Title: What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Series: No Series
Published: October 18th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
Quick Look: If you’re looking for another 13 Reasons Why, this isn’t it. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a really good, even great, thing. What Light is beautiful and hopeful and aching and fantastic and so worth the wait.The summary of What Light from Goodreads:
From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing in love again. . . .
“A beautiful story of love and forgiveness.”
—Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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.
What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.
What I Liked:
It’s no secret that Asher’s first book, 13 Reasons Why is an important part of my life. It’s the book that, after reading it, helped me realize that my mind was going down a dark path and that I needed to speak up and get help before it was too late. I’ve been waiting patiently for Asher to publish another book. His writing had such an impact on me that I would have waited forever if I needed to. Thankfully, I didn’t have to and What Light was completely worth every year of waiting.
Sierra’s family owns a Christmas tree farm and every winter, she travels from her home in Oregon down to California to set up their lot and sell trees to the Californians. She’s had two separate lives: the one she lives 11 months out of the year and the one she lives between Thanksgiving and Christmas. She has friends in both places, hopes in both places, roots in both places. She loves her life and, even though she sometimes wonders what it would be like if she didn’t have to leave Oregon every year, she doesn’t want anything to change.
Sierra is just…wonderful. She’s a devoted friend and a devoted daughter, but that doesn’t mean she gives up what she wants for others. She fights for the things that are important to her, even when seemingly everyone else is against her. Her relationship with Caleb is what made me love her. She looks beyond the past to see how he is now. she doesn’t judge him for choices he made because he’s constantly proving that he’s a better person now. She sees how hard he tries to be more than the rumor. That’s not to say she completely ignores what he did. It still weighs on her mind. But rather she focuses more on the person he is rather than the person he was.
Caleb. Sweet Caleb. He’s trying so hard to make up for what he did. He knows that the rumors are based in truth and he tries every day to prove to the world and to himself that he’s a better person. When Sierra comes along and looks at him now and makes peace with his past, he’s not sure it’s real. He can’t understand how someone can see the person he is now and not still see what he did. It takes time for him to open up and accept that Sierra isn’t pretending or isn’t going to run. I adored him and loved watching him grow.
I also loved the friendships in this novel. Sierra’s friends in Oregon continue to play a role in her life, even when she’s in California. They don’t disappear. They are a part of Sierra’s life and I was so happy that Asher wrote them throughout the novel. That’s how friendships are; the distance doesn’t matter, you’re still going to need your friends wherever they may be.
There are so many aspects to this novel that are important. It’s not just a love story, it’s a friendship story. It’s a story about how a family struggles and fights, but continues to be there for each other. It’s about giving to others whatever you can. It’s about forgiveness and learning to accept your past. It’s so many wonderful things wrapped into one amazing book.
What I Didn’t Like:
Sometimes this section is useless. Like with this book. It was perfect.
I’d Recommend To:
Just a blanket recommendation. Read this book. That’s all there is to it. Just do yourself a favor and read it. I will recommend a nice cup (or a few cups) of hot chocolate with it.
You can purchase What Light here:
Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read program for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.