What Light by Jay Asher


Story Summary: Dividing her life between her family’s Oregon Christmas tree farm and the California tree lot where they spend the holiday seasons, Sierra falls for a boy who lives under the shadow of a terrible mistake, a relationship that is met with disapproval and suspicion.


Asher’s latest is a surprising change of direction from the best-selling Thirteen Reasons Why (2007): a frothy, peppermint-in-hot-cocoa romance. Ever since she was little, Sierra’s lived a dual life, split between her family’s Christmas tree farm in Oregon and the California town where they run a tree lot for one month out of the year. But with tree sales not what they used to be, this winter may be her last in California. Enter Caleb, the social pariah better known for a sole act of aggression years ago than his current gig providing Christmas trees to needy families. Sierra’s friends and family try to steer her away from Caleb, but all she sees is who he is today. Can she convince him he’s forgiven? Though the plot is solidly in the Hallmark vein, Asher gives it the gentle romance treatment many younger teens crave. Sierra’s story provides an interesting window into alternative schooling and living arrangements facing some teens whose families work in agriculture. Certain to please readers seeking an escapist, feel-good holiday read. – Booklist review

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