Tag Archives: If I Stay

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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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!

 

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 // GoodreadsDate 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. 

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

Where She Went/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 4

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Welcome to the first post in the WHERE SHE WENT read along, the third leg on the GAYLE FORMAN READ ALONG! A big thanks to Alexa at Alexa Loves Books for hosting this leg. You can find the schedule, questions, and chapter breakdown at her blog.

Week 1: August 15-21: Chapters 1-6
Week 2: August 22-28: Chapters 7-12
Week 3: August 29 – September 4: Chapters 13-18
Week 4: September 5-11: Chapters 19-23

We’ve just read the chapters for Week 4 of the read along and if you missed the questions or need help with any details, Alexa’s got it all for you!

Another big thanks to Alexa for hosting this leg of the Gayle Forman read along!! I had an absolutely amazing time re-reading Where She Went and the questions from this read along just had it an even better experience!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 4

In friendships or relationships, the two people in question have a common obsession most of the time. For Adam and Mia, it’s music. Tell me about an example of that in your own life, whether that be with your lover, best friend or family!
Shane and I both love traveling. I don’t know if I’d call it an obsession but it’s something that we both really enjoy and it’s become something that we do together — for holidays, celebrations, weekends, or special occasions — it’s something that’s become really important to us and something we love doing together. I think at times, we can both be pretty shy. At other times, we can both be pretty indecisive. So when we travel, it’s a time for us to experience something new together and have our own adventures!

Adam’s knowledge of Mia’s obsession with music was what prompted his split second decision to play Yo Yo Ma to remind her of it. How do you feel about their relationship armed with this new knowledge?
It shows that they really know each other and that even if Adam doesn’t know the perfect cello music to pick, he knows that that’s what Mia needs to hear. He knows that’s what will make her feel better. That’s where her heart belongs. That’s her comfort music and her home.

A good cry is necessary sometimes. Do you agree or disagree?
Oh, I totally agree. (I may or may not have had a good cry with this book.) Sometimes a good cry lets out old stress (or current stress) and it’s a way for me to get rid of emotions I’ve been holding in. Sometimes you just need to cry it out!

Mia’s big revelation — her gift to Adam — changes everything. With this new knowledge, how do you feel about Mia?
I love that Mia’s been thinking about Adam this whole time. I feel like… You know, I always knew it. WARM FUZZIES.

What so you think lies in the future for Adam and Mia? Will their history — together and apart — affect it in anyway?
They need to be together. They just do. After everything that they’ve been through, it’d be silly for them to reunite and then separate again. Mia and Adam. The dream team!

Sorry for the short answers this week. The end of Where She Went was so perfect and yet kind of wrecked me at the same time. 

Thanks again to Alexa for hosting WHERE SHE WENT! Next week, Jenna Does Books hosts the JUST ONE DAY read along! Join us to read (or re-read) before I host JUST ONE YEAR in October! Make sure you check out her intro post and join us for the emotion ride that is JUST ONE DAY!

Re-Read: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle Forman

Re-Read: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: April 2, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 11, 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, 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

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

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Gayle Forman is one of my all-time favorite authors and also a great writing inspiration. The beauty and emotion captured in her books are the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along… Well that and I needed a good excuse to re-read all of them because I’ve been meaning to do so ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY.

Re-reading IF I STAY was an interesting experience. I was really glad I got to share it with the people on the read along because there were some people reading not only IF I STAY for the first time, but any of Gayle Forman’s books for the first time! It was just really great to see them experience that. But also, one of my main fears of re-reading was that I wasn’t going to like it as much as my first read. While that kind of ended up happening in a way, I also fell in love with the book all over again.

It’s true that I didn’t enjoy IF I STAY as much as when I first read it. On my first read, I was simply blown away. It was the first Gayle Forman book I ever read and of course the beauty of her writing just swept me away, but I also think (and have discussed with other read along-ers!) that part of the reason I wasn’t as amazed on the re-read is because I knew exactly what was coming in Mia’s story. The initial read has a sort of suspense whether Mia will choose to stay or go, the surprise of the initial accident, and just little moments that a first-time reader isn’t expecting. I think all of those elements on a first read really makes the book amazing. It’s still gorgeous and heartbreaking and bittersweet the second time around, but those little surprises really make up a sizable chunk of a “wow factor” for this book.

