What I’ve Been Audiobooking Lately

I used to do audiobooks all the time (exhibit A) but then I stopped. Mostly it was due to the fact that I changed workouts and couldn’t listen to audiobooks anymore while doing it and also just having this feeling like I’d rather listen to music all the time. But I have found my way back to audiobooks when I feel like it in the second half of April and May I finished 3 audiobooks.

Also, side note THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your amazing recommendations in the comments of this post. I’m STILL going through them all and adding to my list! THANK YOU THANK YOU!

 

First up I did a reread of one of my favorite books:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I had been wanting to reread If I Stay for a while (it’s been YEARS since the first time I read it) so audio was the perfect way to get to it. It was a really solid audio performance. Really solid narrator. I will say I’m glad that I READ the book first as a physical book because I think I was way more connected to that. But as a REREAD…the audio was great. It was nice to revisit a story I know so well as a favorite but also experience all these details you’ve forgotten. It made me love this book one hundred times more. I really appreciated the details. Also, I realize how many details I “remembered” were actually things from the movie which I saw more recently than I read If I Stay obviously. Even knowing everything that happened this was just as emotional for me as it was the first time. I’ve talked before about why I’m afraid to reread books sometimes and I’m happy that this one held up for me…because it’s a major fear of mine.

 

Then I went on a little Dessen binge which I so enjoyed. As a general statement I find that her books make nice audiobooks (at least for me).

 

First up was Someone Like You:

Someone Like You by Sarah DessenSomeone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Rating

RATING-reallyliked

I really loved this one. Some of my friends say they didn’t like some of her early books but man did I love this one. I hadn’t read a ton of Dessen prior to this — a few books here and there — but this one was a little bit more serious or darker (I don’t even know if those are even the right words) than I remember the ones I had read a long time ago. I loved the friendship of Hayley and Scarlett in this one and how they were there for each other through some hard times — loss, day to day struggles, pregnancy, boy drama, etc.. The relationship between Hayley and her mom was an interesting one — I related with having a mom kind of similar to her — very overbearing and strict. I was actually REALLY surprised about the romance (he’s a bad boy type) and how it developed/where it went and even more shocked about how it all ended. I was REALLY happy with the ending — very refreshing and not something I see a whole lot. Regarding the audio, I had no qualms with the narration. Easy to follow.

And then I followed it with:

Lock & keyLock & Key by Sarah Dessen

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Oh man did I love Lock & Key!! My heart was just so full and happy listening to this one. Teared up quite a bit. Dessen is just so damn talented in having complex and great relationships — romantic, family, friendships. Ruby’s home life is so sad to me and I was really excited to see her reunited with her sister Cora and how this sister relationship was explored — all the hurt of these years apart, the mistrust, the shared history as kids. It was so touching. And OH MY GOD I LOVED JAMIE. Jamie is Cora’s husband and he just made my heart so happy with his enthusiasm for holidays and family and his earnest welcoming of Ruby into their family. I just LOVED how much about family this book was. Like I’m tearing up thinking about it now — the family we have and the family we make out of friends and romances. And Nate. Oh man, Nate. Loved that dude. Such a great relationship between he and Ruby. I just really didn’t want the audio to end at all. I want more of all these characters. Again, I enjoyed the audio and found it engaging and easy to follow.

Have you read either of these Dessen books? I’m also curious if anyone has reread If I Stay &  if so how it held up for YOU.

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Viking Juvenile on January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, Just One Night
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Cody’s best friend, who has been away at college, commits suicide. When she goes to clean out Meg’s room at college, she meets her roommates and realizes that there was a lot Meg hadn’t been telling her when she was away for college — a boy who broke her heart and an encrypted computer file that makes her question Meg’s suicide. As she tries to reconcile the Meg she’s learning about, she also pursues the things she finds in the file to find out what really happened to Meg.

a2*wipes away a tear*

a4If you know me, you know Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors. If I Stay/Where She Went broke my feels and left me with characters I will NEVER forget. Just One Day changed my life, literally. (Loved Just One Year as well). So whenever Gayle has a new book out it’s kind of scary because there is always the potential NOT to love a favorite author’s book (I will need to a bottle of wine and cake to cope if the day ever comes I don’t love a Gayle book). Her books possess top spots in my heart and on my shelf so obviously going into I Was Here I had some MIGHTY high expectations.

