Tag Archives: Gayle Forman

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.

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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!

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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!

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BOOKS LIKE I HAVE LOST MY WAY

          

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.

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“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!

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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.

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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.

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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! 

 

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Redesign Reactions [3]: Just One Day

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Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman!

JUST ONE DAY is one of my all-time favorite books! I adore Gayle Forman, I adore the book, and I actually adore both of these covers! I feel like when the redesign came out for the paperback release, a lot of people were relieved but I didn’t think the original was bad! Let’s take a peek…

just one day redesign reactions

OLD COVER: The original cover for the hardcover release was a picture of Allyson — I’m guessing in a coffee shop of some sort — and I actually appreciated this cover a lot! I like seeing a main character featured on the cover so well — from the hair to the watch — they captured a lot of details on this cover that I thought were appropriate.

NEW COVER: I think the redesign for the paperback release does capture that wanderlust feel much better though. I remember reading on Twitter that a lot of people were so happy this got redesigned and how much better it was for the book, and I do agree that it embraces more of the overall feel. I didn’t think the original was bad though!

Which do I like better? I’m really not sure! I loved being able to get a picture of Allyson on the original cover but I also really love the redesign. The silhouettes against the sunset, the setting, just the feel of it shouts “travel” and I do love it! I guess if I had to choose, I’d go with cover #2! But it’s a pretty close race for me.

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which cover for JUST ONE DAY do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]

 

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!)

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“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

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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!

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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.

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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!


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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.

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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/Gayle Forman Read Along: Week 4 Answers

Welcome to the read along for JUST ONE YEAR, part of the Gayle Forman Read Along event!

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Each WEDNESDAY, we will be posting the answers from the previous week and I’ll be giving you my answers as well as the questions for the next week’s batch of chapters! Here’s a look at our official schedule for the event:

October 18th: Questions week 1 (Ch 1-12)  
October 23rd: Answers week 1 (Ch 1 – 12), week 2 questions (Ch 13 – 21)
October 30th: Answers week 2 (Ch 13 – 21), week 3 questions (Ch 21 – 32)
November 6th: Answers week 3 (Ch 21 – 32), week 4 questions (Ch 33 – end)
November 13th: Answers week 4 (Ch 33 – end), wrap-up & giveaway winner announced!

Before I get to to this week’s answers, I just want to say thank you to everyone who read with us, From SISTERS IN SANITY to JUST ONE YEAR. I had a blast on the Gayle Forman read along and I know it was long but thanks for sticking with me! Re-reading Gayle’s books was something I really needed to do and I was so happy to read them with others who wanted to experience them again and people reading them for the first time! Another BIG thank you to the ladies who co-hosted with me on this event — You guys were truly fantastic!

ANSWERS: WEEK 4

  1. How do you feel about the travel aspect and sense of worldliness in Willem’s life versus Allyson’s own travels and personal adventures? How do you think travel affects their lives differently? What does travel mean to you?
    Oh wow, hmmmm. I think for Willem, travel had become a norm in his life, but he seemed to be using it as an escape away from his problems. For Allyson, I think it was adventure. Trying something new. Reinventing herself and really figuring out who she was outside of her normal life and her normal setting. When we first met Willem, travel was his escape but then it sort of meshed with Allyson’s path and it took on a new meaning for him in his quest to find her again. As for me? Travel is definitely adventure. It’s experiencing something new, finding a new place, learning new things. Travel is enjoying nature’s beauty in places and ways that I haven’t been able to experience it before. Meeting new people and growing closer to my travel companions (now usually Shane).
  2. Another big symbol in the book was Allyson’s watch. We know it meant something specific for Allyson. What do you think it meant for Willem?
    For Allyson, the watch was sort of her connection to her old self. She was always concerned with time and when she left her watch with Willem, he was her time keeper. She lost it and was able to let loose. I think for Willem, it was sort of the same thing. He was wandering for so long that when he met Allyson, he started to become grounded again. It’s also his one connection to Allyson and a constant in his life. It’s sort of like his burning torch.
  3. Both Willem and Allyson grew because of what they found in each other. Is there a person in your life who has helped you grow? Who helped you bring out the person you wanted to be?
    My fiancé Shane has definitely changed who I am by bringing out the better qualities in me. Before I met him, I was still fairly immature and not really making smart decisions with my life (not bad, but not great) and I just feel so much more grounded and responsible and secure with myself. He definitely helped me change for the better and ever since that point, I have been so much happier.
  4. Who caught the Adam Wilde reference!?
    YES! I love that Gayle does that. There was a Clod reference (the band from Sisters in Sanity) in If I Stay that was so awesome to find and I love the Adam Wilde reference in Just One Year. Pretty sneaky!
  5. How did you feel about the ending? There have been quite a few reactions! What did you think?
    Welp. It was surprising. I was kind of disappointed because I was SO hoping for a little bit more of a reunion between Willem and Allyson. I had such a connection with Allyson in Just One Day that I just wanted to see more of her and her reaction to Willem (where we left her in Just One Day). I think I’ve made my peace with it now, but I was actually kind of outraged at first and didn’t know what to think.

GIVEAWAY WINNER!

