What Light by Jay Asher – Lighthearted YA Novel about Family and Love

Monday, December 19, 2016

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Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: 
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Sierra has two lives, both of which she loves. In one, she’s a teenager who hangs out with her best friend’s on Friday nights. In the other, she travels to California with her parent’s to sell the Christmas trees from their Oregon farm. While here, Sierra also relishes in her friendship with Heather, and has a strict “no dating” rule. Something that’s tough to abide by since the guys hired to help with the lot are always cute. Then Sierra meets Caleb.
Unexpected, charming and cute, Sierra can’t quite make herself ignore this one, no matter her rule to abstain from dating while enjoying the California sun. But there’s something haunting about Caleb, and when the whispers begin, instead of deterring her, Sierra determined to learn more about this boy.

Earning his name in the aftermath of Thirteen Reasons Why's success, this is only Asher’s second standalone novel. Cover snob that I am, it was the cover art that first drew my eye to his sophomore novel, What Light. After that, I discovered three things sure to align with my reader soul. It was a contemporary novel (win!), the backdrop is sprinkled with the festiveness of Christmas (win!) and the cherry on top was the contemporary setting. Needless to say, this book spoke to my book lovin’ heart.
“It's your heart. No one else gets a say in that.” - Jay Asher, What Light
Though I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf for a bit, it wasn't until now that the most perfect time to read it presented itself. The surface of this novel is all Christmas cheer and happiness, but press on, and look deeper, you’re sure to discover so much more. Caleb’s backstory is an interesting one, and I liked Sierra’s character. Together they’re a swoony couple sure to coax many smiles; their friendship is cautious but optimistic.

Saying more about this might be best left omitted. Simply put What Light is one of the most charming Christmas novels I’ve read. I appreciated that it was exactly what its cover suggested (a festive and sweet holiday romance), and because of this, the story blissfully follows through with that impression. Since this is my first novel from Jay Asher, I didn’t know what to except. Because this is all nostalgia, family and a cute romance, I respected this novel like crazy. Why? Because that’s precisely the sort of story I wanted, and I didn't feel like it pretended to be anything else.

If you’re looking for a sweet and simple (a term I use as the best kind of endearment), What Light is an ideal read. There's swoony romance, complex backstories, wonderful prose and a sense of festive delight that is not to be missed. What Light is everything I wanted this Christmas season, and so much more. In short, it made my book nerd heart happy. ♥

*Forgive all the flowery adjectives. I just really loved this novel.

Synopsis: 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. - Goodreads

Review text is © Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), RissiWrites.com 


  1. Great review! Glad you enjoyed this one. Definitely adding this to my TBR now as this sounds amazing :)

    1. YAY! Hope you enjoy, Lindsey. I thought it was charming and such an easy, and romantic read. :) Glad you stopped by!


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