Archives

I Have Lost My Way – Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way – Gayle FormanTitle: I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: March 27, 2018 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Date Completed: March 30, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.

An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and discovering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest.

bookreview1

I am a big, big Gayle Forman fan but for some reason, I just really didn’t connect to this one like I had hoped and expected. I wonder if maybe the fact that I read it as an audiobook affected anything? The narrators were fine, some of which I’ve heard before and enjoyed, but I just didn’t make that emotional connection that I get with all of her other books.

The book did follow three different narrators, which is different from Gayle Forman’s other books, and the narrations also switched tenses, from third person while telling the story to first person while recounting each character’s past. I listen to enough audiobooks that I don’t feel like listening to it on audio should really make a difference when it comes to the structure of the story (unless it’s something that is very visual like The Illuminae Files) but maybe the physical copy had a different break that would have helped those switches/transitions a little bit more than the audiobook. I don’t really think it would have made a difference, but maybe. I’m trying to reason things out because I don’t want to say that this book wasn’t my favorite, but I guess it’s bound to happen with any favorite author (and really, it has, so that’s okay too).

The stories really were beautiful. Each character has lost their way due to their own unique circumstances and when they quite randomly come together, they each help each other through the toughest points in their lives. I really loved seeing how these friendships blossomed and how total strangers were able to become such key points in each other’s lives. Gayle Forman did a great job at bringing in key phrases from one person’s past and sticking it into another person’s present — a clever tie between the two that makes them seem almost destined to meet and unite.

I did appreciate so much of this book and yet, I just didn’t feel that pull on my heart like I have with previous novels. I definitely felt for each character and was rooting for each one, but I feel like I just didn’t connect with the writing and the structure like I had hoped. The book was definitely good but it’s that personal connection and emotional grab that didn’t get me. I’m also sure that my expectations were ya know… WAY HIGH so that never helps why I hype books up for myself!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Beautiful connections. I loved how these three characters came together to essentially save each other’s lives. The connections were wonderful.
Left Me Wanting More: Personal investment. I think I just didn’t personally connect to the characters for whatever reason, as much as I wanted to.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I will always recommend Gayle Forman’s books, even if they aren’t my favorite! I can objectively see how wonderful these stories were, even if I didn’t feel emotional about them. I’m just used to sobbing away haha!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE I HAVE LOST MY WAY

          

Vampire Academy 10th Anniversary | Series Appreciation

Hi, friends! Today I’m sharing a little series appreciation for the Vampire Academy books in conjunction with its 10th anniversary and special edition release! When I got an email from Penguin asking to share some favorite things about the series, I knew this would be a perfect post for me to write.

See, I got into Vampire Academy after the Twilight/vampire craze. My friend Lisa introduced me to the books and I was like, “Ehhh, I don’t know. Vampires? Aren’t we done with this?” I had no desire to read a vampire novel after my Twilight frenzy wore off but Lisa’s a pretty good judge of books and had just gotten me hooked on The Hunger Games (which I devoured) so I trusted her recommendation and became hooked!

Although the Vampire Academy series is about vampires, it has a whole lot more going on than just that. There are best friendships, steamy romances, wonderful bonds, society politics, and a whole lot of “omg” moments! The series is really special to me because it was one of the series that brought me onto the YA scene and into a whole new set of books that I didn’t even know existed because I wasn’t looking at “teen” books. While the series deals with many typical young adult moments like first loves, friendships, mean girls, and high school, it also has so many different levels of politics, plenty of action, a whole lot of adventure, and some pretty wild moments that always left my jaw on the floor! Richelle Mead put quite a few good shocking moments in this series, especially in the first few books, and I was constantly flipping pages to see what she’d surprise me with next!

I can say that it’s “so much more than a vampire series” for those who are hesitant about vampire books but it was also really awesome to see vampires in a little different light. There are different types of vampires within the realm of the supernatural in this series ranging from mortal but with supernatural powers to the “typical” undead vampire. I really loved how the range of the average vampire was expanded and really explored!

Then there’s the romance. There are SO many good romances throughout this series but the relationship between Rose and Dimitri is just so swoony! I don’t know why but it totally got me, despite the age difference which I’m usually not on board with. I just love the tension, how it’s sort of forbidden, and the push and pull that happens throughout the series.

If you haven’t yet, hopefully you’ll give the Vampire Academy series a shot! It was one of my favorites, especially when I first started reading YA, and I think it really appeals to a wide range of readers on a few different levels! Ready to jump into the series? Check out a little bit more on the special anniversary edition of the first book!

unnamed

Richelle Mead celebrates 10 years of Vampire Academy with an exclusive, never-before-seen collection of stories that sheds new light on the world and its players:

  • The Turn and the Flame takes a deeper look into the dark stain on the Ozera dynasty…
  • Hello My Name is Rose Hathaway tracks the shenanigans that ensue when Rose and Dimitri become unlikely teammates in a high-stakes scavenger hunt…
  • The Meeting gives us a glimpse of Rose Hathaway through Dimitri’s eyes…
  • From the Journal of Vasilisa Dragomir unearths the princess’s private thoughts from a transformative period of her life…

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school–it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s–the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi–the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires–make Lissa one of them forever.

GIVEAWAY!

