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What Light Hardcover – October 18, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Sierra has grown up on her family's Christmas tree farm in Oregon, and for as long as she can remember, she has always lived two lives around Christmas: every year after Thanksgiving, her parents pack up their trailer and drive down to California to sell Christmas trees at their lot for the month of December. Even though her parents met as teens on the same lot, her father doesn't want her dating any of the boys who work there. Sierra is OK with this, figuring that she's not there long enough for a romance to be worth her time. And then she meets Caleb, a boy with a painful secret from his past that he's still trying to live down. At first, Sierra isn't sure if she should start a relationship with him, but the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes that some things are worth the risk. This is a sweet, light romance, perfect for holiday reading. While Caleb's secret is awful, it doesn't seem quite bad enough to merit the treatment he receives in his community. Side stories with Sierra's friends add some humor but are overall frothy. VERDICT This is more sugar in your peppermint mocha than you're expecting, but it's good nonetheless. Asher's fans will gravitate toward it.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA
“What Light…harks back to a simpler time of young adult storytelling with its linear first-person narrative and classic themes of forgiveness, hope, and the power of true love…there’s something beautiful about a novel done the old way, particularly when there’s enough heart to make you weep.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Asher’s gift for prose that packs an emotional wallop was apparent in his 2007 novel, the monster best-seller Thirteen Reasons Why…. Asher infuses his storytelling with a compelling sweetness and innocence; What Light casts the same warm glow as a room strung with twinkly Christmas-tree lights.”
“From the author of Thirteen Reasons Why, What Light is one you won’t want to miss.”
“What Light is a love story that make you want to turn on those Christmas carols early.”
"Asher has done it again. He gets into the heart of what is important in relationships, whether friendship or romance, and his characters are realistic and well developed. Teens will see themselves in these characters, and relate to them."
—Voice of Youth Advocates
"Certain to please readers seeking an escapist, feel-good holiday read. Asher’s follow-up to his best-selling debut is destined for lots of attention."
"This is a sweet, light romance, perfect for holiday reading."
—School Library Journal
"Charming and sweet, Sierra and Caleb’s budding relationship should suit readers looking for a wintertime romance that’s as cozy (and familiar) as candy canes and gingerbread during the holidays."
"Asher is a dab hand at capturing everyday situations and conversations; Sierra and her friends tease and quip in ways that are witty but not overly so, and Sierra’s frank talks with her parents have the tone of a mature, beloved only child who is used to being heard even as her parents set the rules."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“What Light is a sweet, aching tale of first love and forgiveness. It's about second chances and learning to see others for who they really are. Sierra is only passing through town, as she and her family do every year, trying not to get too close to anyone, while Caleb needs to forgive himself for a single horrible act. As he says, everyone is allowed a bad day. But it's not until meeting Sierra that he truly believes it. I laughed, I cheered, I cried, and oh did I fall in love with Sierra, Caleb, and this exquisitely lovely story.”
—Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
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The heart of this book is a story of how love can change you and make you stronger. It's also a story of first love and how braving the unknown takes you places you never imagined. It's about friendship and unspoken codes of honor, about broken friendships and family relationships. Written around Christmastime, it's a book to be enjoyed year round. Read, reread, shared, and so deserving of that special place on your shelf.
What I love about Sierra and Caleb’s relationship is how genuine it is. It’s not sustained by moments of superficial intimacy, but rather, by heartwarming tenderness and sincere affection. That goes a long way in my book.
Jay Asher has an extraordinary gift for tugging on the heartstrings until you’re overwhelmed by how thrilling true love can be. If you’re looking for a sweet romance that will leave you overflowing with good feelings any time of year, look no further.