Book Reviews

What Light by Jay Asher

Books Jay Asher
This book cover image released by Razorbill shows “What Light,” the latest book by Jay Asher, his first solo work of fiction in nearly a decade. The book is set for release on Oct. 11, 2016. (Razorbill via AP)

I’ve been trying really hard to be good about the books I got from BEA. Some of them release in the next few months and some not until next year, so I’m trying to work my way through them by release date. Unfortunately, Jay Asher kind of ruined the system I had going. I was staring at my shelf trying to figure out the next book I wanted to read and I just couldn’t stop looking at the cover of What Light. I knew I couldn’t wait anymore and just decided to dive in (even if I am five months early). Guys, I am so glad I did. I finished this book in one sitting (about three hours) and I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes with how warm and fuzzy I feel. I can’t even follow proper blogger protocol and wait to post a review. I need to talk to someone about this book and tell you guys how wonderful it made me feel (don’t worry, I’ll post this again and more when the release date gets closer!)
Sierra lives in Oregon on a Christmas tree farm. Christmas is what her family does. They grow trees and sell trees. Right after Thanksgiving each year, they drive down to a small town in California and set up a Christmas tree lot and sell trees from a trailer. This tradition has been in their family since Sierra’s dad was young, so to say that this is a big part of their lives in an understatement. Unfortunately, this might be their last year making the trip down to California. The tree lot hasn’t been doing well financially, so it doesn’t make sense to keep it up. But Sierra has spent her entire life living two lives- one in Oregon for most of the year and then one in California for a month out of the year. One of her best friends, Heather, and Heather’s family is in California and this month is the only time they get to see each other. With the threat of not coming back looming over her, Sierra (with the help of Heather) decide to make this tree season the best yet. When Sierra meets Caleb, her world is thrown for a loop. He has a dark past that everyone in the small town likes to whisper and gossip about. Sierra soon learns that the heart wants what the heart wants and she has to decide if Caleb is really the person she thinks he is or if he is the person everyone else thinks he is. On top of all of that, she has to decide how to handle possibly her last Christmas ever in California.

What is so perfect to me about this whole thing is that it isn’t just about Sierra and Caleb. We don’t know what is going to happen to their relationship, but we also don’t know what is going to happen with Sierra and her family, the fate of the tree lot, Caleb and his family, Caleb and the town, Sierra and Heather, Heather and Devon, Sierra and her friends in Oregon, etc. There is just SO much that is up in the air. It would have been really easy to just focus on the romance part of this, but the author did an amazing job of giving you a complete view of Sierra’s life. I was right there with her feeling discouraged and confused and hopeful…. and mostly, young. When you’re young like Sierra, your whole life is out of your hands. While I was reading, I was transported back to feeling like I was in high school and feeling like I couldn’t control any aspect of my life. This is how you can tell a good contemporary novel from an average one.

The ending….. oh the ending. You hit me right in the feels, Jay. From the gift exchange to the last page, I had tears running down my face. It is such a bittersweet ending, but that happens a lot growing up. You don’t know where you’ll be a year from now, let alone if you’ll even be the same person. I think that is why this book ended in the best way possible, It is sad and sweet, but you still have hope that things are going to be okay.

I can’t wait for this book to come out in October. It is going to be the perfect book to get you in the holiday spirit. I can’t wait to reread this when the air is a bit chillier and I can sip a cheap version of a peppermint mocha (because I have to try it now!!) and remember all the things I read this the first time. I hope hope hope that one day this becomes a movie because it would translate perfectly to the screen. In the mean time, I will add this book to my yearly rituals of watching Love Actually to get in the Christmas spirit.

5 stars

-Leah

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