It’s summer – the season for fluffy and adorable YA contemporaries, and if any cover has ever screamed summer, it’s 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons.
Who, What, Where?
After a car accident, 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickenson is left temporarily without her eyesight. Worried that her condition may be permanent, Tessa isolates herself in a state of despair. Attempting to help her, Tessa’s grandparents place an ad in search of a typist to allow her to continue her writing. What they don’t expect is Weston Ludovic to show up at their door – adrenaline-loving, optimistic, and missing both his legs. His only condition: don’t tell Tessa about his disability. Despite her attempts to get rid of him, Weston is determined to help Tessa and even relishes their interactions, grateful to be treated like a normal person. Slowly Weston begins to show Tessa that there’s more than one way to experience the world and while she may have a disability, it doesn’t have to prevent her from living life to the fullest.
Tessa & Weston
100 days of Sunlight is told in split POVs between Tessa and Weston. For a large portion of the book, I wasn’t a huge fan of Tessa. While I understood that she was having a rough time, I couldn’t get on board with her using her condition as an excuse to treat people terribly and wallow in her own misery, especially as she’d been told by multiple doctors it would only be temporary. She does improve with time, but I feel as though this change wasn’t as gradual as it should have been. Something I would also have appreciated, and could see the potential for, was some more depth to Tessa’s character. With all the detail devoted to Weston, I couldn’t help but find Tessa’s characterisation weaker in comparison.
I really liked Weston. He’s a wonderfully warm, positive and lovely character with an admirable sense of strength and determination. Flashback chapters can sometimes go very wrong in books, but I enjoyed the ones here in that they provided great insight into how Weston lost his legs and chose to handle it in the months following. These segments really added to my understanding and appreciation of who he was as a character, and getting to spend time with Weston’s brothers and best friend, Rudy, was nice as well.
Once I got past the idea of Weston randomly turning up at Tessa’ house and continuing to do so despite protest, I thought the general gist of the story was really sweet, even with the slow pacing during large sections. Weston spends a lot of time trying to get Tessa to realise how senses other than vision can be used to gain impressions of the world around you. They ride rollercoasters, smell flowers, play music, and eat waffles – all of which is super adorable. Later in the book we get a very small snapshot of how these experiences have changed Tessa’s perceptions. However, I really wish Abbie had gone that extra bit further and given us a greater sense of how they also impacted her poetry (which was very visual based prior to her accident) as it was so important to the story.
In terms of structure, the book is broken up into different sections named after each of the five senses. I question the necessity of this as several of the activities Weston and Tessa did, such as watching The Sound of Music, took place outside the section for the sense they would have been associated with.
I’ll admit, I found the climax/ending of this book slightly frustrating. The fact that Tessa & Weston had feelings for each other was very clear but at the same time, after less than three months together, I felt like them being in love and to such a ‘what is life without you’ degree was too much for the timeframe. I also found Weston’s actions to be a little out of character with what we’d previously seen of him and the fact that it was drawn out in the way that it was grated on me. Still, there’s no denying how cute and aww worthy the final scene is.
100 days of Sunlight is an easy, sweet and quick read. If you’re after something comforting and cute to fill a lazy afternoon, this is a solid choice.