You can enter to win one of five copies of this beautiful anniversary edition that are up for grabs from Penguin Random House! Check out the Rafflecopter form below as well as legal and rules that follow. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Legal:

Enter for a chance to win one of five (5) paperback copies of Vampire Academy 10th Anniversary Edition by Richelle Mead (ARV = $11.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 9:00 AM Eastern Time on November 29, 2016 and 11:59 PM Eastern Time on December 5, 2016. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about December 12, 2016. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Leave Me – Gayle Forman

Leave Me – Gayle FormanTitle: Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: September 6, 2016 by Algonquin
Source: Edelweiss, BEA 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 29, 2016
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, I Have Lost My Way

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.
Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.
With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

bookreview1

I’m a HUGE Gayle Forman fan so any book of hers, no matter the age range or genre, will be on my radar. When I heard that LEAVE ME was adult contemporary, I had to admit that I wasn’t super excited about it since I haven’t been reading as much “serious” contemporary lately and I don’t really read it on the adult level — I’m more of a YA gal. Either way, it was Gayle Forman and I knew no matter what, I was in good hands so I was excited to receive a copy of LEAVE ME at BEA this year! Upon finishing, I don’t really know how to feel about this book. If we’re being perfectly honest, if it wasn’t Gayle Forman’s book, I wouldn’t have read it. The entire premise of the book is that overworked, overtired Maribeth Klein whisks herself away for time to recover both mentally and physically after a heart-attack in her early 40s. She leaves her husband and two four-year-old twins with only a note, no way to contact her, and actively avoids ways that she can be traced so she can just take some time for herself. This really isn’t a topic I’m drawn to but Gayle Forman is the master so I was along for the ride!

This book (and entire concept) is so confusing to me as I try to sort out my feelings towards it. I know how I personally feel about Maribeth’s actions but there are just so many ways to look at it. The beginning of the book before Maribeth leaves was actually kind of hard for me to read with so many situations hitting a little too close to home. Having been in a similar situation with a medical emergency turning your life completely upside down, I just had a very hard time with the decisions that Maribeth made. I was not the person who was directly medically affected but I was a big part of that whole situation and yes, it’s always hard but my thoughts were constantly directed towards, “How can I help?” and “How can I understand?” On the flip side, no matter how close you are to a person, you’re not that person going through the medical issues and there are things and feelings you won’t understand. You have fear of your own but may not understand the level of anxiety that person is feeling, in which case, I did identify with Maribeth. Her heart attack was such a complete disruption of her life in so many ways and her only way that she was finally able to handle everything was to leave all responsibilities behind, including her family. Leaving I had a hard time with. Leaving and cheating are two situations that I really struggle to forgive or forget and even if things did end up working out in the end of this book (I won’t give anything away), I knew I wouldn’t be able to forgive Maribeth for up and leaving.

But then there’s the question of what strength is in this situation. Is strength staying and pushing through, working through all of the things with your family? Or is it leaving, taking some time off and gathering yourself up first? Honestly, I think either one could be the right answer but I had such a hard time with the fact that she literally abandoned her family. I know that she was not in the right mental state to really assess things, and that falls on her husband too since he didn’t really try to help around the house or with anything after Maribeth’s surgery, but it was hard for me to support Maribeth when her solution was to run. I guess we wouldn’t have much of a story if she spoke with her husband and took some sort of retreat instead of simply running… But that would have been a workable situation for me where I wouldn’t have hard feeling towards Maribeth. We’ve gone through some very hard things and our family is still in tact… but I’m also not a parent and don’t have that added responsibility and role in my family so I can’t speak on how that might affect a situation either. Life is messy and each situation is unique and complicated. I’m not in Maribeth’s family so maybe I would have handled things differently if I was in her shoes but from a reader’s perspective, it was really hard for me to fully understand.

My feelings for Maribeth aside, I thought this was a very good story and as always, Gayle Forman does an amazing job of bringing so many things to light. Maribeth’s situation was definitely more complicated than just the heart attack too and these things really added to why she ended up running in the first place. I won’t say hard things justify abandonment but it does help you understand where she’s coming from a little bit more. Gayle Forman also just has a way of making these characters come to life. I felt like I really got to know Maribeth, all of her new friends, and I could easily picture Maribeth’s life with her husband and children in so many ways.

I started and finished the book in one day. It was really easy to read and like so many of Gayle’s books, just so easy to get lost in. She does an amazing job of making you really feel a setting, getting you invested in a character’s story, and bringing raw, real emotions to the table. Her stories are about the more challenging sides of life and I’m actually glad she wrote this book because I wouldn’t have read this story by another author. It’s outside of my normal comfort zone — both being adult contemporary and also the “leaving factor” — and it was refreshing to think about things in a different way as I read. It’s also a bit scary, to be honest. I’ve only been married for two years and we’ve already been through a lot. I have amazing confidence in my marriage and I’m not really worried for us in the future but it does make me wonder what our life will be like in five or ten years which isn’t something I normally do. Life has taught me that there are too many thing you can’t plan for so I don’t map everything out but all I can do is hope that we grow together and build a solid foundation for our home and books like LEAVE ME really leave readers to reflect on their relationships/marriages/friendships. Even if you have an amazing relationship, there’s always a little bit more you can take into account and it’s interesting to have that reminder of what even the closest person to you might be going through without you even realizing.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Untitled

character_breakdown1

Maribeth // Character obsessions: Work, responsibilities, letting it all go.
Maribeth’s character really hits me hard because I feel like so many of us feel like this so often. I think we as a society have such a focus on work and career that it consumes so much of our lives. So many people’s places of employment expect them to take their work home with them or be available at the drop of a hat, in and out of the office, and people aren’t getting relaxation time anymore. Add to that a family life which can be so fulfilling but still adds responsibilities, chores, and duties to one’s life and it can easily be overwhelming. Maribeth was easily identifiable for me in that sense. I work from 7:30am – 5pm and it takes me an hour to get to/home from work so work consumes twelve hours of my day. Then I come home and make dinner, do laundry, make candles for my second job (essentially) and by the time I’m done with everything, it’s time for bed. I’m not complaining about it at all and my husband does help out but it’s so exhausting and I can’t imagine doing that with kids. I absolutely see where Maribeth is coming from and has a life-changing experience with her heart attack… But even with all of that I still can’t get over leaving. Maybe leaving her husband would be more forgivable (okay, really not for me) but she left her children and I really can’t get over that either. I understand that she needs to take care of herself first but to just LEAVE like that, that’s so, so damaging to everyone. She could have handled it totally differently, communicated with her husband, gone to therapy, went on a retreat even, and I would have been fine with it. I personally couldn’t forgive the leaving. I know she healed, I know she helped herself, but you can’t just run away form responsibilities. You discuss, you face them, you figure out a solution, even if it’s hard. Plenty of people go through such things without leaving their families. I guess I’ll never quite understand it but it’s a strong feeling of mine. As much as I grew to like her as a person, I couldn’t let it go.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Adult contemporary/realistic fiction. I really don’t read many adult realistic fiction novels because it’s just not my bag but I’m glad I read this one. I read it simply because it’s Gayle Forman and I really enjoy how she crafts a novel.
Left Me Wanting More: Understanding. The lack of communication between these characters killed me. It wouldn’t have been easy but if Maribeth and her husband had just talked, they could have figured things out without her having to run away. I know it’s not an easy thing to do and especially having that feeling like Maribeth, I know it’s hard to ask for help, but it was something I couldn’t shake.