But this right here is what I love about Gayle Forman’s books! They are all so different and yet emotionally they poke and prod into depths of the heart and the soul not always explored and always leave me thinking all these very life-examining thoughts and questions. I Was Here was this same experience. And to be completely honest, I Was Here was a book that kept having this residual affect on me the further and further away I got from reading it. I read it in the beginning of AUGUST of last year and I’m still finding new dimensions to it and having new epiphanies about it randomly that make me appreciate it more. That says a lot to me.

 The plot definitely was one that I knew emotionally was going to be hard as I lost a friend (not a best friend but still a friend) to suicide and it’s such an intense, confusing thing as a human to understand.

I think, by nature, suicide is one of those things that makes you examine someone you love. Cody was already feeling the strain of them living these separate lives after Meg left for college and then she begins to find out so many things about her when she talked to her roommates and cleaned out her room. This  added all these dimensions to Meg. Then there’s  the suicide and all those “WHYS” and “what could I have missed/did I not see” made Cody unsure of everything she thought she knew about Meg and the picture of her becomes so blurred.

I think Gayle wrote that raw confusion very well as Cody tried to reconcile her best friend Meg with the Meg she’s learning about. I could FEEL that as a reader, which in some ways made me feel like I didn’t understand Meg so much or connect to her, but I realized it’s because THAT is exactly how Cody is feeling. So many complicated THINGS are being added to the person of Meg that make her feel like she’s seeing her for the first time — she’s exploring all these nooks and crannies she never was aware of. Things that she’ll never be able to see for herself or hear from Meg’s mouth. You can feel the barest and most raw emotions in Cody — anger, numbness, resentment, guilt, confusion, sadness. I felt that gamete of emotions after my friend committed suicide and so I really understood the disorienting head space Cody was in. I think sometimes she feels a little detached from it all because it doesn’t feel real nor like the Meg she knows but at the same time her emotions are driving her in an intense way. I think we get an interesting picture of a friendship, maybe not the one I expected to see explored, but ultimately one that felt very real and raw after something like this.

The majority of the plot hinges on Cody pursuing the things she finds that makes her question everything about Meg’s suicide. It’s one of those DANGER DANGER DANGER moments as the reader because you know it’s not a good idea as she proceeds. But this is what I LOVED about this book!! There’s this deep drive as humans to UNDERSTAND when things like this happen. To find answers. To make sense of it. To know what could have helped. We like order and things that we can wrap our mind around.  Someone to blame. I grieved very closely with the mom and dad of my friend as they were family friends and I’ve seen this desire very intensely in them even years later. Cody wanted to make sense of things and she latched on to this uneasy feeling she had to pursue answers that maybe would make more sense to her. That could make this easier as she grieved and tried to make sense of the fact that her best friend was gone. I think for me, being able to slip in Cody’s head space so easily, made me understand this desire for closure no matter how reckless it seemed.

The romance in I Was Here takes a back seat to the plot and Cody’s grieving and I think it was better that way. When they do start to have a connection, there’s this “hmmm” feeling I had because it’s a little more challenging of a pairing than Mia/Adam and Allyson/Willem in her previous books. Ben had history with Meg so it’s this strange feeling and you can FEEL that Cody and Ben both feel that at first. I think Ben was pretty hot and intriguing in true Gayle Forman boy-writing fashion but their romance was different for me. I think that’s maybe because we only get to see the challenging start of it and both of them are in very confusing, grief-laden places. I think I wanted more to understand their connection in a deeper way but I think that’s where they are at in the story — a very confusing, trying-to-figure-it-all-out place and all they know is that there is this shared and messy connection between them that they would have never expected. I thought more about it weeks after I finished and started to understand it more though I tend to go for the more sweeping romances myself (ie. her other two) and I think even MORE of the romance would have been a disservice to the heart of this book.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, the depth of Cody’s character, plot, emotional impact
the romance wasn’t as strong (but I also think it was kind of perfect). I’m still challenged by it.

