Every year from American Thanksgiving through to Christmas Day, Sierra and her parents leave their Oregon farm and live in California on the family-owned tree lot. Sierra’s used to the routine, but this year, things are changing. Her parents might not be able to justify the cost of setting up the tree lot anymore, which might mean this is Sierra’s last December in California. Which would be hard enough, if it weren’t for the cute boy with a sad past and a generous spirit who makes Sierra dread the arrival of Christmas and the end of her time living on the lot.
What Light by Jay Asher is the perfect Christmas read. Sierra’s family lives and breathes Christmas—they own a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, and spend one month of each year selling their trees on a lot in California. It would have been easy for Sierra to be mopey about having to leave her usual life behind every November, but she’s happy to help out at the lot, and she looks forward to seeing one of her best friends who lives in California. The friendships and family relationships in this story are strong, which makes the whole book feel warm and cozy. Plus, there’s an abundance of Christmas trees, peppermints, and hot chocolates to really put you in the Christmas mood.
What Light is a fairly happy, warm read, although there is a darkness to this story in Caleb’s past. The boy Sierra falls for has a history that’s marred his reputation in town, and put a strain on every aspect of his life. Still, Caleb is an incredibly kind and bright person, a good fit for Sierra’s personality. The two have some troubles to deal with, both in regards to Caleb’s history and Sierra’s unavoidable departure at Christmas. But the story is full of joyous moments, sweet gestures, and the holiday spirit.
For those looking for a quick, last minute holiday read (or for those that like to keep the Christmas spirit alive even after the holiday’s over) this book is a great choice.
Meredith (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)