Addiction Rating
Read it

It was a very good read and as always, a well-crafted story from Gayle Forman. I love her big-picture novels and books that take you through the messier parts of life. It wasn’t my favorite topic but I enjoyed the novel from start to finish.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE LEAVE ME

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    KILLER INSTINCT

Life Lessons From Gayle Forman | Favorite Quotes

Gayle Forman is one of my all-time favorite authors. IF I STAY was one of the first young adult contemporary books that I read (thank you, book bloggers, for the rec!) way back when I first started blogging. I instantly fell in love with her writing, her characters, and how much emotion she could pack into a story that was just over 200 pages. I didn’t hesitate to pick up every book of Gayle’s that followed and I’ve truly loved each and every one of them.

One of the things that I love the most about Gayle Forman’s books is the ability to feel the intensity of each character’s feelings and how well I can relate to them on any scale. There are some amazingly beautiful quotes that have really touched me personally and some wonderful characters that I felt completely connected to, like Allyson in JUST ONE DAY and Adam in WHERE SHE WENT.

I’ve become a little bit (okay, a lot) obsessed with Gayle Forman’s books… and the collector in me naturally couldn’t resist any format of her collection that I could get my hands on. I started with adding the hardcovers to my collection when I purchased them upon meeting her (!!!) and then slowly but surely filled out the entire collection! I only collect the books that really mean a lot to me so clearly this shows exactly how much they really are a part of my life!




Today, we’re celebrating the life lessons that Gayle Forman has taught us in conjunction with Penguin Teen’s celebration and launch of the I WAS HERE paperback release. I’ve selected some of my all-time favorite quotes to share with you today and my favorite life-lessons that I’ve learned from Gayle Forman books. I’ve said it in previous posts but it always bears repeating that I truly have learned so much about myself through her characters and the stories that she’s penned for her readers. I relived and worked through situations from my past through their experiences and learned to let go of things I didn’t even realize I was holding onto. Her books have truly been life lessons to me and I’m so grateful for each one of them and the things that I take from them!

FAVORITE QUOTES

if i stay quote     where she went quote Just one day quote     just one day quote just one day quote     i was here quote

Which Gayle Forman quote or book is your favorite? Which book speaks the most to you? I think for me, it was JUST ONE DAY!

And don’t miss Penguin Teen’s own life-lessons on their Tumblr account! Check out “Six Life Lessons You Learned from Gayle Forman“!

GIVEAWAY

Oh, yes! There’s also a giveaway! Penguin Teen is giving away Gayle Forman’s complete collection in paperback to five lucky winners! The  books included will be: I WAS HERE paperback, JUST ONE DAY box set (JUST ONE DAY, JUST ONE YEAR, JUST ONE NIGHT), and IF I STAY box set (IF I STAY, WHERE SHE WENT). US Residents only, please. Must be 13 years of age or older to win. Good luck! 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Was Here – Gayle Forman

I Was Here – Gayle FormanTitle: I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: January 27, 2015 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 16, 2014
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

    Cody and Meg were inseparable.
    Two peas in a pod.
    Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
    When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
    I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

bookreview1It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE Gayle Forman fan so needless to say, I WAS HERE was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 that I hope to read way before 2015. Firstly, it was Gayle Forman so I knew I WAS HERE would not only bring a new level of intensity and maturity — since I’ve seen her writing grow each book — but also an onslaught of raw emotion that I fell head over heels for in books like IF I STAY and JUST ONE DAY.

I devoured I WAS HERE in a single day. Granted, I was home sick with a cold, but in a way, I was kind of thankful for it because this was a book I didn’t want to put down. My first reaction after finishing was that I WAS HERE definitely had a different feel than Gayle Forman’s previous books… But looking back, JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR were also very different from IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT. I do have moments where reading a new book from a dearly cherished author is hard. Yes, IF I STAY and JUST ONE DAY (and their respective companions) both dealt with loss and relatives being taken from the main characters when they were far too young… but I WAS HERE deals with not only loss of life but someone you thought you knew inside and out choosing to leave this world and everyone else in it behind. (Of course those with experience dealing with depression know that it’s much more complicated than a “choice”, but since this is a review, I’m not going to get into that whole discussion!)

I WAS HERE felt quite a bit different than Gayle’s previous books in two noticeable ways for me. The first was that there was much more of a plot driven by the need to find an answer to a mystery. Obviously any plot has to have some sort of need for a resolution otherwise the book seems to have no point… but with Gayle’s previous books, it was much more about the characters finding an answer about themselves versus an outside motive, which brings me to the second big difference for me: the involvement of a third major character. Although Meg has already taken her life at the start of the book, she’s the driving force behind the whole novel and everything that Cody does. Cody and male lead Ben would never meet without the connection through Meg and it creates a sort of triangle (no, not a love triangle, although things do tend to get a little sticky with Ben and Meg being close at one point) or circle of events that tend to loop back around from person to person. IF I STAY and JUST ONE DAY certainly had other characters that played their own roles, but the focus was very much on a decision and self-discovery that the main character has to make and their romantic connection to another character. With a third element in the story, for some reason it just held and entirely different feel for me.

