Author: Jay Asher
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary, Holiday – Christmas
Published: October 2016
“From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart but soon have you believing in love again.”
I’ve been meaning to read this book during the holidays because I’ve heard a lot of great comments about it so this was actually in my December TBR but I didn’t get the chance to read it then so I’m reading a Christmas-themed book on January.
“Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. It’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.
By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. But as disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra can’t help but wonder if love really is enough to overcome every obstacle…”
Thoughts and Feelings
If I were to describe in one word what I felt while reading Jay Asher’s What Light, it would be bittersweet. This book made me smile, cry, laugh, and fall in love with the character as well as the story, not to mention break my heart just to mend it right after breaking it and then break it again.
I had to pause several times in the middle of reading because the characters are a lot like the people from my past and I felt happy and sad at the same time. Happy because it reminds me of them and sad because I miss them. This book resonated with me since my life is kind of like Sierra’s where I live two different lives when I’m at school with my friends and when I’m with friends and family at church. Everyone likes a book they can relate with.
Lessons Learned & Realizations
1. Hurt is inevitable.
No matter how hard you protect yourself from hurt, you can never run away from it. It’s inevitable. It’s a consequence of living. A part of human existence. Just like how hard Sierra’s parents tried to protect her heart from being broken, and how much she herself tried to do so too, she was not able to dodge the bullet of hurt that comes with loving someone. When you love, prepare yourself to be hurt because love and hurt come hand in hand.
2. Being brave does not only mean being able to overcome your fears but accepting the reality and moving on from the past is also being brave.
I like how Sierra was brave enough to see beyond the rumours and try to understand Caleb and for seeing him as his present self, seeing beyond his past. I think it’s an important lesson to consider that people can change and that no one deserves to be labeled for the wrong they did in the past.
3. Forgiving oneself is a crucial part of moving on.
For years after the incident of Caleb’s dark past, he still wasn’t able to forgive himself. Even when his sister has already forgiven him, he still felt guilty. Guilty for ruining his mom’s life, his dad’s, his sister’s and most importantly, his life. He has been living under a dark cloud because he blames himself for the grief he has caused his family but when he learned to let go of the past and forgive himself for past decisions and wrongful act, he was finally free of the dark cloud that’s been following him and thus, moved on.
4. People think what they want.
This is a line from the book spoken by Caleb and it had taught me that no matter what you do be it good or not, people will always have something to say about it positive or negative and that you can’t force people to think a certain way just because you want them to. You just have to learn to live with it.
“People think what they want. That’s what I’ve had to accept.”
“You really think it would work for them? I don’t want to be cynical, but two lives, two sets of friends, two different states? The odds are against them from the beginning.”
“You don’t have to trust him, just don’t judge him. And trust me.”
“Every time I give Caleb the benefit of the doubt, he proves himself. Every time I stand up for him, I know I’m right. There have been a million reasons why I could have given up, but everytime I don’t, it makes me want to try that much harder to make us work.”
“An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.”
Let It Snow is a compilation novel comprising of three separate stories that intertwine with one another.
A trio of bestselling authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – brings all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.
The stories include The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson, A Cheertastic ChristmasMiracle by John Green, and The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle.
The book follows three different teenagers as they experience a huge snow storm in Gracetown during the Christmas season.
The Jubilee Express
The story follows a teenager, Jubilee Dougal whose life seems to be perfect.
She has a loving family, sings in choir, attends Mathlete events, plays field hockey, and a perfect boyfriend – athlete, academic, school-government bigwig – the kind of person you think must only date models or spies.
Finals were over and school was done until New Year’s. It was one of those days when you feel that life… likes you, until something happened that changed Jubilee’s life forever.
She was all set and ready for the big event: Annual Christmas Eve Smorgasbord of her boyfriend’s family. She was already dressed for the party and all her gifts were wrapped up and ready to go until Sam, their neighbor, announces bad news about her parents.
Jubilee has no other choice but to spend Christmas Eve with her grandparents after her parents are arrested for participating in a riot over a set of miniature decorative houses called the Flobie Santa Village, one of the pieces being her namesake.
While on the train ride to her grandparents’ place in Florida, Jubilee meets a group of cheerleaders and a boy named Jeb, who is trying to contact his girlfriend back home.
The train gets stuck and seeing a Waffle House outside where they stopped, she decides to go to the Waffle House for warmth and some food.
While trying to call her boyfriend Noah, she meets Stuart who, feeling sorry for her and her situation, invites her to his house. After dinner, Stuart’s mother comments that she hadn’t seen Stuart this happy since before he discovered his girlfriend was cheating on him.
Meanwhile, Jubilee continues to tell Stuart about how wonderful Noah is, only to realize that Noah has not contacted her at all that night. She calls Noah up and confronts him. When Noah cannot respond to her queries over why he couldn’t at least show some concern, she breaks up with him. Stuart comes to comfort Jubilee and the two kiss.
Feeling guilty, Jubilee tries to sneak out and is discovered by Stuart, who tells her that everything will be okay. Her phone rings with a phone call from Noah, only for Jubilee to toss the phone into the snow and kiss Stuart, after which the two walk back to his home together.
A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle
The story follows a boy, Tobin, and his friends, the Duke (a tomboyish girl whose real name is Angie), and JP, who are watching movies at Tobin’s home while his parents are out of town.
Their friend Keun, who works at the local Waffle House calls and invites them to the store because a group of cheerleaders has entered the store and are practicing their routines, as well as requesting to play Twister.
Thinking the travelling to the restaurant with the game would be a waste of time; Duke is initially reluctant to go but is persuaded by Tobin, who tells her that there will be hash browns.
