I’ve been waiting too long for this blog tour but it’s finally hereee! Today is my stop for 100 Days of Sunlight Blog Tour and without further ado, I’m delighted to not only share 1̶5̶0̶0̶+̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶d̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶x̶c̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶b̶a̶b̶b̶l̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ my review, but I’ll also have a guest post from Abbie herself where she talks about how she came up with those lovely, gorgeous, shiny cover! Also, don’t forget to stay tuned ’til the end of this post because you don’t want to miss the opportunity to join the International Giveaway of 3 eBook Copies of 100 Days of Sunlight! Now, let’s get into the review, shall we?!
100 Days of Sunlight follows our main character, the 16 years old Tessa Dickinson, who recently got into a car crash and is now temporary blind. Being a poet who consistently shares her works on her blog, this obviously took her by surprise because now she feels she can’t do anything and trap in the darkness. Trying to find a way to cheer up their granddaughter, Tessa’s grandpa and grandma decided to post a newspaper ad to look for a typewriter, someone that could help Tessa back to the comfort of her blogging and writing zone. Enter 16 years old Weston Ludovico, a bright, confident, and obnoxiously optimistic amputee, who happened to saw the ad and decided to help Tessa to come out of her misery and get her back up on her knees. Through many ups and downs, and after Life knocked both of them down with different challenges during different times, we got to witnessed how the two started as barely a stranger, and become each other’s biggest support system.
If you ask me how I found out about 100 Days of Sunlight in the first place, it’s not a special story, really. But believe me, after I read the ARC twice (yes, you read that right), it definitely leaves a special mark in my heart. Long story short, I was doing my usual core, browsing mindlessly on NetGalley, and that’s when I saw the cover for the very first time. I’m not trying to sound overdramatic when I said it’s love at the first sight, but it is love at the first sight. I read the synopsis and I knew I had to read this story. I immediately went to do more research about the book and I ended up on Abbie’s blog, which completely amazed me due to her wonderful blog posts, her joyful videos, and the fact that 100 Days of Sunlight is her debut book and she’s going to publish it independently. Right at that second, I signed myself up to become a part of the blog tour and I was screaming (okay, not screaming, more like an ugly squeal) when I received the email from Abbie, saying that she’d be happy to have me as the part of the tour!
→ Graphic description of accidents. → Mention of PTSD and traumatic experiences.
A fearless coming-of-age love story wrapped in a relatable modern setup with a wonderful representation of mental health disorder and disability.
I’m always a big fan of classic coming-of-age love story. What’s not to like about it? It’s fun, reckless, and it reminds me of the good ol’ days (I just realized I sound super old by saying that, when in fact I’m not even 25 yet… but let’s skip that). 100 Days of Sunlight feels close to one, but the fact that it didn’t feature your typical mainstream couple, is what makes me love it even harder. The characters are definitely my most favorite thing about this story (and I’ll ramble more about them later!), but I’d be lying if I say that the plot didn’t amaze me.The simplicity yet complexity of it feels perfect and it really balanced the strong presences from the characters. Tessa was miserable and Weston wanted to help her, because he was in her position once and he knew how it feels like. That’s really it. That’s what this whole story is about. But Abbie managed to develop such simple premise into a well-crafted and intriguing plot. We got to see how Weston worked for his goal to help Tessa through four incredible chapters: smell, taste, sound, and touch, and every one of them didn’t fail to make me smile and swoon over their relationship.
Remarkable characters with a contrast personality between the reserved Tessa and the spontaneous Weston, and the different path that they chose to heal themselves.
The characters from 100 Days of Sunlight is definitely my personal favorite aspect about this book and I couldn’t help but rooting for each and every single one of them. The main characters, Tessa and Weston, are obviously the center of this story and it will be impossible to not like them, but I’m surprised to find myself to be falling for the other side characters too, starting from Rudy — Weston’s most loyal best friend, Tessa’s caring grandpa and grandma, to Weston’s adorable three little brothers — Noah, Aidan and Henry. I also adore Tessa’s internet friends and their cute interaction, although I wish we got to see them a bit more in the story!