It may sound like this is bad thing but it’s definitely not. I think it’s hard to read an author’s work when you sort of sense a “pattern” and start to get comfortable with what to expect. It was a bit different for me to read I WAS HERE with this new “pattern”, new subject matter, and a brand-new feel but that also taught me not to get comfortable with what I read. My favorite authors will always be writing something new, constantly improving themselves and their writing, and bringing fresh topics to their readers and I’m so impressed with how no matter what Gayle Forman has written so far, I’ve fallen in love with each book she’s penned in very different ways. I love how I can read a book by one of my favorite authors and get something a little different each time, knowing that it keeps her growing as a writer and me growing as a reader. I’m getting a bit off-topic here, but from what I’ve heard when seeing Gayle speak at events, I feel like this is definitely something that’s important to her so I feel a small sense of pride when I notice something like that.

I got a bit technical with the review here, but don’t worry — there are also some major swoons! Yes, there is a bit of romance and it’s incredibly interesting to see how it unfolds. Cody meets Ben under some strange and tense circumstances (which makes sense considering she’s essentially looking further into her friend’s suicide and Ben was one of the people she talked to the most) so there’s quite the tension wondering what will happen between the two — and if anything COULD ever happen between the two — due to Ben’s previous interactions with Meg. Personally? I loved how everything was handled. I don’t want to say TOO much about it because it’s best for the reader to discover that for themselves, but I ended up explaining the situation to someone else and I really think it all unfolded in the best way possible.

Naturally in a Gayle Forman book, there is no shortage of gut-punching feels. The loss of Meg is just devastating to everyone she was connected to. I’ve never experienced a loss like that and I can’t even imagine what people have gone through that have felt like, but reading books that deal with topics such as death and suicide, I really tend to latch on to the families and friends of these characters pretty hard and I tend to sort of lose myself in the book. It’s definitely a heavy-hitting book as far as emotional roller coasters go but Gayle Forman knows exactly where to lead you on that journey. It’s really interesting to see different character’s reactions and I think she did a great job of showing a wide range of handling grief. One might thing it manifests only in sadness but some characters — especially Cody — experience anything from confusion to anger to depression to motivation. As always, I just really love how real every character felt and Gayle Forman always does an amazing job at bringing characters, setting, and emotions to life in her books.

When I sat down to write this review, I did NOT plan to write seven paragraphs. In fact, I had no idea what I was possibly going to say. I worried that it would sound like I hated the book since it was so hard for me to rate. I feel like usually “hard ratings” are due to overwhelming emotions for people — which yes, it was for me — but also that “different feeling” for me made it hard for me to assess my true feelings for the book. Obviously once I started writing about it, it was obvious how much this book really moved me and, well, I already knew it was a 4.5 to 5 star book for me, but being able to talk about it only convinced me more. Sometimes reviews just tend to take you on a journey you didn’t expect and my review for I WAS HERE certainly did that for me. Personally, I can’t wait to see what this book helps other people discover! I’m really looking forward to discussing this one with people. (Now that I’ve found the words, I know you can too!)

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

i was here goodreads feels

character_breakdown1

Cody // Character Obsessions: Meg, looking into her suicide, grieving.
Oh, oh, Cody. I can’t even imagine what she went through after losing Meg and then feeling like she had to take it even further to investigate. That’s just so painful. Cody was a really interesting character, though. She possessed such strength and I was absolutely rooting for her as I witnessed her waffling from grief to strength and everything in between. I loved her loyalty to Meg, even after her death, and I was scared for her in more ways than one. I really loved getting to know her in this book and also just wanted to hug her.
Ben // Character Obsessions: Music, his sister, girls. 
There was a period of time that I wasn’t sure if we should like Ben… But the more I got to know about him, the more I did like and the more I found out, the more I got to see beneath the rough exterior. (Okay, it wasn’t really that rough, but he took a while to figure out.) Anyway. I don’t want to say TOO much about him because again — another thing for the reader to explore on their own!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Being so involved that I can’t stop reading. I love books that I can read in one day. I wasn’t exactly sure where this story was taking me and what I would read and what I would feel but I was just SO involved in what was going on. I couldn’t stop reading and I couldn’t put this book down.
Left Me Wanting More: Familiarity? Honestly, it’s hard to say. I really enjoyed this book a LOT but I was also missing SOMETHING (still not 100% sure what) that “felt” like a Gayle book. It was just a feeling that I couldn’t pinpoint. Like I said, not necessarily a bad thing, but something that happens as authors grow! Things change and hey, they need to from book to book so the books don’t get old and feel like they’re repeating themselves. I just can’t quite name what felt different and a tiny bit less familiar but it did.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I mean, it’s Gayle Forman. I knew I couldn’t and wouldn’t be let down! I WAS HERE was a very emotional and moving read. I was completely hooked and utterly interested and it certainly made me think about a lot. Gayle’s characters always just feel so real. I think fans of Gayle Forman will love it and people who haven’t been totally sold on her previous books (I mean, I like to pretend that doesn’t happen, but I know you’re out there!) should definitely give this one a shot.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE I WAS HERE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        the sea of tranquility       the sky is everywhere

If You Liked… If I Stay

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book! With all of these amazing YA adaptations coming out recently, I know a lot of people are looking for more books similar to the movies that have hit the silver screen, so for all those looking for books similar to your blockbuster favorites, I’ve got some recommendations lined up for you!

