Published by Razorbill on October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, YA
Format: ARC, eARC
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours, Edelweiss eArc
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 again. . . . 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.
~ I really loved 13 Reasons Why, but that’s not why I wanted to read this book. I wanted to read it because the summary gave me that Hallmark Christmas Movie feeling- but a really, really good one (like A Season for Miracles or Naughty or Nice). And that’s what I got, a Christmas story with a little more depth and edge than one usually finds on Hallmark, but heartwarming and cozy just the same.
~ This is just a tiny thing, but it immediately made me love the book- Sierra and her Oregon besties, Rachel and Elizabeth, are all in drama and their drama teacher believes in the power of caffeine- and always a pot of coffee brewing backstage. Coffee makes the world better, people, never doubt that.
~ I love that Sierra loves selling Christmas trees. Instead of being bratty about having to leave her friends every Christmas since she was a baby, Sierra doesn’t whine or stomp her feet. She truly loves putting smiles of family’s faces when she sells a tree, loves her California bestie, Heather, and is torn between wanting to experience an Oregon Christmas vs. continuing the family tradition. She helps support her family business and it’s just a lovely departur
~ This may be the very last holiday season in Cali, and Sierra is torn between wanting to return next year and wanting to spend her first Christmas with her Oregon friends. She definitely is not interested in romance because Sierra is a pretty practical girl, she doesn’t really believe in long distance relationships.
~ Things get awkward because Andrew, who works at the tree lot, obviously wants to date her, and just when Sierra declines for the reasons above, in walks a cute boy with a super cute dimple. Ah, Cupid, you like to throw your arrows at the worst moments, don’t you? 😉
~ All the points to Sierra- when she hears the rumor about Caleb’s past she doesn’t automatically run the other way. Nor does she immediately confront Caleb with what she heard. She gives him the benefit of the doubt .
~ But… I do understand her parent’s reaction. I’m not a parent, but if I’d heard the rumor about Caleb and one of my nieces was trying to date him, at the very least I’d have to
interrogate talk to him. I’d like to think I’d be open minded and willing to hear his side of things instead of just refusing to let him date my niece.
~ And the truth behind Caleb’s past is a harsh one, but our pasts aren’t everything we are, which is a point I feel like Asher was making. I think most people have dark moments, or things we’ve done that we aren’t proud of, but what if the worst thing you’d ever done was exposed and gossiped about?
~ Caleb is a great character- he does so much for the community, carries so much guilt for the past, but never seeks to set the record straight. He isn’t doing good to get recognition, he’s truly doing it to atone and because it makes him happy to help people. He doesn’t even do the humblebrag thing. 😉
~ But there’s more to this story than romance- Sierra has strong friendships and a close relationship to her parents. She is a complete and whole person long before Caleb and his dimple appear, but she still has room for personal growth. I thought Asher did a wonderful job with Sierra’s voice.
~ I did think Sierra got a little pushy with regards to a few characters, and I think she could have handled things better with Rachel and Elizabeth, but I like my characters flawed.
~ The only thing really missing from this book? SNOW! Although, if I’m being honest, I pictured there being lots of it around anyway.
Sierra- very kind, open-minded, and raised on a Christmas Tree farm- basically she’s living the childhood I should have had.
Caleb- cute boy with a cute dimple (and he has a job and does things for charity).
Heather- Sierra’s California bestie, she’s fairly horrible to her boyfriend (but I can see this playing cute on the small screen- because let’s face it, Hallmark would be stupid not to already be optioning this book).
Devon- Heather’s long suffering boyfriend, not as clueless as he first appears.
Rachel and Elizabeth- Sierra’s besties in Oregon, who feel very neglected every November and December.
Andrew- one of the boys working at the tree lot, he’s got a thing for Sierra and a stink eye for Caleb.
Jeremiah- once upon a time Caleb and he were best friends.
It’s a small moment compared to a lot of others- but I loved when Caleb took Sierra on a tree delivery to a rather grumpy couple with a crying baby. Instead of being super grateful, they fussed over the delivery time. While Sierra gets angry over their behavior, Caleb says that everyone is allowed to have a bad day (he actually words it better than that but I don’t quote from arcs). It was just a small reminder that sometimes we all have our ugly moments, and that we need to remember that when dealing with other people who might be having a rough day.
Stop the Clock:
I really enjoyed this book, and if you’re reading it somewhere warm, now or in early October when it comes out, crank up the AC and sip some hot chocolate, just don’t forget the peppermint stick! I seriously wanted to fast forward through this summer just so I could curl up with this book on a cold night, Christmas music playing in the background and the smell of pine tree in the air.
What Light gets a Midnight Book rating of: