Title: What Light by Jay Asher
Genres: YA, Romance, Contemporary, Christmas
Published by: Razorbill (Oct. 11, 2016)
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.
What I Thought
I just knew I was going to love this book! For one thing, it’s Christmas, and if you know me, you know I absolutely love Christmas (I had my tree up the first week in November, and I just took it down yesterday). So, What Light sounded absolutely perfect to begin with. Also, I love Jay Asher’s books. I’ve read both 13 Reasons Why and The Future of Us and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. So, when I found out he was writing another book I was super excited. What Light did not disappoint either!
One of the things I loved most about this book was its overall theme of love and forgiveness. Yes, there is romantic love, but it goes far beyond that. The giving and receiving of love and forgiveness from Sierra, parents, friends, Caleb, etc. There is so much real, true love and forgiveness found within the pages of this book. I found it to be so extremely fitting for this novel, especially because it takes place during Christmas – a season known for its love and second chances.
The atmosphere in What Light is so perfect, too! From her home back in Oregon, to the cozy trailer she lives at while at the tree lot, and even the tree lot itself, everything felt so fun and festive. Also, never have a been more thirsty for a peppermint mocha than I was while reading this book. The atmosphere perfectly captured the spirit of Christmas throughout the entire novel.
I found myself really enjoying all the characters, too. I particularly loved Sierra and Heather’s friendship, and that despite them only seeing each other at Christmas, the bond they shared was so strong and true. Caleb and Sierra’s relationship was nicely paced as well. While it was clear they had an instant connection it was not unrealistic, instant love. I really appreciated that they both took the time to get to know each other. The romance in this book was very sweet and innocent, and I really loved that.
Also, I really appreciated the cleanness of this book. With no language (that I can recall), and nothing other than a few kisses, I found the maturity in this novel, mixed with its innocence to be very refreshing.
Overall, What Light was a very enjoyable, Christmas book. I am glad I read it! I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a lovely little Christmas-y book to read.