12 BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LIKED IF I STAY

Gayle Forman’s novel IF I STAY is one of my all-time favorites. I love the characters and everything about the book is just wonderful and beautifully written. Now that the book is on the big screen, a lot of people who may not have been avid readers or who aren’t as familiar with the genre (whether that be contemporary, out-of-body experiences, or YA) may be wondering what to read next or what kind of books are like IF I STAY. That’s where I step in — I’ve read quite a few that I think have the same sort of feel so without further ado, here 12 books to read if you liked IF I STAY!


if_you_liked_if_i_stay


IF YOU LIKED IF I STAY…

Try… THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I connected with this book right from the beginning. If you’ve ever felt like an outside who just wanted to fit in, you’ll definitely see a little bit of yourself in THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE protagonist Elise Dembowski. The book was incredibly well-written and it really hit home in so many ways. Elise goes through quite a bit and it was definitely an emotional journey to witness. The book has a wonderful overall message and it stuck with me long after I finished reading.

Try… MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I like MY LAST KISS as an IF I STAY comparison because there are a lot of similarities: an out-of-body experience creating a sort of paranormal feel but at the same time definitely holds a contemporary feel as well. MY LAST KISS also has a bit of a mystery as well as Cassidy, the main character, tries to figure out exactly how she did by reflecting on her life as well as following the lives of her family and friends after her death. It was a really interesting concept and although it wasn’t as emotional for me, I think it has a lot of the same qualities as IF I STAY!

Try… LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD is another really powerful book that’s been getting a lot of attention recently. (It’s actually already been optioned for film as well!) The book is written entirely in letters that Laurel is writing to celebrities who passed away young like her sister May. The letters help her work through her life after losing her sister and how to regain a sense of normalcy, knowing that things can never go back to the way they used to be. There’s been a lot of praise for this book recently and it’s easy to see why!

Try… OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

OPEN ROAD SUMMER was one of my favorite reads so far this year. It’s a fantastic combination of cute & swoony and serious & emotional. The book follows Reagan who’s just been through a really difficult string of events and it’s ready to leave it all behind her. It just so happens that her best friend is none other than country-pop superstar Lilah Montgomery. Reagan hits the road with Lilah on her 24-city summer tour and not only leaves the past behind but finds a new future and solidifies her friendship. I absolutely loved this book (and I don’t even like country music) thanks to its great characters, amazing friendships, and fantastic romance.

Try… THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE is a book that reads very similarly to LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD (I actually made the comparison when I picked up LOVE LETTERS) — Protagonist Lennie Walker is putting the pieces of her life back together after the sudden death of her sister. Aside from figuring herself out, she’s also left to repair the relationships with her sister’s boyfriend and her own family, meanwhile learning a thing or two about love. I finished this book in one day, ugly crying and all. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking and one I really recommend.

Try… TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

If you’re digging the “other worldly” aspect of IF I STAY but still caught up in all the swooniness, I highly recommend TIME BETWEEN US! The book has such a contemporary romance feel and yet the main plot involves a time travel aspect. The characters are just fantastic and the book really hit me in the feels. Like IF I STAY, TIME BETWEEN US is actually the first of a duology as well!

Try… NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
NANTUCKET BLUE is the first in another duology (I swear I didn’t pick all the duologies on purpose… But I do love them) and I just fell in love with it when I first read it last year. After the death of her best friend’s mom, Cricket’s plans for summer in Nantucket with her best friend’s family are entirely up in the air. NANTUCKET BLUE is a wonderful story about friendship, loss, romance, and finding oneself in the most unexpected places. I love Cricket’s character and I really connected with her on so many levels!

Try… ONE MOMENT by Kristina McBride.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I read ONE MOMENT few years ago and thought it was so well done. I feel like it touches on a lot of the same situations and predicaments that IF I STAY does. It was emotional, psychological, and raw. I really wasn’t expecting to connect so much with this book and I really ended up loving it! I feel like it’s much lesser-known but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful! If you’re looking for something similar, it’s definitely worth a try!

Try… THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robin Schneider.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I devoured THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING last year! It was a lovely, bittersweet contemporary romance told from the POV of main character Ezra who returns to school after a debilitating knee injury, therefore ruining any future he may have had as his school’s tennis star. His life was turned upside down after an awful night of breaking up with his girlfriend and then a terrible car accident and Ezra sort of has to go back to the beginning, back to his roots with his old best friend, in order to figure out how to start the future he didn’t anticipate following. I just loved the writing and the story. This book was top notch for me!

Try… GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
GOLDEN was a fan-favorite last year when it was released and it’s easy to see why — this book contains a great coming-of-age story, a bit of a mystery, and a situation that I’m sure many teens (or even adults) have related to as they’re about to embark on a totally new venture in their lives. It was really beautifully written and follows a heart-breaking as well as heart-warming tale. I loved watching main character Parker’s growth throughout the book and felt a sense of accomplishment for her by the end!

Try… JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Let’s wrap up the list with another Gayle Forman book! If you loved IF I STAY, then I hope you’ll love the book in Gayle’s next duology, JUST ONE DAY.  It’s about a girl named Allyson who goes to Europe the summer before starting college and ends up finding the path that will change her entire life as she knows it. It starts with an adventure when she meets a handsome stranger, but Allyson’s journey is also so much more than finding a boy and falling in love. She really discovers so many things about herself through the experiences she goes through as well as what Willem (the handsome stranger) helped her see from a different perspective. This book was so beautiful and I just connected with it SO well.


Picking recommendations for fans of IF I STAY was not something I took lightly so I sincerely hope you find a good new read from the books above! They’re books I think read closely to IF I STAY and I hope that if you liked IF I STAY, you’ll love these books!

I’ve been working on all kinds of recommendations of what to read after that big blockbuster book-to-movie! In case you missed it, I also had recommendations for what to read after The Fault in Our Stars and coming up, I’m working on recs for what to read after DIVERGENT, THE HUNGER GAMES and more!

