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.
Now that it’s well and truly the festive season, I figured it was time to get into my Christmassy reads for this year. There’s nothing better than curling up with a Christmas-themed book, a gingerbread latte and, as typical as a BBQ for an Australian Christmas, the air conditioner on full blast. I’ve always wished I could experience a white Christmas, or at least an American Christmas, and through reading What Light, I felt as though a part of me were living out my dream. The talk of Christmas trees, peppermint mochas and the power of giving made this novel one that is definitely a must-read to get into the spirit of Christmas. If you like books like My True Love Gave To Me or Let it Snow, you should definitely pick up a copy of What Light.
The real reason why I decided to pick up What Light is because I absolutely adored Jay Asher’s other novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, and I just had to read his latest book. Although I still much prefer Thirteen Reasons Why and feel that it’s one that has seared itself on the hearts of all who have read it, What Light is still an enjoyable, light-hearted read that’s perfect for a quiet afternoon during the festive season. But sometimes something light is what we really need. A lot of the novels I’ve been reading recently have been quite dark, so it was a pleasant change to read something purely fun. While there was an aspect of What Light that was a little more deep, it didn’t prevent the rest of the narrative from losing it’s light-hearted Christmassy vibes. If anything, it made this novel more rounded and thoroughly engaging.
One of the things I loved most about this novel was the relationship between Sierra, our main character, and her parents. We all know that parents are absent in a lot of YA books, so it was definitely a refreshing change to see a loving, honest relationship between them. I also really liked reading about the relationships Sierra had with her friends, and they felt genuine and real. Something Jay Asher is truly talented with is writing relationships that are extremely believable and realistic, and creating characters that are unique and vibrant that seem to step right off the page. I also adored spending time with both Sierra and Caleb and I loved their witty banter and interactions.
The romance was another highlight of What Light. It simmered and developed into something quite magical, and it was beautiful to see the relationship grow between Sierra and Caleb. They were both such gorgeous, lovely people who were struggling in their own ways. Sierra understood that her family might not be selling Christmas trees next year and had to come to terms with losing the relationships she’d made in California, and Caleb had a dark secret of his own that had turned into a damaging rumour that circulated around the town. Together, they were dealing with their own difficulties in ways that felt raw and sometimes heartbreaking, and the emotions they felt radiated off the pages and enabled me to form deep connections with both of them.
Ultimately, What Light is a heart-warming, light-hearted festive read that will make you laugh and get you in the mood for Christmas. I definitely recommend reading this one with a peppermint mocha or a gingerbread latte in hand!
Have you read What Light yet? Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why? What’s the last festive novel you’ve read? Do you read festive novels in December to get yourself in the spirit? Do you like the other books in the pictures above – Let it Snow, My True Love Gave To Me and The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!