Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: What Light by Jay Asher

Release date: October 18th, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Website
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 272

Description (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.

Oh man... What Light was one of my most expected books of 2016, and I had a very hard time controlling my excitement when I got it as a review copy, but now that I am writing my review, my feelings are just kind of meh... I so desperately wanted to like it, but I constantly kept feeling like something was missing.

I love the concept for the story -- Sierra's family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, and ever since she was little she has spent the month before Christmas in California. This means that she has had to leave her friends in Oregon behind, but luckily, her friend Heather has been waiting in California, and they have desperately tried to fit a whole year of activities into one month. 

At the beginning of What Light it is quickly established that this might be Sierra's last year in California. The business is not doing as well as her family would like, and manning the Christmas tree lot in California is not making enough money. Knowing that next year California might be out of the question, Sierra decides to put all in and enjoy her possibly last California-Christmas.

When Caleb, a boy with gorgeous dimples, shows up again and again and keeps purchasing trees from the lot, Sierra gets curious. Then she starts to hear rumors about Caleb's past. Is this a guy she should be spending time with? Can she see past Caleb's history and give him a chance?

The main problems I had with this book are the following:

  • I felt like I was unable to connect with any of the characters. While Sierra didn't really annoy me, she didn't really spark any positive feelings in me either. I did like the fact that she opens up for new experiences and does not judge before hearing arguments from both sides, but other than that, I felt like I was unable to feel anything towards her (and while reading a book like this, that is a problem for me!)
  • The events take place way too fast and I felt like the "L" word enters the game WAY too early
  • All of the supporting characters feel quite one-dimensional and underdeveloped. I, for example, would have liked to see more interaction between Sierra and Heather. 
  • The drama surrounding Caleb feels very rushed.

I love Christmas due to which I kind of regret picking this book up already in October because I believe I might have appreciated the story a bit closer to Christmas. The setting is very Christmassy and the characters engage in Christmas activities, and I think that with a box of Christmas cookies by my side, this reading experience might have been a bit more pleasant. 

If you are looking for a quick, occasionally cute Christmas read, maybe What Light is for you. Unfortunately, it didn't manage to fill my (very high) expectations for it. 


(2.5 hearts)


  1. Oh man. This is one of my most anticipated releases too. So sorry this wasn't better for you! Great review!

    1. I hope you enjoy it more than I did! I recommend leaving it to a time closer to Christmas -- might work better when Christmas spirit gets more prominent!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!