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my previous list of recs below!

 

Novella Mini-Review: Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) – Gayle Forman

Novella Mini-Review: Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) – Gayle FormanTitle: Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: May 29, 2014 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 4, 2014
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

bookreview1

I’m sorry, Gayle. I know. I know you completed JUST ONE YEAR exactly how you wanted it, and exactly how you meant to end it… but for the love of all that is sacred in the world, THANK YOU for giving us JUST ONE NIGHT.

JUST ONE NIGHT was just what I needed. If only… if only this little bit really could have been at the end of JUST ONE YEAR. I really didn’t need much. Just a few sentences. Just the catching up. Just the tiny bit of closure and thank goodness Gayle gave us JUST ONE NIGHT. My only regret is that it wasn’t at the end of JOY because the fact that it ended so abruptly honestly made me a bit ragey and a bit sad. It did affect me overall opinion of that book so my only regret is that we didn’t get this closure at the same time.

As a novella, JUST ONE NIGHT was a breath of fresh air… Or rather, the giant breath all of us were holding in waiting for the resolution of Willem and Allyson’s story and the hint at their futures. It felt a bit odd to be in third person since the books were in first person (they were, right?) but I definitely understand the reasoning since we kept switching back and forth between Willem and Allyson for the novella. We had to get everything in and all at once so the dual POVs in third person were sort of necessary so the reader didn’t have to constantly flip-flop back and forth between POVs. Sometimes it just switched on a dime and that would have just been a headache!

The best part? (Aside from the closure…) Revisiting these characters I thought I had said goodbye to. And seeing more of the secondary characters. AND seeing the stories line up again. And Willem and Allyson finally talking about all of their “almosts” that absolutely killed me in JUST ONE YEAR. (Okay, okay, I had a lot of “best parts”.)

Anyway. As you can see, I just NEEDED this novella, so thank you to Gayle who made this happen! I think all of us readers can sleep a little bit easier after JUST ONE NIGHT.

Just One Year (Just One Day #2) – Gayle Forman

Just One Year (Just One Day #2) – Gayle FormanTitle: Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: October 10, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 5, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read. Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began.... When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . . The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

bookreview1

** Caution: If you have not read JUST ONE DAY yet, there will be spoilers for that story. This review for JUST ONE YEAR is as spoiler-free as I can make it and I reveal no SPECIFIC details but there are some strong feels so if you haven’t read the book yet, just beware! **

JUST ONE YEAR was a very different read for me than JUST ONE DAY and I really contribute that to the fact that it felt much more like a personal journey and much more of a personal struggle for Willem than it had been reading Allyson’s story. I feel like the reason for that was that Allyson was going through so many transitions at once — from high school to college, from Europe to home, from sheltered to wanderer — whereas Willem, although already a constant traveler, felt much more stuck in his life. He seemed much more lost, unsure of where to go and what to do and was already in the thick of it when he met Allyson. Allyson hadn’t realized her life needed a change UNTIL she met Willem so for her, I felt much more of the romantic attachment — especially since her story changes with the encounter with Willem and Willem’s story starts after his meeting with Allyson had already come and gone.

Of course I had been dying to hear Willem’s side of the story ever since JUST ONE DAY, and I found it really fascinating. Willem’s story sort of unfolded much more like a mystery to me. We slowly got to find out the secrets of his past that had shaped his life as well as the way he interacted with Allyson (and the various girls he met in Paris). I really, really appreciated getting to know Willem more and finding out about his family. We knew nothing of his parents except their names in JOD and it was so bittersweet to learn about his relationship with both of them and exactly where that relationship stood at the beginning of JUST ONE YEAR, not to mention how his relationship changed towards the conclusion of the book as well.

JUST ONE YEAR wasn’t as emotionally moving or particularly as life-changing as JUST ONE DAY had been simply because it was an entirely different journey that we were on. Of course I had identified with Allyson as the “good girl”, aiming to please her parents and please others so I just connected more with her journey on a personal level than I had with Willem — But that’s not to say that I didn’t feel for Willem because I really did feel his pain, his loneliness, his sense of just feeling a little lost and I appreciated the changes he went through as well.

The biggest thing that struck me about JUST ONE YEAR were all those “almost”s — all the “missed connections” — and that absolutely killed me. Just to see how close he and Allyson came to crossing paths — the attempts to find each other and the pure chances were incredibly surprising! But as we know from Allyson’s side of the book, they never do end up meeting until her story in JUST ONE DAY concludes, leaving us with Allyson at Willem’s front door. To watch all of Willem’s attempts to find her or run into her, though, just was so heartbreaking. She really had an impact on him and even though I knew they wouldn’t meet up again until that moment, I secretly kept hoping for there to be a chance meeting!

 ** Strong feels ahead about the ending of this book that may be spoilery if you haven’t finished this book yet! Just a kind word of warning 🙂 **

So the ending. We already know that the end of JUST ONE DAY ends with Allyson at Willem’s door step but we don’t know where it goes from there and it takes us a while to get back to that point because obviously we have to find out Willem’s side of what happened after he and Allyson separated in Paris. I won’t say exactly HOW the book ends, but I cannot write this review and omit the fact at how disappointed I was with it. I want to say I can understand Gayle’s choice to end the book like this… But I really can’t. (Spoilers on the specifics of the ending below… Do not click if you haven’t read the book.)

View Spoiler »

After finishing the book and ending the way it did… I was honestly enraged. I felt let down. Abandoned in the middle of this story. And I HATED that I was mad. I really enjoyed the whole book up until that point and I couldn’t believe it ended like that. I legitimately felt a little bit betrayed that I had been so emotionally invested in the ending for these two characters and that was the way we left them. I may have been spoiled by how perfectly WHERE SHE WENT ended because I absolutely loved that whole book, cover to cover, but I didn’t quite understand why JUST ONE YEAR had to end like that.

