If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published April 6th 2010 by Speak (first published April 2nd 2009).
Literary awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2011), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee (2011), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2010), Florida Teens Read Nominee (2010), Delaware Blue Hen Award (2011) The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2012), NAIBA Book of the Year for Children’s Literature (2009), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2009), Carnegie Medal Nominee (2010)
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time. (Goodreads)
I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Gayle Forman’s writing, but this story was rather average to me. There’s an unexpected snow day so Mia and her family decide to spend the day together visiting friends and family. Quickly after setting off they are in a fatal car accident. Mia experiences an out of body experience and watches as her family is pronounced dead. Mia however is rushed to the hospital in order to save her life. While the medical team are trying to bring her back to life Mia wonders how she is supposed to go on living without her family. While she is in a coma, but still watching somehow Mia has to decide whether or not she wants to be with her family (dead) or to stay and deal with the heart ache of losing her entire family.
The story unfolds in both the present and through a series of flashbacks to introduce and develop the massive cast of characters. That is one thing that really stood out to me. The cast of characters is huge but I felt like I had a good sense of all of them. That part was incredible. I was not able to predict the outcome, but I wasn’t trying to either. Good book, but nothing wow about it. I rated If I Stay by Gayle Forman 3 stars. Now I want to watch the movie!
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Published April 17th 2012 by Speak (first published April 5th 2011)
Literary awards: Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2012), The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky (2011), Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction (2011), The Inky Awards Shortlist for Silver Inky (2011)
It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other. Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. (Goodreads)
This was completely unexpected and I enjoyed it so much more! Told three years following the accident Adam, Mia’s ex-boyfriend is living the rock star life, yet is unhappy and moody. Distant from his band mates he takes one more night solo in New York while Shooting Star, the band jets off to London. Trying to psych himself up for such a long tour that he is dreading he convinces his manager to give him one more night alone and they plan to meet up the next evening at the airport. On a whim Adam leaves his hotel and walks around the city. He sees that Mia is playing a concert and decides he needs to hear her play. After the concert is over Adam is summoned to Mia’s dressing room and the entire time Adam is numb, because he had no idea she even knew he was there. As the night unfolds Adam and Mia share what happened and why. I don’t want to say too much more because they’re so many great parts. I loved being inside Adam’s head and knowing from the guys point of view how he was feeling. Matched with the first book I really feel we get the entire story. On their own they are rather average, but together it’s quite amazing. I rated Where She Went by Gayle Forman 4 stars. It probably would have been 5 stars if the plot in the beginning wasn’t so slow.