Title: What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Page Count: 251
Sierra and her family own a Christmas tree farm in Oregon but every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas they go to southern California to sell their trees. Sierra has two best friends in Oregon and she is torn every year when she has to leave them but then she gets to spend time with Heather, another best friend who lives in California. But Sierra overheard her parents talking about how this may be the last year that they run the tree farm and she may not be coming back to California. Sierra is disappointed and will miss Heather but then she meets Caleb. An unexpected, handsome guy with a terrible secret that has been burdening him. But Sierra gets to really learn who Caleb is and to give him a second chance, even when the rest of the town won’t. As their time is running out, because Sierra has to go back home soon, she helps Caleb find forgiveness and they start to fall in love.
I loved Thirteen Reasons Why when I read it a couple of years ago but for some reason, I didn’t think I would enjoy this. Maybe because the synopsis didn’t sound that appealing to me or maybe I was picturing Thirteen Reasons Why and Christmas clashing, but either way, I went into this with very low exceptions. And I came out of it, crying and absolutely adoring it. Maybe even more than Thirteen Reasons Why. The more I kept reading, the more I came to love the characters and the story.
Sierra is a very interesting character to me. She is not boring at all! Most YA contemporaries the girl protagonist is shy and doesn’t really know what she wants but Sierra really has a good head on her shoulders. She has high expectations when it comes to dating and she hasn’t really had a serious boyfriend. When she goes to California, for possibly the last time, a relationship is the last thing she is looking for. In fact, there is a boy who works on the tree lot, Andrew, who likes her but she doesn’t really care for him. He’s kind of a jerk to her and does some crappy things but Sierra doesn’t let it get to her too bad. When we meet Caleb he is instantly likable and as I read the story, I found myself just liking him more and more.
One thing that bothered me, was Sierra’s dad. He was very particular about Sierra not getting involved with a guy because he thought she would just end up with a broken heart because she’s only there for a month, but then again, he and Sierra’s mom met on that very same lot. But eventually Sierra’s parents come around and I guess it was all okay. I just felt like it was a little hypocritical.
I think reading this book around Christmas time is essential to enjoying the story. If I read this in the summer time, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. And at the beginning I didn’t love this book. I was enjoying it but it was nothing that I would recommend. The story gets better as you read and the characters really make the story so charming and enjoyable and gives you all the Christmas feels.