I wanted this to be a series I could rave about, shove in the hands of friends, jump up and down with, hug!!!! But the ending left me feeling so confused and emotionally raw — I had a serious book hangover, but not quite in a good way. I thought about this for HOURS after I finished reading and my feelings have settled a little bit, but I’m still upset with the way this book ended and I can’t deny that if affected how I feel about this book as a whole. I will still recommend the read but just a word of warning to the readers that you may be in for shock and rage in the last chapter.

character_breakdown1

Willem de Ruiter // Character Obsessions: Finding Lulu, traveling, trying to make connections, acting.
Willem was an interesting character to follow throughout JUST ONE YEAR. I actually really liked getting to know him more and seeing all of the secrets — or simply things he didn’t outright say — that Allyson had missed. I appreciated his character so much more and he really came to life more. I think he was flawed, but his run in and day in Paris with Allyson set him on a new course to realize that maybe he had been stuck in a rut and she turned him on to parts of himself he didn’t know were buried so deep in his soul. There really were kind of soul mates — not just romantically — but that they each brought out a new, better side of each other.

I kind of don’t even want to talk about other characters because Willem is such a vagabond and such an transient character that he doesn’t stay in one place — physically or emotionally — long enough for these people to make lasting impressions. Oh, they do make lasting impressions, mentally and emotionally, but their physical presence isn’t as prominent in Willem’s life and he doesn’t always realize the impact these people have, sometimes not until they are long gone from his life.
addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Fate. There’s a serious question about fate, chances, and intentions in JUST ONE YEAR and how much is really and truly left up to chance. I really enjoyed seeing Willem figure out what he needed to leave up to fate and what was impacted directly by his choices and intentional decisions.
Left Me Wanting More: Of an ending. I think after that review, it goes without saying. Sorry, Gayle.

Addiction Rating
Read it.

I can’t NOT suggest you read this — If you’ve read JUST ONE DAY, you need to see how things happen in JUST ONE YEAR, but just be prepared for a bit of a shock of an ending, I suppose. I know lots of people who totally and completely loved it and weren’t fazed by the ending at all. I know of others who were totally shocked and so disappointed that it ruined the entire experience for them. I think it’s a necessary read to finish out the duo of books and if you’ve got a copy of JUST ONE DAY, you probably need it to finish out your book collection anyway, amirite?

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE JUST ONE YEAR

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Beginning of Everything     Meant to Be

Re-read: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

Re-read: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: January 8, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 2, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life. A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know. The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

bookreview1

Pretty much ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY, I had been dying for a re-read. Between this book and IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT, it was really the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along — I needed a good, solid reason to re-read when I was drowning in books I still haven’t read. Ever since I first finished JUST ONE DAY back in December of last year, I felt like I NEEDED to read it again. I had connected with it so much the first time around but I needed to reach out and make that connection again. I needed to fall in love and get heartbroken all over again. I needed to remember what was so special about this book for me.

I think one of the most interesting things about re-reading this book was that it was RIGHT after I had met Gayle Forman. (I died. I was SO nervous.) I was actually a bit thrown off by her speech at the Anderson’s YA Lit conference because she talked about JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR more as Allyson and Willem’s journeys of finding and discovering themselves more than any part of this romance and I was like, “WHAT!? Gayle, you’re crazy! These are hands down love stories.” (Okay, I didn’t actually say that.) Obviously they’re still love stories and hi, I swoon. I melt. But hearing that from Gayle and then re-reading JUST ONE DAY (which I had actually just started before that conference) had totally changed how I viewed this book — in a good way.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m a review buffer. I knew I loved Gayle Forman and I knew I did love reading JUST ONE DAY… But… I don’t think I knew exactly WHY I was giving it five stars my first read around except for the fact that I wanted to. I knew I felt a connection, but I didn’t exactly know specifically why other than the fact that I knew I was going to love it. The magic of re-reading JUST ONE DAY opened my eyes to everything that I wasn’t sure of the first time around. I knew that JOD was not only about Allyson & Willem but also about Allyson’s self-discovery and that was just SO much more apparent to me this time around. Allyson didn’t just fall into a depression after her Europe trip because of Willem — she missed that part of herself that was free and independent and fulfilling. I think I passed up a lot of those moments when I first read this book because I was looking for a heart-breaking romance and I missed one of the main points of the book.

I also really got to appreciate all of the Shakespeare references and allusions so much more. Not like I’ve brushed up on my Shakespeare since my last read, but I think that re-reading, I was less anxious to get to the end and see what happens (since I already knew), so I got to really take my time and drink up every single word on the page. I read into the Shakespeare ties and saw exactly how much these plays paralleled what was going on in Allyson’s life as well. There were so many underlying themes that I appreciated so much more the second time around and I was kind of fascinated how closely the book followed these themes in the selected Shakespeare plays!

JUST ONE DAY was exactly what I needed before I started the much-anticipated JUST ONE YEAR. It also rekindled my thirst to write for which I cannot thank Gayle enough. Her writing is truly an inspiration to me and on a personal note, it’s made my WIP feel like a real book for the first time when before it was just random paragraphs that had little cohesiveness. It was such a pleasure to read this book again and create an even deeper connection than I had before!