Re-readability: YES! I NEED to read it again. It’s impacted me so much more in the months since I’ve read it and I just NEED another read because there’s always so much to glean and think about in Gayle’s novels.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Oh I plan on it!!

a5Gayle Forman fans, fans of books that tackle the intricacies of grief, contemporary YA fans that don’t mind something a little dark (but not overwhelmingly so)

a8This is why Gayle Forman is a favorite of mine. This was quintessential Gayle Forman in that she managed to do something so completely different than everything else she’s written but in that same signature Gayle Forman way — an overload of feels, incredibly layered characters, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that just hits ya hard. This one was heavy but oh so good!! It was heartbreaking but made me think a lot about LIFE. Is this my favorite Gayle Forman novel? No, but how can you compete with a book that literally changed your life like Just One Day did for me?

review-on-post-itI was Here by gayle forman

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
* How did you feel about the romance in this one?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Just One Night By Gayle Forman (JOD/JOY Novella)

Book Talk: Just One Night By Gayle Forman (JOD/JOY Novella)Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2.5
Published by Viking Juvenile on May 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, I Was Here
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

SPOILERS AHOY FOR JUST ONE DAY/JUST ONE YEAR so if you haven’t read those yet…beware!

A1This literally picks up where Just One Year leaves off which is where the door opens. So we find out what happens next after Allyson and Willem have finally found each other.

a2SMILE. HAPPY SIGH. Now I need to re-read Just One Day.

a4Here was my thought process when I first found out that Gayle Forman wrote the Just One Night novella:

1. OMG NEW WORDS FROM GAYLE FORMAN. I NEED.

2.  I really don’t like buying novellas but FINE OKAY IT’S GAYLE.

3. But…I LOVED THE ENDING. It doesn’t need a novella to me. I have how it all goes down in my mind.

4. However, I won’t pass up more time with Allyson and Willem and company.

Here’s the thing: you either found the ending of Just One Year to be satisfying (like I did) or you were furious about how it ended with them opening the door and us not knowing what happens beyond that. I know so many people just wanted to know what happened (I totally did) and hated the fact that we watch them look for each other and we don’t get to see the “end results” so to speak. I totally get it but I felt differently (and I think in the minority?).

For me, the ending to Just One Year was perfect because, even though it was about THEM finding and losing and finding each other again, it was also mostly for me about them finding themselves in the first place. So, as much as I would have LOVED to see the happily ever after and all the nitty gritty details of their reunion, I was at a state of complete contentedness with the ending. It felt full circle and I saw two people who were changed by an encounter they had a year ago reunite as very different people.  They lost each other but they had found themselves. And them being reunited, to me, was just this confirmation that taking risks and letting yourself become who you want to be by saying YES is life changing. But this is just my opinion and it’s probably TOTALLY biased because Just One Day changed my life. Literally. Like action was taken because of this book so that stuck with ME as I read Just One Year as well.

So now that we’ve talked about where I was with my feelings going INTO Just One Night(because that’s important)…let’s talk about Just One Night:

I really enjoyed it! I didn’t NEED it but it made me smile and honestly was kind of perfect. I can’t say a lot HAPPENED in it so if you are looking for some HUGE, dramatic fireworks-and-they-lived-happily-ever-afters kind of thing I didn’t see it as that (I mean, it’s a night) but it still gave me those happily ever after feels anyways because of everything they gained in the first place and the possibilities that there WERE for the future (especially as we learn in Just One Year about a potential job offer that would take Willem to the US). It complemented Just One Year nicely in the way it ends to be honest. It was quiet (okay, the sexual tension and FEELS was anything but quiet) but exciting and FULL of feelings and answers.

