Monday, 26 December 2016

BOOK REVIEW | 'What Light' by Jay Asher (****)

Hello readers, and happy Saturday! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and are chilling out after the Big Day yesterday! 

Today I have a 4* review of a suitably festive book for you... What Light by the fantastic author Jay Asher. I have wanted to read something by Jay Asher for a while; I have heard so many good things. Therefore when Macmillan and MyKindaBook sent me a copy of his latest read, What Light, I was delighted!

I was sent What Light in exchange for an honest review :)

What Light is a magical Christmas YA read about Sierra, a High Schooler who as long as she can remember, has spent Christmas after Christmas at her parents' Christmas tree farm in California. Packing up after Thanksgiving and not returning until Christmas day, the holiday season for Sierra has always meant leaving her two best friends, Rachel and Elizabeth, for a warmer climate, online school, and her best friend in California, Heather. This Christmas seems to be going the same as any other, until Sierra meets Caleb, and then her whole world begins to change...

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

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 Light is a light, romantic, contemporary Christmas story that is perfect for reading with a hot chocolate while snuggled under your duvet this holiday. While it wasn't the most moving or thought-provoking, the novel had the perfect setting which allowed me to get totally immersed in the story. I've never been to a Christmas tree farm and I know next to nothing about them, so I enjoyed learning about Sierra and her parents' work on the farm, and about their life in California in general.

What Light is wonderfully written, and really put me in the Christmas spirit. The descriptions are flawless and really evoke the cosiness and magic of the season. My favourite character was undoubtedly Heather and found her to be kind, hilarious and most importantly realistic. She was a loyal friend to Sierra however still had her flaws, which is always important for characters in YA.

The only problem I had with this book were the characters. To be honest, the only character I liked in this book was Heather, I found everyone else to be pretty tedious. Sierra held that pretty irritating and unrealistic YA trope that all the guys seem to be obsessed with her and this is what causes the main conflict of the novel Sierra was very quick to ditch her friends in favour of this guy she had only just met, and as soon as her friends forgave her all they could talk about was Sierra's new love interest. In fact, I'm pretty sure this book would fail the Bechdel Test (a test which asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man). As a fourteen year old I would have considered this irrelevant, or probably not even noticed this, but I have read too much feminist theory at university to know when a book relies on a guy for the plot to develop. I think I would have given this book 5*s if I found out a bit more about Sierra, other than what she looks for in a guy.

Despite this, I did enjoy this book and it was a pleasant quick-read that engaged my imagination and kept me turning the pages. I loved the main themes of family, forgiveness and love and thought that Asher successfully portrayed in his story what Christmas is really about.

I would thoroughly recommend that you pick up What Light for your holiday reading!

Check out Jay Asher here:

Merry Christmas everyone! Until next time :)

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