Book Review

Review: 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

I’ve never come across Abbie Emmons before (does that make me a bad book blogger?) and I normally read contemporary YA with a touch of cynicism (where are the swords? Where is the magic? Where are the battles?) … but I will admit, 100 Days of Sunlight was CUTE. On the downside, it also pushed the most painful male/female stereotypes.

Title: 100 Days of Sunlight

Author: Abbie Emmons

Pages: 311

Publication Date: 7th August 2019

Publisher: Indie/self-published

Tessa is a poet, a writer, a blogger and … blind. After a car accident, she is left with a temporary condition that means she is living in darkness, potentially for the next 100 days. When she sinks into despair, her grandparents try to post an ad in a local newspaper for a girl to help Tessa to write and work on her blog. Instead, Weston appears – he is cocky, a little obnoxious, loud and has two prosthetic legs. He convinces Tessa’s grandparents to keep his disability a secret from Tessa and, knowing that he will understand the pain she is experiencing even better than she does, he makes it his mission to ‘save’ her and support her recovery, helping her to take joy in a (temporary) life without sight.

The Good:

  • Try and tell me that cover isn’t beautiful. Go on, I dare you.
  • A lot of the conversations between Tessa and Weston felt natural, sweet and adorable – enough that I even got butterflies in my cold dead heart as the story reached its climax.
  • The story itself is quick, cute and speeds along – I read this a lot faster than I would normally do and it was largely a pleasure to read.
  • There’s a playlist for this book! Is this a thing now? I haven’t read Priory of the Orange Tree yet (I know, hurt me) but have really enjoyed Samantha Shannon’s playlist for the book. Just like 100 Days of Sunlight, Emmons’ playlist is cute, sunny and upbeat. If you want to listen to it (and it’s delightfully harmless), click here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/397l2IJNOpZOxVhacR1h2y?si=Ca0td0v9Ruy7RHVWl892yw

The Not So Good:

  • At the start of the novel Tessa talks about how the accident was her fault – yet there’s no mention of this later on, besides suggesting that she should have said no to her Grandma taking her out, or taken longer getting ready, so they weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m going to assume this was part of her depression, rather than something that was missed out.
  • All of the focus is on Tessa, her temporary blindness and her ‘PTSD’ – as an adult, her Grandma is apparently completely capable of getting through a traumatic incident without any side-effects.
  • The over-use of the word ‘pansyass’ – does this mean anything different to anyone else? Because to me this ‘friendly insult’ is basically calling someone a pussy/gay. And if you wouldn’t use either of those words, then don’t use ‘pansyass’ either. Even amongst best friends, which is how this word is used, it’s still not appropriate (I might even go as far as homophobic!) as a form of ‘manly banter’. The first few times I overlooked it, as I was convinced someone would call Weston out for this – no such luck.
  • That leads me into my big issue – the male/female stereotypes. Tessa is firey on the inside, but blond-haired, blue-eyed and delicate on the outside. She’s homeschooled and likes to write. Weston punches people for fun and doesn’t like to cry. Here are a couple of quotes:

“I could understand her hesitation – she was a girl, and girls are more shaken and squeamish about stuff like this.”

“Stupid emotions, always coming at the wrong moment. I clenched my jaw, fighting to control myself.”

I read a lot of fantasy, which means that I often let some stereotypes pass as I’m too busy enjoying the story, but I really don’t feel that Weston was ever actually challenged about what really comes across as toxic masculinity (a phrase I would never normally use …). There was no change in his personality before/after his accident and he is never called out on this.

I finished reading with a happy glow, as the story was sweet and cute … but the more I think about it the more this really can’t get above 3 stars for me.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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