This story delivered through a dual POV, Tessa and Weston, and the best thing about it is you can tell exactly the differences between them, and not just because they had different chapters, but their contrast personality completely shines through the way they were talking and thinking. And the multidimension of these characters was priceless. Tessa is not just a shy girl and Weston is not just a spontaneous boy. We got to see how both of them evolved, both for better or worse, and I think it’s crucial to show a character’s complexity, not just when they were at the top of the world, but also when they drowned and stucked at the bottom.
➪ Tessa Dickinson — The story started with Tessa’s nightmare about her car crash and how she lost her sight because of it. This incident shocked Tessa to the core and now she had to get through her day in the darkness. Abbie delivered Tessa’s emotions with choice of graceful words, and it was impactful. She didn’t use any complex or complicated words, but instead decided to go with simpler ones and combine them into an exquisite prose. Surprisingly, many of my favorite lines from this book are coming from Tessa’s thought and not from her actual poems. They were fierce and raw, and I got chills from reading them.
I drag my fingernails down the glass; I clench my teeth together; I curl my toes. It’s the opposite of falling apart; the opposite of exploding. I’m like a star before it goes supernova. Collapsing inward.
➪ Weston Ludovico — If Weston is a book cover, it will looks exactly like the cover of this book. He’s a ray of sunshine for everyone that knows him, but especially for Tessa. I enjoyed his character so much because you can’t never guess what’s he’s going to do or to say next. His candidness was not jerky and it was refreshing. My favorite thing about him is how he chose the hard path to face the world again after losing his legs. For me, his character development was one of the most intense to watch. The moment he lost his legs, he kept saying to himself that he wanted to be normal. Because for society, normal is having a complete and functioning body parts. But then, he decided to face his biggest fear (which is to appear as dependent and weak) and he worked hard to change that into his strength. He didn’t want to be normal anymore. He wanted to be treated as a normal person. And that’s the most intense change and development that I’ve ever seen.
It’s the first time in three years anyone has ever met me without that look of pity on their face. The first time anyone has ever looked at me and not seen me. The first time anyone has stood before me — with perfectly normal legs — and complained about their own problem. The feeling is exhilarating.
➪ Rudy Kaufmann — I just want to say… where do I get myself a best friend like Rudy Kaufmann?! His friendship with Weston was beautiful, pure and solid. I cried once, well, twice because I read this book twice, and it was during the same scene between Rudy and Weston at the hospital. I’m not sure if I can explain more about the scene without spoiling too much here, but this scene was flawless. The emotional intensity involved in this scene was one of the most genuine interaction that I’ve ever seen. Will I re-read this book, fully knowing that I’ll cry during this scene again? 100% I will.
I felt like every drop of energy and life had drained out of my body through one of those tubes. But I could feel the warmth of Rudy’s hand, strong and desperate. It was like a rescue, someone pulling me out of a black ocean. I would have drowned if he wasn’t there. I would have drowned.
The only thing that keeping me from giving a full five stars, was the using of repetitive words and sentences. I’m not familiar with this method and I’m not completely sure how I feel about them, but I’m sensing that the point of it was to make a scene appears as more intense.
Overall, I was having a wonderful time with this book. I wish I could write a better review so I can truly express how I experienced it, but reading 100 Days of Sunlight feels easy, yet after I finished the story, it left me with impactful messages that I kept thinking for days. If you’re planning to go on a book haul very soon while also wanting to support a debut and indie author, please consider picking up a copy of this book!
Thank you, Abbie, for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Before officially ending my review, I just want to give a massive appreciation to Abbie for her incredible hard work to publish her debut independently. I’ve never seen such a well-prepared marketing campaigns and contents, and SHE DID THAT ALL BY HERSELF! If you ever decided to pick up her book, don’t forget to also check out 100 Days of Sunlight Website to get access to all fun bonus contents! From author Q&A, aesthetic boards, book playlist, official merchs (which looks superb!) to a giveaway! I’ll attach the playlist below because I’ve been listening non-stop to it!
And that’s my review! If you’re still reading until this point, thank you! Now, let’s get into the fun part, where Abbie talks all about that gorgeous cover! If you’re ever wondering about what’s inspired her, how she came up with the idea, and how’s the matter of technicality, you’re in luck, my friend. Read further to get all the answers!