Some things that I was able to pick up on my re-read that I hadn’t on my first read: a small little  hint at SISTERS IN SANITY! Mia makes a mention of a Portland band called Clod which was Brit’s band in SISTERS IN SANITY. I absolutely loved that because so much of SISTERS IN SANITY reminded me of IF I STAY. Obviously I had no idea on my first read since I only read SIS a couple months ago so I really, really enjoyed how those two books tied together! Very clever, Gayle!
I also think that already knowing the ending of the book helped me slow down and really get into the characters and their relationships. Whenever I get excited about the end of a book, I have this really bad habit where I can’t help but rush through what I’m reading to get to the end and see what the future holds in store for our characters. This being a re-read, the ending wasn’t a surprise to me so I really got to take my time and cherish the relationships that were blossoming as others ended, revel in Mia’s pain and sadness, observe things about characters and the setting that I hadn’t noticed before… I just really got to take in a lot more detail!

Um, HI — this also helped me rekindle my love of ADAM WILDE. Gayle……. thank you for Adam. I’ve already started the re-read of WHERE SHE WENT and I am SO in love with Adam. Of course, that’s a discussion for another day, but all of IF I STAY just really helped me remember how much I loved him and what a shame it was that I almost forgot!

If you haven’t read IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT yet, I highly recommend picking them up! They both instantly made me a Gayle Forman fan for life and will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Mia Hall // Character Obsessions: Cello, spending time with her family, Adam Wilde.
Mia is such an interesting character for me. We get to know her (and her family) mostly through flashback stories as Mia is ultimately deciding whether to stay or to “go”. I feel like she’s two totally different people from before the accident and then after, which actually seems pretty natural considering what she went through (and sorry, I’m jumping there, already putting what I know from WHERE SHE WENT into play). She’s definitely always been a strong person, but there was always a little factor of doubt in her abilities and self-confidence. I think the accident changes her in the sense that she’s forced to appreciate what she has right in front of her (although that’s a bad way to put it because Mia really was always appreciative of her family) and not to let her self-doubt get in the way of anything she really wants.
Adam Wilde // Character Obsessions: Guitar, Shooting Star, music, Mia.
ADAM. Oh, Adam. He’s such a wonderful boyfriend to Mia and I absolutely melt when he interacts with Mia’s family, especially her younger brother Teddy. I love how he’s this edgy, almost-rock-star and he’s totally in love with a more conservative classical musician. They just fit together so well and their love of music really does bring them closer. I especially love that WHERE SHE WENT is from Adam’s perspective and… Well, we’ll get there!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Gayle Forman. Oh, Gayle. I always love your books! I loved re-reading what made me first fall in love with Gayle Forman’s writing and lead to one of the ultimate book boyfriends, Adam Wilde!
Left Me Wanting More: Eh, not fair to say, but wow-factor. The re-read obviously wasn’t holding many surprises the second time around, but that’s purely because it’s a re-read!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT… NOW!

Oh, you guys know I could gush about Gayle Forman forever. Just do me a favor and buy IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT.

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Books like IF I STAY!

     Where She Went      Just One Day

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

Where She Went/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 3

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Welcome to the first post in the WHERE SHE WENT read along, the third leg on the GAYLE FORMAN READ ALONG! A big thanks to Alexa at Alexa Loves Books for hosting this leg. You can find the schedule, questions, and chapter breakdown at her blog.

Week 1: August 15-21: Chapters 1-6
Week 2: August 22-28: Chapters 7-12
Week 3: August 29 – September 4: Chapters 13-18
Week 4: September 5-11: Chapters 19-23

We’ve just read the chapters for Week 3 of the read along and if you missed the questions or need help with any details, Alexa’s got it all for you!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for WHERE SHE WENT or the other two books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 3

Adam’s craving for human affection leads him to various groupies. Does this affect what you think of him?
Hmmm. In a way, yes. But honestly, who am I to judge? Adam is clearly hurting and part of his way of coping is getting close to someone, even if it’s only for a few hours. He also isn’t allowing himself to get close to anyone emotionally so physically is all he has. Obviously the fangirl in me wants to say “Adam and Mia forever! Don’t go sleeping with other girls!!!” And I want to be upset with him for that, but that’s sort of what Adam needs to do at that point in his life. Okay, maybe NEEDS isn’t the right word, but so many people go through things like that as well — the “random hookups”, if you will — and they experience it, take a step back, and realize that’s all wrong. Sometimes you don’t realize it’s the wrong path for yourself until you go down that road.

