I don’t remember much about Asher’s first book Thirteen Reasons Why other than that I liked it, and decided to read this book on the strength of that one. However, you know from the book blurb that What Light doesn’t have the same gravity of that earlier book, since it is in the young adult holiday romance genre in the vein of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.
Every year for a month from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Sierra and her family move from their Christmas tree farm in Oregon to their Christmas tree lot in California. Due to the rise of wholesale tree lots and the corresponding dwindling of mom-and-pop tree lots, this year may be their last. In California, Sierra finds an unexpected connection with Caleb, who buys Christmas trees for people who can’t afford it with his tips from working at the local diner. Caleb is cute and secretive about a mistake he made in his past, but Sierra likes him anyway.
This lighthearted holiday romance reminds me of YA chick lit a la Stephanie Perkins, and in fact reminds me of stories from the Perkins-edited Christmas anthology of YA holiday romance My True Love Gave to Me. It felt like a book that should have been shorter than it was, with conflicts appearing like small and easily surmountable blips. Throughout this slight book, I had the sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never did. All the main characters are good, kind, thoughtful, and understanding, and while that would be a marvelous world to live in, it does not make for very interesting drama in a book. However, it was still entertaining to see what would happen with Caleb and Sierra, her parents, and her best friends, and is a cozy seasonal read.