If you liked Thirteen Reasons Why but, like me, wished that such a powerful book would have ended on a more hopeful note, you should check out Jay Asher’s latest book. The cover and a more superficial summary might give the impression that this is a light and cheesy holiday romance, but I assure you there’s more than meets the eye. Yes, Sierra’s family owns a Christmas tree farm and she falls for a cute guy named Caleb during the month her family spends in California selling those trees… but there is SO much more to this story!
First of all, there is Sierra’s difficulty in balancing her friendships with her best friends back home (in Oregon), with whom she *never* gets to spend the holiday season, and her best friend in California, with whom she *only* ever gets to spend the holiday season. Secondly, there is the tension around the possibility that her parents might call it quits with the tree lot after this year. (Though she only overheard a conversation about the possibility, it still started her worrying about what it would mean for both the family business and life as she knows it.) The third conflict, of course, centers around Caleb. Not only does Sierra have to decide whether she wants to invest time and emotion in starting a relationship with a guy she might never see again, but her best friend also told her a story about something Caleb did in the past. Something pretty terrible. And Sierra doesn’t know how to broach the subject, let alone how she might/should react if there is any truth to the story.
Coming of age, dealing with changing family and friendship dynamics, falling in love, and confronting/forgiving mistakes people have made in the past?!? Yeah… This is definitely *not* just a light and cheesy holiday romance.