Mia is able to feel and hear her family in her mind and heart. Have you ever felt that way about someone you’ve lost, whether from death or other means?
Not really in the sense that Mia does, no. But my mom and my sister and I all look for “signs” from our relatives who have passed away. Like my mom randomly finding her dad’s favorite album at a garage sale or seeing a truck that says “Bauer Power” (true story — and Bauer is my mom’s maiden name/my maternal grandparents’ last name). So I don’t actually ever “hear” them, but I do still look for them in uncommon places.

What do you think of the author’s transitions between present day Adam and Mia, and Adam and Mia in the past?
I actually really like the transitions back and forth. I feel like that’s something I usually don’t like in books because I feel like it can be explained in other ways than jerking us out of the present day, but Adam and Mia are SUCH different people than what they used to be. A lot of the same, yes, but I feel like it’s impossible to really get the stories of their past without doing “flashbacks”. I think Gayle does them extremely well.

The confrontation we’ve all been waiting for has finally happened! How did you feel when you found out Mia’s real reason for leaving Adam behind?
I cried. Not ashamed to admit that haha. That just KILLED me and reading this book from Adam’s POV for some reason just makes everything more emotionally raw. And I can totally understand how Mia feels. The realization that Adam goes through is just SO painful. It’s like he’s known it all along and yet not. That was a BRILLIANT scene, Gayle.

Do you think Mia and Adam will truly be able to let each other go? Are you rooting for their happy ending or do you think walking away from each other is their best bet?
Well, I know how this ends, so I won’t say anything! Not one peep!!

 

Awesome questions for this week, Alexa!! GOD, that revelation scene…. OUCH. I’m so excited to finish up reading WHERE SHE WENT! Join us next week for the end!

Where She Went/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 2

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Welcome to the first post in the WHERE SHE WENT read along, the third leg on the GAYLE FORMAN READ ALONG! A big thanks to Alexa at Alexa Loves Books for hosting this leg. You can find the schedule, questions, and chapter breakdown at her blog.

Week 1: August 15-21: Chapters 1-6
Week 2: August 22-28: Chapters 7-12
Week 3: August 29 – September 4: Chapters 13-18
Week 4: September 5-11: Chapters 19-23

We’ve just read the chapters for Week 2 of the read along and if you missed the questions or need help with any details, Alexa’s got it all for you!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for WHERE SHE WENT or the other two books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 2

Adam’s new girl, Bryn, has definitely made an appearance now. What do you think of how they first met? And what do you think of Bryn herself?
I love that Brooke Vega set them up. Kind of ironic, in a way, that there’s a connection to Mia.
You know… I actually forgot that how Bryn really was — and I mean that in a good way. When WSW starts, I feel like we only see Bryn as this burden to Adam or a jealous girlfriend. I actually like her in this little meet scene with Adam. She’s actually smart and a go-getter and not a ditz like I felt she was. Bryn really ends up being Adam’s Julliard in a way. She lets him escape Oregon where all of the suffering and hurt was.

If someone important from your past showed up again in your present after you’d left things on an awkward note, how would you react? Awkward? Excited? Nervous? Angry? Sad? Afraid?
I can just imagine myself in Adam & Mia’s shoes and I think I would be extremely awkward and nervous. It’s not like it would be someone I was still romantically interested but say it was an ex-boyfriend or something, of course I’d still want to look like I was doing well… Maybe flash the engagement ring, haha!! I’m sure I would be extremely awkward, as I usually am, but the people who know me get it and accept it hah!

Mia and Adam attempted a few months at a long-distance relationship while Mia was in New York. What is your opinion on long-distance relationships?
I think long distance relationships are hard. Do I think they can be done? Yes… But not for long periods of time. I’m sure there are people who can prove me wrong out there, but if it was me, I couldn’t do it. I would want to hang on, but I think I’d just spazz out, miss my sig other too much, cry, be clingy… All those things I wouldn’t want to be. I think it REALLY depends on the people and the situation but personally, I’m not sure I’d be able to do it.

