Sara Vilkomerson
October 28, 2016 AT 12:00 PM EDT

What Light

Current Status
In Season
Jay Asher

We gave it a B+

Asher’s gift for prose that packs an emotional wallop was apparent in his 2007 novel, the monster best-seller Thirteen Reasons Why. With this decade-in-the-making follow-up, he’s spun a less heavy but equally poignant tale about love, hope, and forgiveness. The protagonist, Sierra, has grown up in a multigenerational Christmas-tree-farm family business. Each winter they travel south to set up shop in California for the holiday season, giving Sierra a brief taste of an alternate life. One year, Sierra meets Caleb—a handsome, troubled boy haunted by a past mistake—and finds herself drawn to him despite warnings from her friends and family. 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

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