sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 30, 2017

into the stacks 2017: week 2
posted by soe 3:06 am

Okay, so I admit my plan to be more proactive in sharing my reading is not going so well this month. But let’s see what we can do to get back on track…

During the second week of January, I finished one book:

What Light, by Jay Asher

Just before Thanksgiving every year, Sierra and her family pack up their lives in Oregon, where they own a tree farm, and travel south to her mother’s hometown in California to sell Christmas trees from a lot. She and her parents have worked hard to make sure this transition is as easy as possible — they have dear friends in California with whom they share Thanksgiving; they exchange small gifts in California, but big presents in Oregon; and Sierra keeps up with schoolwork through the internet (and a weekly Skype chat this year with her French teacher) now that she’s a junior.

But this year is different: Sierra has overheard her parents discussing the finances of their retail operation, and they are seriously debating if this should be their last year personally coming to sell trees. Their sales this year will give them the definitive answer.

In part because this might be their last Christmas season together, Sierra and her best California friend decide she should be open to dating someone while she’s there. After all, how long do high school romances last, anyway?

Enter Caleb. He’s cute. He keeps showing up to buy more Christmas trees. He seems funny. But, her friend warns, there’s a lot of gossip about an incident in his past…

Ah, this book… I really wanted to love it; I mean it’s a teen Christmas romance! Right in my wheelhouse. And I like stories about people who grow up in unusual situations — and a tree-farming family that spends five or six weeks a year in a trailer in another state is pretty unusual. But this book just ends up being kind of boring. There’s never really any dramatic tension that pushes the action one way or another. Sierra drives the narrative, but like it’s a mini-van in a suburban neighborhood, never really facing any huge setbacks or challenges: “Nice Girl Living Nice Life Faces Change, but Not Serious Change, and Deals with It.” I’m not saying not to bother reading the book; it’s fine. I’m just maybe saying don’t go into it with any expectations except to pass a few hours (spread out, in my case, over a month) in a not unpleasant way.

Pages: 251. Library copy.

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