What Light – Book Review

what-light

 

Book Title: What Light
Book Author: Jay Asher
Publishing Date: October 18th, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Date Read: October 10th, 2016
Source: I received a copy from the publisher – thank you!

 

Synopsis

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

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.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

 

My Review

A few years ago I read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and fell in love with the book, and since then I have read it multiple times.  It has such a strong message to it, and I always thought it should be required reading among teens in high school.

When I heard that Jay Asher had a new book coming out, and that it was going to be a contemporary romance and a holiday story, I was super excited to read it (a huge Thank you to PenguinTeen!)  Plus, have you seen the cover for this book?  It’s so beautiful I could stare at it for hours.  It’s the perfect Christmas book cover, and it goes so well with what the story is about.

Sierra lives in Oregon with her family, where they have a Christmas tree farm.  However, every year at Christmastime, she and her parents go to California to sell their Christmas trees on a lot.  Sierra has been doing this with her family for her entire life, so she doesn’t know what it’s like to spend the holiday in Oregon, at home, with her friends.  She enjoys the time away, the closeness she has with her family, and spending a month with her best friend, Heather (although she does miss her best friends from Oregon, Elizabeth and Rachel).

This year, her friend Heather has tried to convince her to have a fling with a guy from the area – and when Sierra finds herself falling for Caleb, a boy with a not-so-great past, Heather tries her hardest to put a stop to it to protect her friend.  However, you can’t control what your heart wants, and when Caleb keeps showing up over and over to purchase trees on Sierra’s family lot, she is intrigued.  After all, why does one boy need so many Christmas trees?

When they start to get to know each other, Sierra falls hard and fast for Caleb, and, despite warnings about only being in California for a short time, embarks on a relationship that is inspired by the beauty of the season of Christmas.

This beautifully written novel speaks volumes about what it means to let go of past mistakes and offer forgiveness, love, and a chance to start over again.

Once I started reading this, I found myself drawn to the beauty of the plot, the characters, and what it means to find love in an unlikely place.  It’s heartfelt and original, and I’m not going to lie – it made me cry a bit.

Sierra’s character did come off as a bit spoiled at first, but after a while I found myself really liking her – she was spunky, she stood up for what she believed in, and she wasn’t afraid to let go and follow her heart.  Her character was perfectly written and brought a lot of personality to the book.  She is incredibly caring, and she doesn’t want anyone to tell her what she can and can’t do.  She plants trees, and they are very dear to her heart.

Caleb was a gentle, caring individual who, because of the mistake he made in his past, has been shunned by practically the entire town.  So when he meets Sierra, he expects her to react quite the same way.  Surprised when she doesn’t, he finds himself falling for her, even though she will be leaving soon.  He had a lot of love in him, that much was obvious.  Although what he did in his past seemed a bit crazy, it’s kind of obvious that that mistake should remain there – in the past.

Heather, Sierra’s best friend from California, was a fun character who was in a constant battle with herself about whether or not she should break up with her “boring” boyfriend, Devon.  She doesn’t feel like he gives her what she really needs, but at the same time, she can’t find herself not being with him, either.  She tries to talk Sierra out of dating Caleb often, but when she sees how much he means to her, she is supportive of the two of them.  She’s kind of what you expect from a best friend in a young adult novel, but she fit in with Sierra and the two of them were close.

Since Elizabeth and Rachel live in Oregon, and the novel takes place in California, we don’t hear much about them except for texts and phone calls, but they do something incredible for Sierra at the end of the book, and for that I believe that they were good friends to her.

The romance in this book was really easy to fall in love with – I have  soft spot for holiday romances – they just offer this warm and fuzzy feeling.  What Light reminded me of sipping hot chocolate in your favorite sweater on a snowy day.  It made me want to go out and get a Christmas tree, and take some time out of my busy day to just sit and watch the lights dance.  It was beautiful.

If you enjoyed Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, I have a feeling you’ll like this one, too.  It’s hard to compare the books, since the subject matter that they deal with is quite different, but the message in this book is just as powerful.

 

 

 

 

Guest review contributed by Here’s to Happy Endings. Kelly focuses on young adult book reviews, with author interviews, giveaways, and memes such as Waiting on Wednesdays, as well as participating in blog tours.  She enjoys working with authors to promote books!

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