character_breakdown1

Allyson/”Lulu” // Character Obsessions: Time, responsibility… Paris, Lulu.
I absolutely connected with Allyson during my first read but I made such a deeper connection with her this time around. I had totally identified with her in regards to meeting, falling in love with, and then losing Willem, but I got to experience her personal journey of self-transformation so much more in my re-read. I ended up feeling so proud of the changes she made to her own life to finally make herself happy instead of trying to be the “good girl” and please everyone else. It’s something I STILL struggle with in my own life so it was really great to see her character make this sort of full transformation.
Willem De Ruiter // Character Obsessions: Lulu, ladies, traveling, being a free spirit.  
I probably shouldn’t have liked Willem as much as I did the first time around because even though Allyson may have been the tiniest bit paranoid, she really wasn’t that far off. Willem has a lot of ladies. Of course, none of them were the connection he had with Allyson, but even still, he was kind of a ladies’ man and/or player soooo. There’s that. But I think I always knew that Allyson was the catalyst that started his change as well, even though we didn’t really know Willem in JUST ONE DAY since we only had Allyson’s side of the story. I think I just had a lot of hope for him and I could feel that he was changing with her just as she was changing with him.
addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Shakespeare. I still haven’t read much Shakespeare (okay, I haven’t read ANY since high school), but I loved the way it blended into this book. Allyson’s life sort of parallels those themes from As You Like It and select other plays and it really make Shakespeare more accessible to me. It made me WANT to read these plays. There was a statement somewhere in the book about transcending from the words to the feelings in the plays and when you make that emotional connection, you sort of gloss over the language and it all becomes accessible and I’ve always been so held up by the language and technicality of it that I was afraid to go back and try again. I think I’d really like to try to read As You Like It now that I know more about it from JUST ONE DAY and see if I can make that connection as well.
Left Me Wanting More: Of Willem’s story, obviously. I quickly resolved that by reading JUST ONE YEAR, of course, but honestly, when I first read JUST ONE DAY, I did rate it five stars but still felt the tiniest bit of SOMETHING missing. Re-reading it, I felt like I really connected on all levels and it just made me fall in love with it in so many more ways than I already had.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

If you’re already read JUST ONE DAY, I highly suggest re-reading this one. I think going back through it helped me pick up so much more of those underlying themes and “missed connections”, if you will. If you haven’t read it yet, I really suggest it! (Clearly!)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JUST ONE DAY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Beginning of Everything            Anna and the French Kiss

Re-Read: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) – Gayle Forman

Re-Read: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) – Gayle FormanTitle: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: April 5, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 2, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

Picking up several years after the dramatic conclusion of If I Stay, Where She Went continues the story of Adam and Mia, from Adam's point of view. Ever since Mia's decision to stay - but not with him - Adam's career has been on a wonderful trajectory. His album, borne from the anguish and pain of their breakup, has made him a bona fide star. And Mia herself has become a top-rate cellist, playing in some of the finest venues in the world. When their respective paths put them both in New York City at the same time, the result is a single night in which the two reunite -- with wholly satisfying results. 

bookreview1

I am SO glad that I re-read WHERE SHE WENT. I remember adoring both IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT the first time around, but I had forgotten how emotional these two books were, especially picking up Adam’s point of view in WHERE SHE WENT.

Adam’s point of view is so… raw. He doesn’t hold anything back in his narration and I really felt everything he was feeling — small and … well, enormous. He’s got some BIG FEELS in this book. Sometimes it was hard to watch and to see him in that much pain and constantly try to push it down or shove it away. For reasons I can’t explain, I feel like it was that much more emotional because it was a male POV. You guys… Adam is 100% my favorite male POV of all YA. No wait. Of all time. His voice is so genuine and I feel like reading WHERE SHE WENT from his point of view captures all of the feelings that he’s holding back from the entire world. That’s pretty big stuff.

I love catching up with Mia and Adam three years later and seeing where they are in their lives. This is a pretty significant jump in time from where we left off in IF I STAY, but Gayle Forman knew what she was doing. This is where the real story picks up again and we get a lot of the details from what happened in the past three years in flashbacks. Now usually, I don’t like flashbacks. Actually, no, that’s not true. Usually I’m very picky with flashbacks because a lot of the time I feel like they’re not necessary and could have been summed up in dialogue or recounted by the main character. I do, however, love the flashbacks in IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT. They felt totally natural to the story and contained a lot of important information that we need to know for the present-day story.

Once again, I find that music supplements a story to help draw me in even more. Just that one instance where Adam borrows an iPod and scrolls through a playlist… When I see music I love in a book or I can just hear a single song and imagine the characters listening to that one as well, somehow I just get that connection and it really adds to my reading experience. As far as the Shooting Star music goes, I could take it or leave it. I usually don’t get anything from fabricated lyrics because I have no connection to them… It doesn’t usually detract from the book, but it doesn’t really do anything for me!

I get ALL THE FEELS from WHERE SHE WENT. I loved every second of my re-read and I really enjoyed the male POV from Adam. Everything was so emotional and raw and it was just a really different feel for me. So glad I got to re-read this one!

character_breakdown1

Adam Wilde // Character Obsessions: Songwriting, numbing the pain, getting through the day.
Poor Adam. But oh, I love him! His emotions in this book were so incredibly strong and I loved that instead of him feeling closed off — like he is to the world — the audience in WHERE SHE WENT really gets to see every little bit, every piece, every emotion that he goes through. WSW solidified him as one of my favorite male characters of all time (for the second time).
Mia Hall // Character Obsessions: Cello, Julliard, remembering her family.
Mia feels totally different in WSW. Not in a bad way like “wow, this is a totally different character” but more that I can see what she went through and those strong pieces that were always there are now the more obvious ones than her shy side. I think I just loved Adam so much that Mia really took a backseat for me!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Adam Wilde. I cannot believe I ever forgot how much I love Adam Wilde. This re-read of IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT totally rekindled that love and helped me not to forget!
Left Me Wanting More: Adam Wilde? Haha that’s not fair to say is it? I could read many, many more books with him as the main character/narrator. I absolutely love his POV and I wish I could read so much more of it!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT… NOW!

WHERE SHE WENT is pretty brilliant… One of the best sequels/companion novels out there. Gayle’s writing is flawless in the book and I loved every minute of this re-read.

book_recommendations1

Books Like WHERE SHE WENT!

     The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider      Just One Day

You can also check out my post “12 Books to Read If You Liked IF I STAY” for more recommendations!