My Rating: ★★★★★ [I actually rated this 4.5 stars, but 4 stars are not enough so I’m rounding up]
Note: This review is technically spoiler-free, with only the details given in the synopsis revealed. If you are going into this book blind, do not read any further than this point, please. I will be discussing the general plot from here on out.
Genre(s): Young Adult
Plot: [Copied from Goodreads] 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. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.
- I’ve waited for this book for so long, because Jay Asher is basically my fave
- It’s about Christmas
- All of Jay Asher’s characters are always so real and relatable
- The resolution of Caleb’s past (because family is important)
- This book was just cute in general
- Sierra’s friendship
- Caleb’s friend’s name is Brent; my husband’s name is Brent and his best friend’s name is Caleb (not really a plot point but I thought this was cool okay)
- Jay Asher really has a way with storytelling
- Their gift exchange made me feel all tingly
- Sierra really does have the coolest friends when it comes to advice
- Peppermint mocha
- The insta-love thing was kind of meh but it worked given the timeline
- Sometimes Sierra would say/narrate things that drove me crazy in context (because of how obsessed she is with vocabulary words), but would make sense if any other teenager said them out of context
- I could not stand Devon
- [There is so much of this book that I want to quote but I didn’t highlight like I normally do and I forgot most of them. Plus, spoilers.]
- “I don’t know how to fully enjoy any of these moments without wondering if it’s the last.”
- “It’s your heart. No one else gets a say in that.”
My Thoughts: I’ve waited for this book for SO LONG. When it finally arrived, I had to force myself to start it. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Christmas romance and Christmas miracles and all that jazz, and I was hesitant to read a book that fell into this category after reading Thirteen Reasons Why. Part of me thought it would be epically and heart wrenchingly painful, and I think I was afraid of the emotions I would face. But I read it anyway.
And I am so glad I did.
The romance aspect was just fluffy enough to enjoy, but not so over the top that I was rolling my eyes. The characters were all flawed and relatable. It was written smoothly and simply, so it could easily be picked up again when the time is right (winter, when I need something fluffy, etc). And my peppermint mocha intake definitely increased while reading this book.
The main theme of this book is forgiveness, and each character goes through it at some point– Caleb, Sierra, Sierra’s parents, Caleb’s friends. The emphasis on letting things go and trusting yourself is heavy throughout the whole book, and it gives the entire novel a feeling of coming of age, even without the plot being entirely centered around that.
I would recommend this book to any of my YA loving friends, especially those with a soft spot for Christmas and tingly romance.