I was really pleased that it started from the exact second the door opened. Everything that happened seemed so realistic after that. The emotions and FEELINGS after all the longing and searching. The wanting to talk about everything they both had been through. The exuberance shared with friends who knew their journey to find each other. I LOVED watching them put the pieces together about how they found each other and how hard they searched. Everything that happened was exactly what I think would happen in that scenario. The whole night was the perfect kind of reunion and I loved that we were reunited with so many important characters that aided them to get where they were. I had lots of FEELINGS (happy ones) and I don’t want to give too much away but it was a really nice peek into what happened after the door opened and I was really pleased with it as someone who had already had a whole made-up reunion and thoughts of Allyson and Willem years down the road in my head immediately after I finished Just One Year.

a6loved-it factors+ Nice glimpse into what happened AFTER that I felt pleased with though I didn’t NEED the “closure”, feelings!!, worth the 99 cents for the reunion
SO SHORT (but this is because I could read about them for forever)

Re-readability: I probably wouldn’t reread it but I will re-read Just One Day and Just One Year (many times)!! Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already did. Gayle Forman is insta-buy for me so even a novella gets bought if she writes it.

a5Fans of Just One Day/Just One Year who are curious about what happened after the door opened!

a8 I didn’t necessarily NEED this novella because I was very satisfied with the way Just One Year ended but I’m glad I read it because I was curious how their reunion went and I wouldn’t pass that up ever! It was a quick novella that gave the perfect, realistic glimpse into their reunion night and brought them full circle as two people who changed a lot over the course of the year after their life changing encounter. Happy feelings for sure!   review-on-post-it Just One Night by Gayle Forman

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless! * Were you pleased with the ending of JOY and how did that affect how you went into this one (if you read it) or are thinking about it (if you haven’t yet read it). The Perpetual Page-Turner

The Best Bookish Birthday Ever

So yesterday was my birthday — I turned 28! It just so happened that it was the night of a Gayle Forman signing at my local indie, Children’s Book World, in Haverford, PA. Let me tell you, it was one of the best birthdays in the history of birthdays I’ve ever had.

I have to give love to my local indie, first…

Here’s the thing. I buy books everywhere and anywhere — I shop local, I do buy from Amazon when I need to, big book chains. I don’t discriminate. But here’s the thing…my local indie? They made this night happen. They are incredible and put on the best events and the staff is so awesome. Everything that happened that night? They were totally in on. There’s just something about a local indie bookstore that you just don’t get from buying elsewhere. There’s this “family” type feel — I go to events often there but I wouldn’t say they KNOW me but by sight. The type of book love that happens at local independent bookshops is unparalleled and what they did to help make my night special is something that I’ll never experience with Amazon or other big chain bookstores. And this isn’t saying anything bad about THEM but it’s more about how extraordinary local indies can be and how it is SO, SO important to support them. The experiences I’ve had at independent bookstores are just SO much different than all the other places I buy. I can’t deny it. I never, ever want to see my local indie close!

So my night…

I showed up to Children’s Book World and was immediately greeted by book club who showered me with the most thoughtful and lovely gifts. Seriously. Macarons, an amazingly sweet and thoughtful homemade card (THAT GAYLE FORMAN SIGNED!) and more! THEY KNOW ME SO WELL. The thoughtfulness of all the presents kind of makes me a little teary. Not going to lie.

IMG_2370
IMG_2371 IMG_2372Look at Lindsey’s cardmaking skills!!

And did I mention I got a huge Happy Birthday hug from Gayle Forman when I walked in? No? OH WELL YEAH THAT HAPPENED. Nothing like a Happy Birthday from a favorite author on your birthday to make a bookish gal’s day! Then it was time for trivia night with Gayle Forman in which I realized how badly I need to reread If I Stay & Where She Went and makes me want to do a reread of Just One Day and then obviously reread Just One Year. (All those links go to reviews if you haven’t yet read any Gayle Forman books and need convincing!!). Luckily Katie and Lindsey took it home for book club and were answering questions left and right and Lindsey won one of Gayle Forman’s new shirts! Then Gayle read from both Just One Day & Just One Year and then this happened….

