Wednesday, July 31, 2019

100 Days of Sunlight, or, the One with My Life Story plus More Cute Stuff and Some Blindness

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100 Days of Sunlight

by Abbie Emmons

Pages: 311
Publisher: Self-published by author
Publication Date: August 7th, 2019
Cover Comments: Major props to the author for designing this cover herself. It's adorable and has so many clues pointing to plot lines in the novel.
First Lines: 
"The black pickup truck flies through the red light, heading straight for us.
               Goodreads δΈ¨ Amazon
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.



100 Days of Sunlight is a cute book that made me smile and feel the sunshine a little extra on my skin. I’ve been on a string of really good contemporary novels lately (shoutout to my girl Kasie West), and I was sure that 100 Days would continue that streak. I loved the story as described through the synopsis, and I always like to support people in the blog/vlog community. However, I have a lot of qualms about the story, characters, and writing that took away from my enjoyment of the novel as a whole.

I’m a little convinced that Abbie Emmons has been stalking me, or my high school self anyway. In high school, I was homeschooled, Christian, bookish, lived with other relatives instead of my parents from a young age, and ran a blog in my spare time. I should have related a lot to the main character, Tessa, but the sentence above pretty much describes everything we know about Tessa, besides the recent turn of events that rendered her blind. I never got a sense for who she was as a person. Her character was mainly defined by her reactions to Weston. We got tiny insights into her personality when she’s talking with her online friends through chat, but there were so many missed opportunities to go beneath the surface. I felt like more could have been explored concerning Tessa’s parents and her feelings about them, her relationship with her grandparents, even her faith and how it is affected by this period in her life, but everything stayed surface-level. Also, I cringe when I read books about homeschooled teens who don’t have deep friendships with other teens face-to-face. I’m all for connecting with friends over the internet, but sometimes you actually need to be with friends, physically, and I don’t care for the stereotype perpetuated here that homeschoolers don’t have friends outside of the digital world. Also that Christian teens don't have "inappropriate" thoughts about boys.

The story gave a little more depth to Weston, mainly through his flashbacks to his injury. Weston’s story about how his disability began and how he coped with it was the part of the book where I began to be more pulled in - I wanted to know what happened and how he got to be the lil ray of sunshine that he was. Prior to the flashbacks, I thought Weston was annoying and creepy (how about not stalking someone to their home and then refusing to leave when asked, yeah?), but hearing more about his life, his friendship with Rudy, and his ADORABLE three little brothers was really interesting. However, at a certain point, his sections started to become more of a motivational speech (literally at one point) that teetered on the edge of being sanctimonious. This became even more evident when he monologues about how he needs to “save” Tessa, and show her how to stand up to Life, which is where his character got some points shaved off the cute guy total.

Getting past my initial dislike of the idea that Weston has decided to swoop in uninvited to show Tessa how to live, I really liked the way the book is divided into five senses - smell, hearing, taste, touch, and sight. I really think this book would make a great rom-com movie. The way Weston tries to make Tessa happy through showing her how to experience things through the senses she still has is truly sweet, and makes for some adorable moments. This is where the story really grew on me, namely when Weston and Tessa watch Tessa’s favorite movie - I’m leaving this intentionally vague so you can enjoy the sweetness yourself first. The only thing that spoiled the romance aspect of the book was a consent issue that made me uncomfy. I don't want to spoil anything, but you'll know it when you see it.

I thought that the obstacle to Tessa and Weston being together was pretty artificial. I didn’t buy that Weston would be afraid of Tessa knowing about his disability and wish that this point had been built to more. Finally, there were some aspects of the writing that I found a bit juvenile and irritating, like Tessa’s poetry (unless it was intentionally cringe-y, because I too wrote poetry like that in high school…), and the tendency of the author to emphasize things by doing this: I am blind.
b l i n d.

In a nutshell, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a short, cute contemporary romance in the style of Me Before You or Five Feet Apart. I loved reading about Weston’s little brothers, Weston’s relationship with his best friend Rudy, and sweet portions of Tessa and Weston’s romance. I know that Abbie Emmons is a young indie author and that this is her debut novel, so I have high hopes that her next offerings will be more fleshed out and enjoyable. 100 Days of Sunlight is a great start.


*Thanks to Netgalley and the author for the chance to read 100 Days of Sunglight before its publication date.

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