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What Light by Jay Asher - Review

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Where did I get it? I bought it in Waterstones a couple of weeks ago and decided to read it near Christmas.

What's it about? Sierra lives in Oregon, on a Christmas tree farm. She loves it, and her best friends, Rachel and Elizabeth. But every year, at Thanksgiving, she and her parents go down to California to set up the lot from where they sell Christmas trees right up until Christmas Day. Sierra has a friend there, Heather, who she misses throughout the year. However, this might be the last year that she goes, because the lot isn't doing well and her parents may not open it again, and because Rachel and Elizabeth want Sierra to spend the Christmas of their senior year in Oregon joining in with all the parties and dances that happen. This might be Sierra's last Christmas in California.

So of course, into that, walks Caleb. He's a fairly typical "bad boy". Heather warns Sierra off him, telling her that Caleb attacked his sister with a knife. But then Sierra discovers that he saves his tips from his job to buy Christmas trees for families who couldn't otherwise afford them. Sierra finds herself falling in love with Caleb even though she knows their time is limited and even though she isn't sure whether to trust him.

I'll be honest - I found this book dragged. I started it ages ago and it just didn't grip me. I don't know why, because I liked the setting and I liked Sierra. I felt like her dad was just stupidly overprotective though (every time one of the male workers talks to Sierra, her dad sends them to clean the loos, which I just found absurd) and I felt like Caleb was just.... too perfect? He is flawed (he attacked his sister with a knife, kind of...) but he also does things that I just don't think any 17 year old boy has ever done. He was just so mature and so manly and perfect. I couldn't get on with him at all.

It's weird because I haven't thought about Jay Asher in forever. I read Thirteen Reasons Why about 6 years ago; it was actually one of the first YA books I ever read, and I really enjoyed it. I picked this up, but I'm not sure I'll read anything else by the author. I get that this is supposed to be a cute festive story, but it needed more bite. 

What age range is it for? 13+, there's almost nothing salacious in it. I actually thought there should have been more sexual activity. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters people of colour? No
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No
Is there any sex stuff? No, just some kissing. As above, I would've liked to see this
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? No 
Are there swear words? Not really. 
Would I recommend the book? Not really. It didn't float my boat. 
How many stars? Six out of ten. Cute, but not good enough. 

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