As Mia says, “Everyone loves New York City for all these different reasons.” Have you been to New York, and if you have, what did you love most about it? If you haven’t been yet, do you want to visit and what do you want to see most?
I have, actually! I hadn’t been to NYC until this past May for BEA! I had been to New York state, but not the city. In all honesty, it felt a lot like Chicago so it didn’t feel TOO different for me! I didn’t get to see everything like all the touristy things since BEA and hanging out with bloggers was the main focus, but I’d like to go back and do the touristy thing sometime! It’s hard to say a favorite thing about NYC since we were busy moving around all the time! Honestly… It was more about who I was with than where I was. I’m sure I could find things to do in NYC but I just loved being there with my blogging besties!

Shooting Star seemed like such a close-knit group in If I Stay, but that dynamic has completely changed in Where She Went. What do you think of the friction between the band? Do you think they can fix it?
I definitely think they can fix it, but things aren’t always that easy. A LOT of things have happened since If I Stay and although Adam wrote so many killer songs, he hasn’t exactly made things easy on the band. I feel so bad for the band but I feel like I GET what Adam’s going through. I may not have experienced it as deeply, but I can totally understand where he’s coming from. I think if they want to, though, they can always find a way to patch things up. It’s always about how much you’re willing to take and how far you’re willing to go — on both sides.

 

Once again, amazing questions, Alexa! I am falling in love with WHERE SHE WENT all over again…

Where She Went/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 1

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Welcome to the first post in the WHERE SHE WENT read along, the third leg on the GAYLE FORMAN READ ALONG! A big thanks to Alexa at Alexa Loves Books for hosting this leg. You can find the schedule, questions, and chapter breakdown at her blog.

Week 1: August 15-21: Chapters 1-6
Week 2: August 22-28: Chapters 7-12
Week 3: August 29 – September 4: Chapters 13-18
Week 4: September 5-11: Chapters 19-23

We’ve just read the chapters for Week 1 of the read along and if you missed the questions or need help with any details, Alexa’s got it all for you!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for WHERE SHE WENT or the other two books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 1

Adam has changed a lot since we last saw him in If I Stay. Any guesses as to what happened between him and Mia? Him and the band? In his personal life? What do you think of the “new” Adam we find in the first chapter?
OH, ADAM. My gosh, how I love him. I feel SO bad for him. He has just fallen to pieces since his separation from Mia. “New” Adam is a musical genius, but part of his success is due to all of his heartbreak from not being with Mia. It seems like he’s just fallen into this deep despair and lost such a huge part of his life and aside from his music career, everything else is barely hanging on. Right from the start of this book, my heart is honestly breaking for him and I forgot just how emotional WHERE SHE WENT is.

How do you feel about Mia’s determination to go to Julliard right away, instead of deferring for a year? Do you think it was the right decision for her to immediately leave the familiar, the scene of her greatest trauma and grief and head to an unfamiliar, new place?
I think part of it is just Mia’s personality and her determination to accomplish what she knows she can, part of it is her desire to probably go to New York and away from the reminder that her family is gone, and another part to start over and do something that she really loves and is successful doing. A year is a really long time. What would Mia do in the year that she defers? I think it would be worse for her to have stayed and rehabbed at home with all of the reminders of grief and the added stress of her not being at Julliard. Her music is helping her rehab and she has the determination to go to Julliard that quickly.

What do you think of Mia and Adam’s first reunion after three years?
That. Scene. Just. Killed me. (I’m answering these questions AS I’m reading, by the way — or at least this section — so everything is so fresh and emotional.)
I loved the inner monologue in Adam’s head of all the questions he wanted to ask Mia. The things he couldn’t say. How it was Mia, seemingly mostly calm, breaking the ice first. It’s also so perfectly awkward because that seems EXACTLY like what would happen if two people with such a love finally saw each other for the first time in years. Gayle is a brilliant writer and that scene… Just SO many emotions.

