Published on 7 August 2019
Genres: Love & Romance, United States, Young Adult
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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 a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The choice to request this book for review was deeply personal to me. As you may or may not know, a couple of years ago my husband suffered a catastrophic injury at work and broke his back. After two months in hospital, he came home in a wheelchair. I myself am also suffering from a regular and gradual degradation of my vision, so I identified quite strongly in this novel about a temporarily blind girl and the amputee that teaches her life doesn’t really suck, you know.
I don’t regret an instant reading this book. The relationship between Tessa and Weston, which does hit you quite hard over the head of ‘destined to fall in love’ even though Tessa can’t stand Wes and his annoying optimism at first, does seem to me to be one of those instances when you toss any sexually attracted teens together and watch them fall in love (thanks Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series), but apart from that, this novel was so sweet and innocent and wholesome that I can barely even deal with it.
So Tessa was in a car accident where she hit her head so hard that part of her brain swelled and has caused temporary blindness that will last approximately 3 months. Tessa is homeschooled, and a writer (with an apparent massive and loyal following on her poetry blog and Instagram), and her grandparents, thinking they know what is best for her, try to put an ad in a local newspaper asking for a personal assistant to come and do some typing so she can get back to writing again.
Look, I get it. I’m a blogger, too. I’d be really frustrated if I wanted to blog but couldn’t. But if someone tried to hire me a personal assistant without asking, to force me to write again, when maybe I didn’t feel like writing because I dunno, I could be depressed or whatever on account of losing my sight, I’d be really pissed, too. I get it.
Anyway, Weston overhears, after Tessa finds out the plan, throws a tantrum, and gets her nosy, over-protective grandparents to butt out of her business by cancelling the ad, because his dad is the paper editor. Weston takes it upon himself to force optimism into this girl’s life because he is a double amputee who lost his legs a few years ago, but he managed to overcome that because he didn’t suffer any kind of mental illness as a result of his life-changing disability.
If my tone is coming off as kind of pissed, yes, this part of the novel annoyed me. No one trusts Tessa to know what is best for her. She’s just some dumb teen girl who needs a handsome boy (but she doesn’t know it because she can’t see!) to come in and change her world like some kind of manic pixie dream boy.
I think the thing that annoys me the most is that everyone else knew what was good for Tessa but in the end she agreed with them! I absolutely hate it when other people push their will on characters, especially vulnerable characters, and it really annoys me when men boss women around like they’re helpless ducklings. Not only did Wes do this to his first kind of almost girlfriend, but he did just this to Tessa, completely ignored her wishes, and infuriatingly continued to force her to do things she didn’t want to do… until she admitted that she did. I don’t know who I’m more annoyed at: Weston, for being a bossy bitch; Tessa, for later admitting that other people do know what’s best for her; or her grandparents, who initiated the whole damn exercise.
OK, now I’m going to talk about some good things. I loved Tessa’s fierce online girl gang and I wish they had more page time. Similarly, I wish we’d seen more of Weston’s brothers, who seemed like a wicked little gang. Weston’s friendship with his best friend was, although unconventional, very supportive and complicated. I was completely sucked in to this book as I was reading it, because the language used flowed very well, and the use of flashbacks was perfectly timed to present the information as and when I needed it most. The focus was very much on the romantic with next to no sexual suggestions, so it is also a very ‘clean’ novel. Tessa’s grandfather is a preacher, so maybe this had something to do with it. The whole thing felt very innocent and sweet. Even Weston’s insults to his best friend, although politically incorrect, are kind of innocent.
The book was very well edited and the formatting was really gorgeous for an ARC. I don’t read many self-published novels these days, but I could just tell that this book was a labour of love and that plenty of time and effort had gone on not only the plot structure, the characterisation of the two leads, and the story, but the presentation itself. I absolutely loved the way this book was split into five parts all based on the five senses, and how that related back to the plot. The whole experience of reading it was very enjoyable.