Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Review: What Light by Jay Asher

What Light by Jay AsherWhat Light by Jay Asher (proof) - 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... From Goodreads.

I love to read a Christmas book in the lead up to Christmas, and so when I hear Jay Asher's latest novel, What Light, was a Christmas novel, I was so excited to read it! Unfortunately, I was a little let down.

Like every other year, Sierra and her family are moving from their Christmas Tree farm in Oregon to California for a month, where they sell their trees. Like each year, she's excited to get to California, eager to see one of her best friends, Heather, again and sell trees to the customers, but she's also sad to be leaving her home and her other best friends behind for another Christmas. This year is different though; Sierra has overheard her parents talking, and their lot hasn't been doing as well as it has done in previous years - if things don't pick up this year, this might be the family's last Christmas in California. Everything about this month is heightened because it could be happening from the very last time. What she doesn't expect - and the last thing she needs - is to meet a guy. But Caleb is sweet and gorgeous, and he's interested in Sierra. Her life is complicated enough at the moment, does she really need to add to it with a Christmas romance, one that will end once she goes back home, one that might end there completely, as she may not be coming back? And with a guy who is the focus of some pretty scary rumours?

What Light is not a bad story as a YA romance. It was nice and light, and it did fill me with aww's. But it isn't a Christmas story - it's a story set at Christmas. The fact that Christmas is coming has no real bearing on the story itself. You could have exactly the same story, but make Sierra's family run a different kind of farm, and set it at a different kind of year, and it would still work. I was expecting a Christmas story, instead I got just a romance, and that's why I was so disappointed.

But as I said, it's not a bad story. I loved watching Sierra come to terms with the fact that she might not come back, that she may not see her best friend again for who knows how long, that she won't be able to sell trees to the regulars, and see the excited looks on the faces of children as they come to pick their tree. This isn't just a job to Sierra, she loves it, and loves being a part of the family business. It's an important part of her life, and the idea that the family may not be able to sell the trees themselves anymore is heartbreaking to her.

Then there's the romance. Sierra is notorious with her friends for being fussy when it comes to guys, so for her head to be turned by hot a guy who comes to her lot to buy a Christmas tree, it's a pretty big deal. It's even bigger that she's considering this guy, seeing him when she can, when she'll be leaving on Boxing Day to go back to Oregon. I loved seeing her and Caleb together and how their relationship developed! It was so cute! And I empathised with Sierra as she went back and forth over what she was doing with this guy.

Caleb does have some pretty scary rumours flying around about him, and although there was a "give people a chance, not everything you hear is true" vibe to this story, I still felt kind of uncomfortable about it. When we find out the actual, real truth, I really struggled. I know people shouldn't be defined by their past, but all the same, I'm not sure the seriousness of what happened was dealt with well enough. I feel the need to really talk about this, but it means spoilers, so don't click below if you don't want the story spoilt for you.

Despite it not being a Christmas story and the pretty major issues I have discussed under the button, White Light is a nice story with a sweet romance.

Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books for the proof.

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Published: 20th October 2016
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Jay Asher's Blog


  1. I think that's a too few many issues to me, not really my kind of book. But thanks for sharing :)

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure it'll be for everyone. But it wasn't a terrible book.

      Thanks for stopping by.