Parents' Guide to

What Light

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Charming, sweet, but bland holiday romance.

Book Jay Asher Romance 2016
What Light Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Sweet Romance for the Holidays

This book is very different from Jay Asher's other, more gritty writing. It is a simple story of romance with a subplot about forgiveness and fresh starts. Sierra lives during the holiday months in another town where they sell Christmas trees they've grown. She has mastered living in both worlds. Then one Christmas, there's a boy. His dimples catch her attention and his past should scare her away, but it doesn't. She can't help but fall. They both know that his baggage stands between them and that the clock is ticking before she must leave to go back to Oregon and resume her life there. How can this scenario end well? You'll have to read to find out. Some might call it bland, but I really enjoyed the fact that it did not have cuss words, partying, and sexual content. I would never discount a book because of those things, but it is refreshing when a book can be good without those things. It works as a simple, sweet holiday romance for teens. It was really sweet and innocent--a story of first love.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (5):

Sweet but bland, this holiday romance will entertain teens looking for a light read. The romance in What Light works on a fantasy and escapist level. Sierra and Caleb connect at first glance, and their romance blossoms quickly. Their interactions are cute and dreamy, and the story is upbeat. The book's filled with positive messages and relationships, most dealing with trust, friendship, and honesty. What little drama and conflict there is -- a jealous boy, Caleb's past, Sierra's impending departure -- feels forced and a little silly. Most of the characters are nice people; unfortunately none are given much depth by author Jay Asher.

The low stakes and uninteresting characters don't make for a compelling read for much of What Light. The Christmas tree business is a nice hook around which to base a holiday romance, and Asher paints lovely portraits of the two towns where the novel is set. In some instances, he gives so much detail about the characters' actions that the book reads like a movie script. This occasionally bogs the story down, and it's as though he's making up for the lack of action with minute detail.

Book Details

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