by Malinda Lo

Join the live author discussion with Kimi Loughlin, manager of Buttonwood Books and Toys, on May 30, at 6 p.m.

The May pick for the Book Club will be the young adult novel “A Scatter of Light,” by National Book Award-winning, Stonewall Book Award-winning, Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature-winning, New York Times-bestselling, local author Malinda Lo.

“A Scatter of Light” is the companion novel to the award-winning and bestselling “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” and was itself an instant New York Times bestseller. In case you’re not familiar with the phrase “companion novel,” what we booksellers mean by that is that one book may reference another, but you don’t need to read the first novel in order to enjoy the second one. That is the case with “A Scatter of Light.” It takes place 60 years after “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” and while the main characters from “Telegraph Club” pop in for an appearance, and much of both books take place in the same neighborhood, each has a unique story.

And what a story it is. “A Scatter of Light” opens with Aria Tang West looking forward to her summer on Martha’s Vineyard. She and her best friends, one last summer on the beach before starting college at MIT. What could be better? But things go awry and her parents ship her off to California to live with her grandmother for the summer. Very “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but in the Bay Area. And it turns out, summer 2013 in the Bay is going to be a tumultuous one, especially in Aria’s grandmother’s working-class queer community. For you see, this is the summer the Supreme Court would rule on a case regarding marriage equity.


The book, which received four starred reviews, and a bushel’s worth of praise in the media, is a story as great as its author. Lo is one of the sharpest authors around. She holds degrees from Wellesley College, Harvard University, and Stanford University. No big deal, just three of the best colleges on the planet. In between and around schooling and her career as an author, she worked in LGTBQ media, and her work in this space won awards. She is now the author of seven young adult novels, ranging from sapphic romantic fairy tale retellings to historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and contemporary fiction. She’s also written more than a dozen short stories in the past decade-plus. To say Lo has been prolific would be an understatement. Being prolific is rare enough as it is, but to match prolificacy with quality is to really thread a needle, and Lo has done so beautifully since her 2009 debut, “Ash.”

Joining Lo for a conversation about “A Scatter of Light” is Kimi Loughlin, store manager of Buttonwood Books and Toys in Cohasset, Massachusetts. A native of the South Shore and a Syracuse University alum, Loughlin was the company manager for the non-profit, off-Broadway, MCC Theater. Among other things, the theater is known for the annual Miscast gala and Loughlin loved her time there before the pandemic disrupted her plans. Back home, she picked up what she thought would be a “survival job” at Buttonwood, but quickly realized her passion for bookselling, and has worked hard to try to make it her career. When she’s not at the bookstore, she enjoys pottery and knitting, and when she’s at the bookstore, she enjoys entertaining (annoying) her colleagues by singing show tunes.


Located on Route 3A and just a couple of miles from the coast, Buttonwood Books and Toys has been a fixture in Cohasset for more than three decades. Open 358 days of the year, Buttonwood’s nearly 4,000 square foot space has something for everyone, and the shop’s motto is “rooted in the community.” Their added emphasis on toys makes Buttonwood unique among independent bookstores. Owner Kathy Detwiler likes to think of Buttonwood as your “happy place.” Detwiler has owned the store outright since 2014, but it was founded by her mother-in-law, and Detwiler was there at the beginning as the store’s toy buyer.

Join Malinda and Kimi on Tuesday, May 30, at 6 p.m., as they discuss Malinda’s remarkable novel!

Buy “A Scatter of Light” from: Bookshop   |   Buttonwood Books and Toys

Prior Book Club picks