YEAH GAYLE FORMAN BROUGHT ME A CAKE FOR MY BIRTHDAY! So, in my favorite bookstore with one of my all time favorite authors…many book lovers sang happy birthday to me! I was shocked and a bit flustered because ALL EYES ON ME MAKES ME WANT TO SQUIRM but it was the loveliest of all surprises and I am so, so grateful for my bookish friends, my lovely local indie and Gayle Forman who, not only writes books that speak to my soul, but is one of the kindest and most lovely people ever  and SUPER interesting to talk to because she has great stories, is hilarious and I love her outlook on life.

Gayle Forman signing

Gayle FormanYep…just Gayle feeding me some cake!

It was truly a fab bookish birthday and I am so thankful for those who celebrated with me! And now tonight Will and I will celebrate with dinner because, being the husband of a bookworm, he knows that I’d totally choose to celebrate my birthday doing something bookish.

Check out Gayle’s tumblr and see if she is coming to a city near you! She is not to be missed!

If you could choose, what author would you love to come to YOUR birthday party? Tell me about a memorable birthday YOU have had!!

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review (NO SPOILERS)

12842134Book Title/Author: Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year
: Dutton Juvenile – October 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: It’s a duology and Just One Day is book 1!
Other Books From Author:
Goodreads | Twitter |Amazon

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Just One Year starts out with Willem in the hospital and chronicles the next year after his infamous day with Allyson as he longs for her but also spends the year trying to find himself and what he is about. Yep, that’s all I’m giving you on what this book is about. Be prepared for great character growth and some special relationships that don’t even have to do with Allyson.

Honestly…how can I ever review a Gayle Forman book? The thought of it makes my palms sweaty and my stomach a little queasy because my words just feel paltry and unable to even give a glimpse of how special her books are. There is just something about her novels that always resonate in the depths of me that only a very, very select few can do consistently. Just One Year undoubtedly raised the bar of what I come to expect from companion novels — and really just books in general.

Right off the bat I was eager to dive into Just One Year. We KNOW where Just One Day leaves off (!!!) so I was chomping at the bit to see what Willem had been up to for that year and to make our way to the point in which Just One Day ends. On one hand I found myself wanting to fly through the book to get to THE PART but on the other hand I just felt deep down that I wanted to give Willem the proper time and attention and enjoy his journey because really we don’t KNOW Willem all that well from Just One Day and we all have a million questions about what happened to him.

Just One Year was just so COMPLETE for me. I felt like Willem was just this character that I knew but I didn’t really KNOW and experiencing his story gave so much more depth to Just One Day. It complemented it so perfectly without RELYING on it if that makes sense. Willem’s story is not what we see in Just One Day — it’s larger than that. The events of Just One Day are only a sliver of his life and I was so pleased at the masterful way Willem came to life and was given even more depth.

His story is heartbreaking and also heartwarming and I found myself relating to Willem in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Willem’s growth was so perfect and I just absolutely fell in love with him. I LOVED that Gayle Forman made him SO REAL. Sure, he thinks about Lulu/Allyson but he’s not sitting there vowing celibacy or putting his life on hold until he finds her. His life moves on but he can’t stop shaking that feeling of having changed and contemplating the person who planted that seed of change and he doesn’t know what to do with that.  I loved watching him grapple with all of it but my heart simultaneously felt weighty right along with his broken self. God, Gayle, how do you DO that? As much as I wanted him to obviously emerge like a rom com hero and not stop at anything to find her, I really wanted him to find himself and I’m so grateful for Gayle staying true to her characters and giving me a story that isn’t just hinged on a romance but on a real person with a real story and a real journey.

The term “waited with bated breath” was never so apt a description until I read Just One Year. Gayle so perfectly takes us on Willem’s journey (the travel bug in you will salivate) and simultaneously has you just waiting for the moment when they will be reunited. I found myself holding my breath thinking THIS COULD BE THE MOMENT a few times. There are some parallels of things that show up in both books and I was talking to my friend Ginger about how I kind of wished I reread JOD right before so I could have them perfectly aligned in my mind but she made me think about how FUN it was to be guessing and NOT knowing.

I know I’ll get asked if I liked Just One Day or Just One Year more and that’s impossible to say because they resonated with me for different reasons and took me on special journeys that truly did impact me. I can only say that I think at the time when I read Just One Day it impacted me enough to take some action in my life — it found me when I needed it.