HOW I DESIGNED MY BOOK COVER? by ABBIE EMMONS
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a phrase we hear a lot. It’s usually meant metaphorically, but this maxim gained its popularity because it’s true in a literal sense – most people judge books by their covers. If a book cover catches our eye, we’re more likely to pick it up and read it.
Needless to say, designing a great book cover is no easy task. So what made me want to design my own?
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to do pretty much everything myself. (Hence the reason I’m an indie author, lol) That’s the biggest reason why I ended up designing my own book cover. As I was writing 100 Days of Sunlight, I knew exactly what I wanted the cover to look like: an explosion of happiness and sunshine and different elements of the book, so that it would be kind of like a hidden picture that you only really understand after reading the book. Since I’m pretty handy with Photoshop, I thought it would be easier to design my own cover rather than explain my vision to someone else.
But let’s start at the beginning.
THE INSPIRATION The cover art was inspired by a lot of things. First, the title of course! I knew a book with the word sunlight in the title had to be yellow. So after lots of playing around with colors, I decided on the perfect shade of sunshiny yellow.
I always knew that I wanted the cover art to be like a hidden picture – a bunch of elements from the book hidden in the artwork. (I was also very inspired by the cover art for Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon and The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin) I knew I wanted TONS OF FLOWERS, and I knew the perfect place to find them: the public domain. On sites like Biodiversity Heritage Library, there are so many beautiful botanical prints and other artwork available to use for free in artistic works like book covers!
GETTING CREATIVE The fun part of any graphic design is getting creative with it. How can you repurpose something, flip it upside-down, use a piece here and a piece there, etc? It takes a lot of trial and error, but when everything works together to create something beautiful, it’s all worth it.
One thing I’m not talented with is a paintbrush. So for the specific illustrations I knew I wanted on the cover art (ie: a yellow ukulele, a waffle, etc.) I had to reach out to a freelance artist to help me. I ended up working with the very talented Stasia and she made my imaginings a reality. Her watercolor illustrations paired beautifully with the public domain flowers, birds, and butterflies. Right from the start, I knew it was going to look beautiful!
Like I said before, I have a little bit of background in graphic design and I’m pretty familiar with Photoshop. So it was actually super fun to play around with the cover art. I started with the typography and then worked everything else around the title.
GETTING TECHNICAL The not-so-fun part of cover design is the technical side of it. You have to make sure you’re using the right dimensions and resolution so that your book prints high-quality. You also have to make sure you’re using press color profiles – CYMK, not RGB. All the details made my head spin after a while, but it had to be taken care of!
Another technical thing to do is jacket art. Because for a paperback, you need an image that wraps around an entire book, includes a spine, and doesn’t bleed over any lines where it’s not supposed to. Hardcovers get even more complicated with the inside leaves that fold over the front and back covers of the book. It’s a long, tedious process of correcting files, uploading files, ordering books, waiting for them to ship to you, finding errors and fixing them, rinse, repeat.
But, in the end, it all pays off – when I get to hold paperback and hardcover copies of my book in my hands and marvel at how beautiful it turned out!! I’m very proud of the cover art and jacket design, and I can’t wait for other readers to hold this book in their hands. Nothing is quite as satisfying as putting in hard work on a project and being happy with the finished product.
Let’s talk! Are you an indie author? Have you ever considered designing your own book cover? What would it look like?
about the author
Abbie Emmons has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pencil.
What started out as an intrinsic love for storytelling has turned into her lifelong passion. There’s nothing she likes better than writing (and reading) stories that are both heartrending and humorous, with a touch of cute romance and a poignant streak of truth running through them.
Abbie is also a YouTuber, singer/songwriter, blogger, traveler, filmmaker, big dreamer, and professional waffle-eater. When she’s not writing or dreaming up new stories, you can find her road-tripping to national parks or binge-watching BBC Masterpiece dramas in her cozy Vermont home with a cup of tea and her fluffy white lap dog, Pearl.
If you want to see Abbie in her element (ranting about stories) check out her YouTube channel.