good morning, cyberspace!
Today I’m gonna tell you all about a book.
It’s a good book. A soft book. A book of sadness and happiness and a million other emotions all jumbled and stuffed between two adorable yellow covers. It’s a book that tugged at my heartstrings, a book that made me laugh, and–coincidentally–a book that was written by none other than the marvelous Abbie Emmons. (who, if you don’t know [though I’m gonna take a wild stab in the dark here and say that you PROOOOOBABLY know who she is by now] is a blogger and YouTuber–AND can apparently write absolutely fantastic novels, as well. Kind of unfair how much talent this girl has, but I digress.)
I think I should probably mention this now–since I don’t want to go to jail for forgetting to mention it or something–but I was able to receive an e-arc of Abbie’s book, 100 Days Of Sunlight, through Netgalley. (a service which I have coincidentally never before used, and therefore will probably never use again because #terrifying) This means that while I might have been able to read the ARC* of this book for free, my thoughts and opinions and feelings towards this book are COMPLETELY my own, and are in no way, shape, or form altered by the fact that A) I love Abbie’s blog and YouTube channel, and B) I got to read the book for free. Yes, there will probably be a lot of gushing and squealing and references to “MY HEART!!!!” but I mean??? How is that different from any other of my posts, am I right?
Right. So now that we’ve got all that weird legally binding stuff out of the way, let’s jump right into the actual review!
*Advanced Reader Copy. You know. In case you didn’t know this already.
100 DAYS OF SUNLIGHT by Abbie Emmons
“When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down.
Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.
Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.
Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.
100 Days of Sunlight is a poignant and heartfelt novel by author Abbie Emmons. If you like sweet contemporary romance and strong family themes then you’ll love this touching story of hope, healing, and getting back up when life knocks you down.”
RELEASE DATE: August 7th, 2019
MY RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
• • •
So. 100 Days of Sunlight. Where do I even begin with this story? It’s like sunshine and summer and pretty aesthetics and inspiration and heartbreak and waffles all smashed together into one conglomerate glob of pure heart-squishiness. (and if that isn’t enough to make you want to go out and snatch this book up, I really don’t know what will. . .) The plot was relatively simple and low-key–no big murder mystery. No aliens swooping down to take over the world and destroy human life as we know it. No frustrating love triangles to make me scream and pull my hair out in massive clumps (bless you, Abbie)–but even so, there was something just so addicting about this book. There were nights (one night in particular, actually) where I physically COULD NOT put this book down until I had finished it.
And then I just sat there in the darkness of my room at 1 in the morning, staring at the ceiling and wondering how on earth this book was so perfect. (or, you know. as close to perfect as it could possibly be.)
Now, I’ll go right ahead and admit that I am NOT a huge contemporary reader. I can probably list on one and a half hands the grand total of contemporary novels I’ve read in the past, and within those books, only a handful were stories that I truly loved and would absolutely read again. But as for 100 Days of Sunlight, I’m very pleased to say that it made it into that second category. This is a book that I would 100% recommend to any contemporary reader, and possibly even to someone like me who only likes the occasional contemporary.
But, as with all great stories, there are multiple layers to this book that make it a great novel. And since I am nothing but a Very Professional Reviewer Who Hardly Reviews Anything™, I’ve broken my review of this book up into lovely, bite-sized chunks for you all.
So let’s dive right in, shall we? First and foremost, we have. . .
If you’ve been around this blog for any good length of time–or, contrariwise, if you’ve heard me talk at any length about what I think makes a good story–then you will know that characters are 100% at the top of my list.
I love characters. I love creating characters, reading about new characters, cracking open a character’s head to see what makes them tick. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that characters may just be my absolute favorite part about writing. And Abbie absolutely, 100% did NOT disappoint in this category.
Tessa and Weston (and basically every other character in this fantastic cast) are just the most precious beans of ever. They each have their own unique personalities and interests, yet click so well together, and I couldn’t help but root for them both throughout the entirety of this book. Weston is this fierce little bear cub whose courage and strength continuously astounded me, and Tessa is–at first–this tiny prickly cactus sprout that don’t need no man, and I just !!!! My heart. My heart was doing all of the squish, you guys.
Something else I really enjoyed about this book is how both Weston and Tessa had decent relationships with their parents/grandparents. It’s becoming more and more rare to find books where the parental units aren’t just plain horrible, simply for the sake of letting the kids run amok on the city streets in order to “find themselves” and “become adults at the age of sixteen”, because apparently the only way to mature and grow is by having an example of what NOT to do smack-dab in your life. So the fact that Weston and Tessa actually had adults to turn to and ask advice from and to model their behaviors after was something that I personally found very refreshing and much-needed.
I already mentioned that the basic plot for this story was relatively easygoing, but let’s just scoot that aside for a moment and focus on the theme.
Because holy guacamole, you guys: the theme of this book was everything.
I love books with big plots–not gonna lie. But in the end, the true heart and soul of a story isn’t what happens, but what we learn. And this book had us–and our precious cinnamon characters–learning a lot.
Something I absolutely adored about this book was the fact that it wasn’t 100% in-your-face with the romance. Most contemporary books I read (*cough all of them? *cough*) are very romance-heavy, which–unfortunately–I have to say I understand. Contemporaries are typically romances. That’s just the way the top spins. But with 100 Days, while there was still a romance involved, it didn’t feel like the main core of the book.