 

Just One Year was flawless for me — everything I could have hoped for and more. Had all the amazing characteristics of a Gayle Forman novel — superb writing, thought provoking, depth in story & character development, heart and soul — and I loved Willem’s physical journey as well as his journey to find happiness, love (read: not just romance) and ultimately himself. If you are looking for a novel that truly doesn’t hinge itself on a romance, even though we know Allyson & Willem’s one day together was special & life altering, this will be so satisfying for you as it was for me. I don’t reread often but Just One Day and Just One Year are going to be stories I need to revisit again and again. I feel like I can never show enough gratitude to Gayle Forman for Just One Day and Just One Year — a most perfect duology that truly did impact me enough to actually change things about my life.

Just One Year Gayle Forman book review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this?? Are you DYING to read it??

five-stars

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Book Title/Author: Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year
: Dutton Juvenile – January 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Yes — Just One Year is out Fall 2013
Other Books From Author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Sister’s in Sanity, You Can’t Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World

Amazon| Goodreads | @gayleforman

I received this from Penguin who was generous enough to provide me with a review copy in an exchange for an honest review. As always, this did this not sway my opinions in any way. Pinky promise!

 

As part of her graduation present, Allyson Healy and her best friend are spending a few weeks on tour in Europe. By taking one little risk, she ends up meeting Willem, an actor in a fun, underground Shakespeare troupe, who intrigues her with his free spirit and passion. By saying yes and taking a chance on spontaneity as Lulu, her more adventurous self, she finds herself having a life-changing day in Paris with Willem — who she discovers has disappeared without a goodbye. She returns home heartbroken and with questions about what that day meant and becomes determined to figure out who she is and escape the predictable little box she feels trapped in.

Oh Lord. Gayle Forman. You know my insane love for her books If I Stay & Where She Went so naturally this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2013. I tried to approach reading Just One Day as if it was written by somebody else because, you know, it’s hard not to fangirl automatically for your favorite author. But, alas, I could not do that because the things that make a Gayle Forman book, well, a Gayle Forman book, just crept up as I was reading. It’s the little pitter patters in my heart she is able to create or the fact that by the next page she is able to slice and dice my heart and makes it hurt so real.

Exhibit A:

It’s the amazing characters that you just want to spend more time with and care so much about (and oh my goodness — the minor characters are fab — Dee, Giant, etc). It’s the ability to make me feel every emotion so vividly. So, suffice it to say, this book was nothing short of amazing! I can’t say whether or not I liked it more/less than If I Stay/Where She Went because they make me feel something entirely different for different reasons but it is 100% what makes Gayle’s books my favorites. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES EVER!!

This story was amazing — one of the best stories of self discovery that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I just relished in the details and the little moments that happened throughout their day and could relate as someone with an adventurous spirit. The day just sounded perfect and I think that’s what made a certain part even more excruciating.  The spark between those two was something special and magical to me. Willem, like Adam in If I Stay/Where She Went says the simplest of things that just make my heart melt.

Exhibit B (Oh my heart !)

And yes, the travel was delightful, the romance was super swoony but I really enjoyed watching Allyson figure out her way to being the self that incorporated the parts of “Lulu” that she loved after she returned from Paris. I LOVED that this wasn’t a quick transformation — it was little pieces and Gayle Forman used the utmost even pacing — and it wasn’t about finding herself for the sake of the boy though he made a lasting impression on her & still held answers for her. It was one single day, of doing something extraordinary, that helped her eyes be open to what COULD be — that she wasn’t okay with just being content and doing what was always expected. It was some of the best introspection I’ve read it a while and her journey of self discovery was one that hit home for me — a lot of things that have been weighing heavy on me lately were things that Allyson was thinking through. I have to be honest when I say it’s the type of novel that made me want to be a little more bold and say yes more often. It made me realize I’d made some right decisions that I was scared were wrong. So I really felt invested in Allyson’s journey because I really felt it — as I’m sure it will resonate with most readers in a way. I just know that personally these are some similar things I’ve been dealing with and talking about with my husband.

