100 Days of Sunlight
by Abbie Emmons
eARC, 311 pages
Published August 7th 2019
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.
I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion on the book.
Before we start: when I first saw 100 Days of Sunlight, I immediately got captured by it’s gorgeous, bright summery cover. You all know I love bright covers so this one is a win from me!
100 Days of Sunlight is such a cute, precious summer contemporary. Both of our main characters have disability, albeit one is only temporarily. The whole premise of this book revolves around Weston helping Tessa coming to terms with her conditions and help her realize that she’s so much more than her condition.
I think this book manages to handle the topic really well and humanize the characters in such a realistic way. Tessa acts realistically to her condition; imagine being robbed of your sight, even though everyone assure you it was only temporary there has to be this fear within you. She didn’t handle it with grace at the beginning and while it may turn some readers off, I love her because her feelings are normal and portrayed realistically. Weston, despite being a positive person trying to help Tessa also carries this weight he himself didn’t even realize. I love how the authors give them both time to process and let this book focus on processing, healing, and acceptance without piling more problems unto them.
The writing style of this book is very introspective, meaning it’s easy for us to sympathize and connect with the characters as we got to see their feelings, thoughts, hope and fears. But it also means that it has more monologues rather than conversations and the conversations that happened felt really precious and fragile.
I honestly don’t know whether I meant that in a good or bad way. I think both, because at the beginning Weston kinda forced himself to Tessa’s life and kinda didn’t take no for an answers. Sure, it all worked out in the end but just because he had experienced what she experienced, doesn’t mean her experience will be the same. And later the conversations were used to build friendship and eventually, romance between the characters. They were cute, but idk mostly they just felt stilted and cringy at times. And everything felt really personal and intimate which makes me kinda uncomfortable, for reasons I can’t even phantom.
And finally, a minor complaint, but I can’t believe Tessa’s grandma let Wetson into Tessa’s room, unsupervised. The family doesn’t know him and Tessa couldn’t know what he’s doing. There are so many ways this could go wrong, I couldn’t believe they will let him in that easily.
True to the premise, 100 Days of Sunlight is a poignant story about healing and getting back up when life goes sideways. The characters felt realistic and we get to know them personally as the story felt really reflective. However, it also made the story filled with monologues and felt deeply intimate. For a debut though, I think this is great and I would surely read the author’s subsequent releases!