The heart and soul of this book is hope and overcoming darkness and picking yourself back up, even when you don’t feel like you can take another step. Though our main protagonist goes through the majority of the book stuck in a black cloud of bitterness and anger and sadness at having gone blind for what she hopes to be only 100 days, there’s this undeniable sense of sunlight (*cough* I’m so clever *cough*) woven throughout the pages, as well. This story isn’t just cutesy romance and modern day settings. It’s learning to take what life flings at you and flinging it right back. It’s overcoming the obstacles in our paths, flying even when they try to clip our wings, and most importantly of all to me . . . learning to smile again once the darkness hits.
I’ve followed Abbie on her blog and YouTube channel for quite a while now, and one kind of post/video that I’ve always enjoyed are her advice posts on writing craft. I love soaking in as much writing advice as I can possibly get–especially from people in the writing industry–but I’ll admit that I’m always just a little bit iffy when it comes to taking advice from people who’s stories I’ve never read. It’s that whole “the proof is in the pudding” debacle, and I know it sounds foolish, but if I don’t know from personal experience that someone’s writing actually matches up with what they’re teaching, then I tend to take it with a grain of salt.
(as you should probably do, yourself. except with my advice, of course. everything I preach is 100% accurate and you should take it as gospel truth.)
BUT. 100 Days of Sunlight has completely changed the way I view Abbie’s advice when it comes to writing. Everything I’ve ever heard her talk about–from character development to what makes a story good and worthwhile–is what she practices in her own writing, and it clearly shows. Her imagery was crisp and vivid, her characters were well-developed and played wonderfully off one another, her plot was solid, and–as I already mentioned–her theme was raw and real. It wasn’t hard at all to become thoroughly engrossed in this story, and I would 100% read another book by Abbie any day. There’s nothing exceptionally flowery about her prose, but the way she chooses her words creates a wonderful page-turner, which–if you think about it–is pretty much what every story teller truly wants.
Also her poetry was magical. So.
Arrrrrgh. I hate mentioning a book’s cons!! It feels really taboo for some reason, and I really just want to skip over this portion. Buuuut this is supposed to be a completely honest review, so I’ll just get this over with real quick.
Like a band-aid.
All right, so the first–and by far most important–con that I can think of for this book was all the swearing. This was something that I was not expecting, and it kind of caught me off-guard at first. I understand that most people consider swearing in their writing to be perfectly fine–whether or not they swear in real life–and I’m definitely not here to judge that. But as someone who just doesn’t like swears in general, I wasn’t a huge fan of all the cuss words sprinkled throughout the text. It definitely wasn’t enough to detract too much from my enjoyment of 100 Days, but it was still kind of cringe-inducing on my end, so I thought I should mention it.
(NOTE: to be completely fair, however, the swears WERE mainly used by Weston, who I don’t think came from a Christian background like Tessa. I’m not saying this makes swearing fine and dandy in my eyes, but it might explain why there are swears?)
The second con I can think of is pretty nit-picky, so I’m not really sure if it counts, but here goes:
100 Days of Sunlight is split between two POV’s–Weston’s and Tessa’s. Now, when I first started this book, I was under the impression that the MAJORITY of the story was about Tessa. A lot of the chapters, however, are from Weston’s point of view, and while I really enjoyed getting to see how and why Weston became the way that he was–both physically and mentally–there were times when I really wished we could skip back to Tessa’s point of view, which took place in the current day. Something about Weston’s POV just kind of dragged for me in places, though it definitely started picking up speed again towards the third quarter of the book, so make with that what you will.
I think any final cons would be that there were a few repetitive places in the book, like how Tessa would be on the verge of doing something, but then she wouldn’t because “she was blind”. I definitely understand how alone and alienated she felt from the rest of her family because of this, but there were times when I just wanted to push her out the door and FORCE her to take part in things, even if it was awkward at first.
Though, to be fair, that’s me viewing things from the outside, rather than the inside, so my opinion probably doesn’t matter that much. XD
IN THE END. . .
. . .this book was an absolutely AMAZING read, you guys. I loved the characters and the settings and the themes and the plot. I loved how Weston taught Tessa to smile and laugh and to live again through her four other senses. I loved the relationships between ALL of the characters, including the parents/grandparents and their kids. I loved Weston and Tessa’s romance (*heart squishes happily*) and I loved how even through all that pain and depression and hurt, there was still hope that life can continue on–and sometimes be even better than it was before we met the darkness.
Basically, I just really really loved this book. I’m still not completely sold on the whole contemporary genre, but between this, Cait’s A Thousand Perfect Notes, and Tiffany Schmidt’s Bookish Boyfriends series (thanks, Remi.), the contemporaries may just make a convert out of me yet.
TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!
So! This was something a bit out of the ordinary! Would you guys like to see more bookish reviews from me, or is this the kind of post that you just sorta skip past on your blog roll cause you’re a bored sausage? Either way, feel free to tell me what you think down in the comments! Any and all advice on the kinds of posts you guys like to read is greatly appreciated!
But now . . . QUESTIONS!: Have you gotten the chance to read 100 Days of Sunlight yet? (if no and you really like contemporaries, I highly recommend this one. Just saying.) What kinds of things do you look for in a great book? Do those things differ when you’re looking at the book as a reader vs. when you’re looking at it as a writer? Is there a genre that you don’t typically read, but you’ve managed to find some hidden gems within? What makes or breaks a book for you? (for me, personally, it’s characters. a book can have the most magical of plots, but if it’s got lame characters, I’m probably not gonna stick with it.) And most importantly. . .
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING/WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK??
My TBR weeps at this question, but my heart is happy. . .
As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! And until next time. . .