Keun tells them to hurry because his co-workers also invited their friends and there is not enough room for everyone so the first set of friends who arrive wins.
Thus, the race began and on the way to the Waffle House, the trio’s car crashes into a snow bank close to the restaurant, losing a tire. They decided to ditch their car and walk the rest of the way to the Waffle House.
They soon encounter the Reston twins in their Ford Mustang, who were also invited to the Waffle House by Keun’s friend. Tommy then drives the car towards the Waffle House, only to be rammed by plowed snow in the roadside.
The Reston twins attempt to chase the trio on foot, JP slows them down. As they escape from the twins, the trio realizes they have accidentally left the Twister game in the car and must go back for it.
As they return to collect the game, they encounter the twins again, this time inside their car. Another high-speed chase across town ensues, separating JP from the Duke and Tobin.
They all close in on the Waffle House, where JP has miraculously entered and locked the door. He prevents the twins from entering, but allows passage for the Duke and Tobin.
Once inside, they run into another character, Jeb who is trying to reach his girlfriend. He asks them if they know anyone by the name of Addie, and Tobin says no.
Jeb then asks them that if they do see her to please tell her that he was delayed, saying that she will know what he means. Tobin attempts to make conversation with one of the cheerleaders, only to notice the Duke is missing.
When Tobin finds her at the curb outside the Waffle House, the Duke, clearly upset and sobbing, expresses her sentiment towards Tobin, saying she’s jealous about Tobin interacting differently with the cheerleaders and her being treated as a male. Feeling a pang of guilt, Tobin confesses to the Duke about his true feelings for her and the two share a kiss.
The Patron Saint of Pigs
The third story follows a girl named Addie, who is depressed because she broke up with her boyfriend Jeb.
The back story of her relationship with Jeb is told, about how the two had instantly fallen for each other, but that Addie had kept trying to change Jeb. This resulted in Jeb feeling inferior and the two fighting.
After one fight, Addie had gotten drunk and made out with someone else, telling Jeb it was over. Upset, Jeb had taken a train to meet his family on an Indian reservation, unaware that Addie has sent him an email apologizing and hoping to work things out.
When he didn’t call or respond, Addie assumed that the relationship was over and cut her hair short and dyed it pink as a way to show that she wanted a change.
She calls her friends over to talk, only for them to tell her that she can be self-absorbed and doesn’t think of others. Disagreeing, she states that in the morning she will get her friend Tegan’s teacup pig while she is on break from work at Starbucks.
The next morning at work, Addie ends up getting caught in a conversation with a woman who claims to be “Christmas Angel” and says that people forget to do things for others when they get wrapped up in themselves. She then forgets to pick up the teacup pig and a crisis with the sink arose at Starbucks causing Addie to delay the pick-up.
Upset, Addie manages to get the address of the woman who adopted the pig, who ends up being the woman she spoke to earlier. The woman informs Addie that she took the pig to teach her a lesson and gives Addie the pig.
Addie then returns to work, where she sees Stuart and Jubilee and Tobin and Angie, the couples from the two previous stories. Tobin sees her name tag, which prompts him to tell her that he had met Jeb and that he has a message from her.
After hearing the message Addie’s spirits lift and suddenly Jeb walks into the store, having arrived shortly after the others. The two embrace, and then Jeb tells her about the train ride and his attempts to call her.
As he tells her about various things he saw on the way, Tobin and the Duke are drawn into the conversation as they recount that they had gone to see them at the Waffle House.
Jubilee then realizes how everyone’s lives have been brought together and how it had all changed for the better. Addie is so happy that she lets everyone’s voices out of her mind and Jeb kisses her.
I have been in possession of this book for years now and it has been a while since I haven’t read this and it’s just my thing to read holiday books on holidays.
The first story entitled The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson is my favorite among the three because I like the overall writing style of the author and also because the main character has an adventurous spirit and doesn’t let adversity stop her from having a merry happy Christmas despite everything that has been happening to her.
Even though I live in the Philippines and we don’t experience winter here, I feel like I’ve been transported to the place and I can really feel the coldness of the snow outside as Jubilee and Stuart headed home and took the shortcut and the warmth of the fire when they were at Stuart’s house and of course the Waffle House where they met.
Another reason why I like this story better than the other two is that it showcases the family bond that Stuart, his younger sister and mom have because Christmas equals spending time with loved ones.
The second story by John Green entitled A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle is, I have to be honest the least favorite among the three, well for me that is. It’s not that I hate it, I just don’t love it.
The whole idea of going to the Waffle House despite the heavy snow storm to spend time with cheerleaders who happen to be stranded is not really something I would risk my life for.
But then again, I’m not a guy so I don’t really know how a guy’s mind works so I’m no one to judge guy’s behavior towards cheerleaders or anything.
I did enjoy their race and their journey towards the Waffle house and the scenes are pretty hilarious actually so yeah, I guess what matters is not the destination but the journey itself. It was overall an enjoyably good read.
The last story entitled The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle is actually relatable to me because I’m a bit like the main character.
Most people don’t like this because Addie is being such a Grinch on Christmas, sucking out the positivity and the merriness of the season but on the contrary, I like it because of the variety and it also shows the reality.
I mean, it’s not all the time that we can be positive when faced with adversity and about being too self-absorbed, well, everyone gets self-absorbed at times.
So yeah, I liked it in that sense that I can relate to it because it makes me feel that I’m not alone and that if she can have a happy ending, I can too because everybody deserves to be happy when celebrating the birth of Christ whether you’re a Christian or not.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and I’m probably rereading this during the holidays next year and the years to come.