What Light by Jay Asher
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (20th Oct 2016)
Format/Source: Paperback (sent for review by Pansing Malaysia)
Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon – it’s an idyllic place for a girl to grow up, except that every year they have to 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 begins to eclipse the other…
Being quite late to the YA party a few years back, I never had the chance to catch up with the earlier releases before 2014. One of the books that I’ve heard so much about and seen around in practically every bookstore is Thirteen Reasons Why, which was Jay Asher’s debut novel. Some loved it. Some hated it. I’d have to read it for myself to form my own opinion. But today, the spotlight is on Jay Asher’s latest book, What Light, which was my first book by Mr Asher.
I read What Light around Christmastime since the book promised a fluffy and romantic winter love story, which was what I was craving for. Did I like it? Yes. Did I love it? Not really, but here are my reasons why! (See what I did there..)
In What Light, the story follows Sierra, whose family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon and she spends the month before Christmas in California, setting up their business selling trees. Unfortunately, this year could be the last for Sierra and her family due to unforeseen circumstances. And it’s the year that Sierra meets Caleb.
I won’t deny that I was drawn to the premise of the book because I am a sucker for romance in books. And in What Light, the romance between Sierra and Caleb was cute! I couldn’t get enough of them and their dates were really exciting to read about and with every date, I started to root for them more. The witty banter and dialogue were A+ and I really enjoyed reading them in the book.
“People think what they want. That’s what I’ve had to accept,” he says. “I can fight it, but that’s exhausting. I can feel hurt about it, but that’s torture. Or I can decide it’s their loss.”
The characters were okay for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of Sierra to begin with but as the book progressed, I started warming up to her. The thing that really kept me reading was Caleb. Modeled as the “reformed bad boy”, there were wisps about Caleb’s past that kept the story engaging, if anything.
“It’s your heart. No one else gets a say in that.”
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much going on, plot-wise as the primary focus was on Sierra and Caleb’s relationship. Aside from the predictable plot, there wasn’t that sparkle which made What Light a special book. I liked it but that was it.
If you’re looking for something light and fluffy to sink your teeth in, I would recommend What Light. In short, What Light is a wonderfully festive read but also a typical YA contemporary romance that had some really adorable, swoon-worthy moments. A mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows is recommended to go with What Light!