A HUGE thank you to Michelle from Unraveling Books for tweeting throughout the Just One Year read along! I know she had troubles with it at times but she was a total rock star with tweeting quotes and feelings as well as following along with the read along questions each week. Congrats on being the winner of the giveaway! You totally earned it, girl! Let me know if you want some official Gayle Forman merch from this shop or if you’d like one of her books! 😀

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.

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** 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.

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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.
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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?

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BOOKS LIKE JUST ONE YEAR

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Beginning of Everything     Meant to Be

Just One Year/Gayle Forman Read Along: Week 3 Answers, Week 4 Questions

Welcome to the read along for JUST ONE YEAR, part of the Gayle Forman Read Along event!

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Each WEDNESDAY, we will be posting the answers from the previous week and I’ll be giving you my answers as well as the questions for the next week’s batch of chapters! Here’s a look at our official schedule for the event:

October 18th: Questions week 1 (Ch 1-12)  
October 23rd: Answers week 1 (Ch 1 – 12), week 2 questions (Ch 13 – 21)
October 30th: Answers week 2 (Ch 13 – 21), week 3 questions (Ch 21 – 32)
November 6th: Answers week 3 (Ch 21 – 32), week 4 questions (Ch 33 – end) Now!
November 13th: Answers week 4 (Ch 33 – end), wrap-up & giveaway winner announced!

As you may have noticed, there will be a little giveaway for one of the JUST ONE YEAR read along participants! I’ve detailed the guidelines for the giveaway allllll the way down at the bottom!

ANSWERS: WEEK 3

  1. How did you feel about Willem’s time in India? Besides his mother, what do you think he found from his time there?
    I feel like he got a lot of “Willem” time. Yes, he’s been travelling this whole time but I feel like it wasn’t until India that he finally started really taking time to figure out who he is and what he wants to do with his life now that’s it’s changed so drastically. I also feel like actually being with his mother and yet again coming up with conflicts between the two of them really forced them to work on their relationship. It was an immediate concern and one that Willem couldn’t run from anymore. On a different side of the same note, Willem finally got to see a good side to his mother. It’s so easy to see the hard times and the bad situations, but Willem go to see his mother at work and understand more now that he’s an adult himself how hard things can be. He was able to step outside of himself to see things from her perspective which is something he wasn’t able to do before.
  2. Prateek told Willem, “To dream is the ultimate dare.” What do you think he means by that?
    Prateek has pretty big dreams in store for himself and dreaming is the first step to making those big things in your life happen. If you never dream it, you cannot do it. Simple as that. I also think that in Willem’s case, he’s been holding himself back too much. He has dreams at times but won’t allow himself to follow through with them. Instead, he’s been running away from a lot of his problems or even the good things but ones that scare him. Prateek sort of prods him and pushes him to really take risks and put himself out there.
  3. Do you have hopes for Willem and his mother? Do you think they’ve mended their relationship?
    I think they still have a long way to go in mending what has been damaged throughout Willem’s life, but they’re definitely on the right track. They’ve taken a really big first step into regrowing their relationship and I really loved seeing the two of them finally make a connection instead of missing them all the time!
  4. We finally find out how Bram died. How do you think that affected Willem’s theory of fate and accidents?
    Well it certainly wasn’t a happy accident, but an unfortunate turn in chance nonetheless. I think Willem put a lot of faith in Fate and in chance and the odds of Bram’s death actually occurring were so miniscule and yet it happened. Growing up with one notion and then his father’s death totally fracturing that idea… I think it’s really shook up Willem and he wasn’t sure if his life philosophy was a good one anymore.
  5. Why do you think that just one day with Allyson awoke so many feelings in Willem?
    I’m not actually sure why she was the catalyst… I think as different as I thought the two of them were in Just One Day, I really see similarities in Just One Year once we get to know Willem. Willem helped Allyson be more bold, take more chances, and really grow as a person. I almost feel like he saw what he brought out in Allyson but was still stuck himself. Along with a romance, he really made a connection with her and saw a happy accident in the crossing of their paths. I actually don’t know if he knew it or not — maybe subconsciously, maybe I’m making it up — but I feel like his character needed to find her again to make things right. Things were not finished, they did not have an ending or a goodbye and the open ending really affected Allyson. It damaged her entire view of the trip, of Willem, and even back on herself. I like to think that Willem needed to make things right with Allyson again not only for his sake, but for hers.

QUESTIONS: WEEK 4

  1. How do you feel about the travel aspect and sense of worldliness in Willem’s life versus Allyson’s own travels and personal adventures? How do you think travel affects their lives differently?
    What does travel mean to you?
  2. Another big symbol in the book was Allyson’s watch. We know it meant something specific for Allyson. What do you think it meant for Willem?
  3. Both Willem and Allyson grew because of what they found in each other. Is there a person in your life who has helped you grow? Who helped you bring out the person you wanted to be?
  4. Who caught the Adam Wilde reference!?
  5. How did you feel about the ending? There have been quite a few reactions! What did you think?

Join in the read along on Twitter & Instagram by using the hashtag #JustOneYearRA and you could win! Choose a Gayle Forman t-shirt or tote bag from this shop (US only) or your choice of any Gayle Forman book (US + International)!  Don’t delay! Start reading & tweeting today to gain entries into the giveaway!