What Light by Jay Asher
Genre| YA, Contemporary,
Publisher| Pan Macmillan
Publication| 20 October 2016
My Format | eARC
Thank you to Net Galley and Pan Macmillan for providing me a review copy of What Light by Jay Asher in exchange for an honest review.
From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, buy 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 to 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 one thing that transcends all else: true love. What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.
What Light is your typical YA Romance novel: Girl meets boy, boy meets girl; issues needing to be resolved; the boy has dark past; girl overlooks it and likes him anyway; everything turns out A-Okay in the end. I am not even mad about it because I really enjoyed the whole thing, with all the Christmas vibes you’re getting from such a short book, I was ready to overlook all of the clichés in this novel. Therefore, if you are into these kinds of YA novels – then I highly recommend this book.
The characters were decent in this book, in terms of how realistic they are. I liked how Sierra was able to have two different sides to her, and how close she is to her friends at home and in their Christmas tree lot in California. I especially loved her relationship with her parents, how she can talk to them about her worries and how open they are with each other. Caleb, I don’t know how to describe him, apart from sweet and kind.
Sierra’s friends, on the other hand, I wasn’t a massive fan of. I can understand that they’re all best friends and that they want to spend time with each other, and that’s sweet and admirable. However, Rachel and Elizabeth (Oregon friends) were kind of demanding – especially Rachel. They didn’t seem to understand Sierra’s feelings about not being able to visit California for a long while where her other friends are – that this was her life and that she also wants to spend time with her other friends. Heather, the Californian best friend, although she is means well – she comes across as pushy and was pretty horrible to her boyfriend.
Of course, as any novel goes, there are some issues that need to be resolved. In this case, Sierra may no longer be able to spend her Christmases in California and therefore may no longer be able to spend time with Heather (and later on, Caleb). Which, I feel sorry for – as it has become a tradition for her and her family to travel south and sell Christmas Trees and spend time with friends there. But, it really should not be a massive issue as Sierra and Heather would still be able to spend time together if one of them are able or willing to travel to one place or another. For instance, Heather and her family could go up North to Oregon and visit Sierra and her family for the next Christmas or any other time of the year, when they are able to do so. It doesn’t have to be The End.
While Caleb deals with a more serious issue, what with him being known as the boy who went after his sister with a knife. He is considered a social pariah because of this, which cost him his best friend but also causing a strained relationship with his family (which only he seems to be the most affected by). And he tries to redeem himself by giving and donating Christmas Trees to families who cannot afford them.
I guess, this book is literally what Christmas is about. It is about spending time with family and friends and cherishing those moments. About giving and forgiveness. Hot Chocolate and Christmas trees!
Overall, I thought this book was a cute and perfect for Christmas season – what with it overflowing with Christmas themes.