Author: Jay Asher
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings. (Thanks for the book trade!)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.
Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.
By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.
I have to admit I hadn’t read any of Jay Asher’s previous novels prior to picking up What Light. I’m ashamed of that because I actually own Thirteen Reasons Why. It definitely won’t be sitting on my shelf much longer!
In What Light, Sierra and her family make their yearly voyage from Oregon to California to sell Christmas trees. While some teenagers might not want to leave high school and their friends behind for a month, Sierra looks forward to being reunited with her Christmas town and friends.
This year is different, though. Sierra meets Caleb. The cute and troubled boy has her rethinking her no holiday romances policy. The more Sierra gets to know Caleb, the more returning home to Oregon doesn’t sound as exciting as it has in the past.
I was immediately enchanted by Jay Asher’s writing. The way he puts words together is so simple, yet pretty. There was a lightness to the tone, even though there were some darker issues to parts of the story. We all have pasts we want to leave behind, and I loved the lessons this book shared relating to that topic. I was very impressed and flew through the book.
What Light‘s setting was really cool and unique. I was intrigued by the traveling Christmas tree farmer part of the story. Honestly, I’ve never thought much about Christmas tree farmers. There’s several in my area, but I have only seen the local aspect to their business.
I loved the main character, Sierra. She was pretty, smart, and mature. Sometimes I couldn’t believe how mature she was, but I felt like going back and forth between California and Oregon probably gave her a greater knowledge of the world than her peers. I loved that she wasn’t quick to judge others and set such a great example of how to treat others.
What really made me love What Light was the relationships between the characters. All the relationships revolved around the main character, Sierra. First, there was the close and open relationship she had with her parents. I loved how honest they were with each other about their feelings. Then, there was Sierra’s relationship with her different sets of friends. Their friendships weren’t without teenage drama, but way they stood by each other was really cool. Everyone should have friends like them. Finally, there was Sierra’s relationship with Caleb. That was my favorite one. There was just a teenage innocence and sweetness to it. Their influence on each other was really special. I won’t go as much into as I would like to because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but the way they fell in love made me so happy!
What Light was a sweet holiday story that will have you smiling. I’m so happy I got the chance to experience it. I would highly recommend reading it. It’s filled with warm and touching moments that are sure to inspire readers this season.