• ★★★★-4

Review: What Light by Jay Asher (Spoiler-Free)

I planned on reading this last year near Christmas, but I was burnt out from contemporary books at the time. That made me a bit nervous to pick it up this year because I associated it with putting it down. However, this time around I really enjoyed it!


I like Caleb. I like him even more every time I see him. And this can only lead to disaster.


What Light is about Sierra, a girl who leaves her Oregon Christmas tree farm every holiday season to help run her family's tree lot in California. There, she meets Caleb and starts to catch feelings. But how could she catch feelings when she knows she'll have to leave in just a few short weeks? It's something she will have to consider, but maybe a romance with an expiration date is just what she needs. Or, maybe, something even more.


The writing of this book is super effective. It's relatively simple, but also really compelling. You just can't stop flipping pages once you start. The plot itself isn't insanely gripping, but that hardly matters when it's a 250 page Christmas rom-com lol. That being said, Jay Asher definitely did add in a few exciting things to keep you interested.


This book does somewhat use the withholding information trope which I normally really do not like, but in this case it wasn't the worst thing ever. Do I think it could have done just fine without it? Yes. But did I find it insufferable in this instance? No, because, being such a short book, he really didn't drag it out for very long at all.


While quite simple, this story does manage to include several interesting themes. It discusses forgiveness and not judging others solely on their past. It covers dealing with a falling out between friends, and also the importance of having hard conversations. I think this book is honestly more educational (in some ways lol obviously not all the cheesey Christmas stuff) than most people would probably consider it to be. I always draw pieces of myself from characters I read in fiction, and I know I'll be thinking back to Sierra when I eventually face certain problems as well.


I was also very surprised, yet pleased to see the topic of an unwanted suitor tackled in here too. I feel like that's something everyone, especially girls, deal with, and there really isn't much of it depicted in media. I think it was handled very appropriately here, yet didn't shy away from how uncomfortable or even scary it can be.


I'm really glad I got around to this festive book this holiday season! It was the perfect quick read to help me relax during finals and get me hyped for Christmas. It was a bit sad to read about people having all this fun in public while I'm stuck at home, but hey, at least it served as some escapism. Asher's writing is so engaging, and I eagerly await hearing what he writes next.


Song I was reminded of while reading: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing <-- the Pentatonix version ;)



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