And the ending! Oh the ending! The Mayans better not be right because I NEED to read Just One Year!

 


Just One Day was one of the best books I’ve read this year and has even more secured Gayle Forman as one of my all time favorite authors. Just One Day made me feel a multitude of feelings — in the same way If I Stay/Where She Went made me! It’s everything I wanted and hoped for the moment I heard about this book — the travel was to die for, the adventures stirred up an insatiable want for my own adventure, the romance just made my heart pitter patter yet simultaneous burst out of my chest and Allyson’s story of self-discovery was honestly one I just really needed to read right now. Introspective and full of feelings, Just One Day will no doubt be another win for those previously familiar with her work and will take hostage those who’ve never had the pleasure of reading a Gayle Forman novel. Prepare your hearts, friends.

 

For Fans Of: Gayle Forman (obviously), amazing character development, feeling ALL OF THE FEELINGS, traveling stories, books with older protags (college aged what uppp), books that must might make you think, straight up amazing contemporary YA

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it (I’m sure you have!!)? What did you think if you have read it? Did you feel all of the feelings???

five-stars

Review: Where She Went By Gayle Forman

Where She WentI warned you that I was going to cry, kick and scream to get the sequel to If I Stay…and well I didn’t quite have to do that because Kristi, one of the most awesome and wonderful bloggers I’ve met, sent it to me!

If you’ve read If I Stay, which I highly recommend if you haven’t, you know it leaves you hanging (and possibly looking like a hot mess with all the crying you’ll do if you are anything like me) …so I was extremely nervous as to how Gayle was going to pick up the story in Where She Went. From the moment I read the first few pages, I knew she was a freaking genius as we get to see the aftermath of If I Stay from the perspective of Adam! Right away I was even more excited to see how things played out for Mia and Adam after such a horrific time in their lives.

I honestly loved this much anticipated book to pieces and felt as though it really lived up to If I Stay and how it resonated with me. If I’m honest, I actually enjoyed it more AND felt such a stronger connection to the characters and their experiences in the grieving process. I was nervous as to how I was going to handle delving into the theme of grief and that whole process, as I have a whole lot of unfinished grieving to do myself, and I thought it was done remarkably well without depressing the reader. I could feel the intensity and the rawness of the emotions and the lingering questions that were left unanswered for Adam as well as for Mia. I could feel for her and understood why she did some of the things she did despite the fact that seemed cruel.

Poor Adam…you really felt for him. While he seemed like a Grade A d-bag now that he was a rockstar, you could tell that he was the same sensitive and wonderful Adam that we loved in If I Stay and just had to work through some of his angst and baggage. He really was grieving a loss too. Losing someone in the way he “lost” Mia is still a loss. I thought that the way Forman incorporated snippets of lyrics from Adam’s music was such a powerful way to show just how much the event had affected him. They seemed so real and not at all contrived. Mia was clearly the muse. I believed in those lyrics.

I thought the way she revealed WHY Mia made the decision she did was done so well and at a perfectly natural pace as it gracefully coasted between the present and past memories.  I could feel that anticipation building up and I could feel the questions just nagging at Adam because they were also nagging at me. I loved their reunion and the way that Mia took him on the “tour”. I was just DYING to find out if they’d end up together or not…or if their lives were so drastically different and too much time had passed for it to work out. The culmination of all those bottled up feelings and unanswered questions took its toll on me and rendered me a blubbering mess. Oh, the bridge scene!

My one teeny tiny gripe: I found it strange that Mia, Adam and Kim were all extremely successful at such a young age. Maybe I’m just sour grapes 😛

My Final Thought:  Where She Went was just as heart-wrenching and emotional as If I Stay but I found that it went even deeper and really captured different aspects of the grieving process so genuinely. Forman’s writing proves to be just as powerful and she really did an excellent job capturing Adam’s perspective and still providing us with sufficient insight into Mia. I was thoroughly unable to put this one down, as I was with If I Stay, and I was quite pleased with the direction that Forman took with their story. If you haven’t read If I Stay, please do….between it and Where She Went you’ll be wholly invested in their story and it will make you appreciate those special people in your life. Pick this up in April when it comes out!

Review On A Post-It (Something new I’m trying for each review–for those strapped for time! I have this habit of doing it in real life when I give people books to borrow):

five-stars

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I StayTitle/Author: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publisher/Year: Speak (imprint of Penguin) 2009
Where I Got It: Borders–with the 40% off coupon!
Why I read it: It had been on my TBR list but after hanging out with Melanie and having her highly recommend it, I decided to bump it up.
Rating: 5 stars. I read it in 4 hours because I couldn’t will myself to put it down. Enough said.

Live can change in a moment–a single moment and everything that you once knew as your life has vanished and is replaced by a new reality. Mia, a high school senior and talented cellist, finds herself in one these moments and faces an impossible choice between leaving it all behind or forging a new life out of the pieces that are left behind. It’s either life or death. Literally.

WOW. I finished this book feeling a myriad of emotions. My boyfriend looked over to ask me how it was as he heard me close the book, in the signature way I do upon finishing a book, and saw me sitting there with tears streaming down my face. He started to ask about it and I just started mumbling incoherent things and slammed the book on the table and kept saying, “Wow. Just wow” and “I’m never going to freaking be able to wait until April to get my hands on the next book.” This book was pretty powerful for me.

I need to first point out that if you see the paperback copy of this book and notice that there is a blurb by USA Today saying “Will appeal to fans of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight”—make sure you ignore this. Apparently the person who wrote the blurb and I disagree immensely. Just saying. Yes, there is a romantic element to this book, but I did not see any sparkly vampires or Taylor Lautner-esque werewolves roaming the pages of this book. Aside from the romantic aspect, which is a part of many books, I could not really grasp that correlation. So please, I beg you to listen to ME and not USA Today. While we are on the topic of the romantic element, it is a sweet romance that isn’t annoying or over the top. I loved their relationship. It makes you love “love” and appreciate it in the rawest of moments.

If I Stay is emotionally gripping and will genuinely move you. I think that it is realistic nature of the tragedy that gets to you because we’ve all either experienced something similar or have seen it on the news. It’s one of those truly tragic stories that you know could happen to you–and that is frightening. I’m such a worrier and think about death too much anyways because of grief that I have experienced in my own life so this one hit me hard. Nobody wants to start thinking about losing loved ones but this book certainly elicits strong enough emotions to carry over into that kind of thinking. It felt authentic and real rather than contrived like the author was playing puppeteer to your heartstrings.

Gayle Forman wasted NO time in delivering the blow. It took me off guard like any tragedy does in real life–one moment life is just rolling on and BAM. When everything happened I said, outloud, “Well, SHIT.” I don’t know if I said it to my boyfriend or just to myself outloud but I couldn’t keep it in but from that moment until I finished this book four hours later, I felt completely invested in the life of Mia and her family. I felt like I was a part of this tragedy and being in Mia’s head was no easier. I kept asking myself what I would do. I couldn’t come up with a clear answer even having dealt with situations were I had to keep on trucking through life without someone.

I thought Forman did an excellent job balancing the present with memories from the past and learning more about her family, friends and Adam made it all the harder. I felt the weight and the importance of Mia’s decision. I love when an author makes me feel so connected to characters! This isn’t a book where things are happening over a span of time. It’s kind of slow-moving but this makes sense and I never found myself bored at all despite the fact that the present takes place in a span of 24 hours. I won’t say much about the ending but I’m going to cry, scream and kick to get my hands on an ARC of the next book so I don’t have to wait until April 2011. There is just no way I can do that.

My final thought: Gayle Forman has created an emotionally stirring novel that will leave you contemplating life, love and those moments that matter. There is much beauty alongside the sadness of loss and the complexity of grief; the glimmer of hope and beauty is what keeps you from having a complete mental breakdown while reading this book. It’s that real. If you are an emotional person like myself or have experienced loss, you’ll need to break out the box of tissues. Make sure it’s the extra soft kind.

Discussion: For those of you who have read it, what would you choose?

five-stars
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