Grief strikes people different, as we see Adam grieving when he and Mia break up. Have you ever experienced the same intensity of grief? How did you survive it or move on from it? What do you think of Kim’s role in helping Adam snap out of his grief?
Adam feels that it’s wrong to even try to compare it to Mia losing her family, but the grief is there just the same. For Adam, the break-up had a different aspect of pain in the sense that he felt totally alone. Without Mia there, there was no one to lean on, no one to help him through the hurt. He goes day to day, just going through the motions, unsure of what to do without Mia.
I haven’t had a REALLY bad break-up. My longest relationship is the only one that really stuck and now we’re engaged so I can’t say that I’ve been through that kind of devastation. I thought I had my heart broken once but looking back, it was half true emotions, half teenage melodrama! It all felt very real at the time though and I definitely draw on those emotions as I’m reading Adam’s story and as I try to plot for the WIP I plan on using for NaNo in November (EEK).
I loved Kim’s part in helping Adam deal with the break up… Whether it was intentional or not. I do wonder what she wanted out of that visit. Did she have more in mind than visiting Adam? Or was she just seeing an old friend? Did she know he needed help to snap out of it? I guess not since she figured he’d be at the House of Rock. Either way, she was instrumental (no pun intended) of getting Adam off his butt. LOVED it. And yet, STILL SO HEARTBREAKING. Damnit, Adam.

Song lyrics can sometimes describe our feelings about situations completely, as Adam’s lyrics for the songs on the Collateral Damage album describe his feelings after Mia dumped him. What are some song lyrics that describe feelings you’ve had or memories?
“Kill” by Jimmy Eat World will always, always remind me of my dating life because of the lyrics and I just feel such a connection to that song. Another one is “Between the Lines” by Sara Barielles. Really, neither of those ENTIRE songs fit my relationship “woes” but there’s one line here and another line there that just hit straight to the heart and I just FEEL it every time. Isn’t that weird? Being in a totally happy, loving relationship and those old songs still bring back such strong memories of the hurt that used to be there. I’m also a really emotional person in general so I tend to carry a lot of memories and feelings with me at all time. Music is such a great connection for emotions for me — both happy and sad — so when I make an emotional connection to a song, it tends to stick for a long time and bring up that emotion whenever I hear it.
I don’t really get sad listening to those song as I used to do and just revel in that sadness, but I DO acknowledge it and I use it as a point of emotional reference for writing now (well… the very beginnings of my WIP, anyway). It won’t be something that I forget, but that doesn’t mean that I’m also still hung up on it!

Those were AMAZING questions, Alexa! I am already loving my re-read of WHERE SHE WENT and I cannot wait to read everyone’s responses!!

If I Stay/Gayle Forman Read Along – Weeks 3 & 4

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Hey, Read Along-ers! Sorry for my disappearing act last week… As you may or may not know, I’ve been in the process of moving and I literally hadn’t read for a full week so I was behind in the Gayle Forman Read Along. All is well now this week though and I’m BACK with both weeks three and four, wrapping up the read along for IF I STAY!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for IF I STAY or any of the other three books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 3

There are several themes in If I Stay. Two that are very prevalent are sacrifice and choice. How do you think these themes affect the characters? Give an example of each and what you think about them (if you can).
Mia’s whole situation right now is sacrifice and choice… If she chooses to stay and live, she will be without her whole family but the strongest thing I took away from the book was when Kim told her that (and I’m sorry, this is an inaccurate quote…) all the people — friends, relatives, some related some not — waiting outside for her still loved her and she STILL had a family. God, I just immediately burst into tears. That was so incredibly touching. Yes, she loses her immediate family but she does gain a TON of support.
Okay, this is week four, but I’m using it anyway. Adam has a serious talk with Mia saying that he loves her and he knows she’s suffering so he’ll understand if she needs to go but gosh darnit, he begs her to stay. Even still, Adam and Mia’s grandfather as well give her permission to go if she needs to go. If she wants to go.

Although Mia’s family has died, Kim mentions that she still has a family. What does this mean to you? What does “family” mean in your opinion?
Oh my gosh, that one line just — well, I was gonna say killed me, but that’s a poor choice of words. “Family” can mean so many things. Mia has lost what she knows as her immediate family but she still has her grandparents, her aunts, and her friends. Family extends far beyond the traditional meaning of the word. Sometimes your friends can be the best kind of family. Some people end up marrying their best friends and then they start a new family.

What does Adam’s act of putting the headphones on Mia suggest about their relationship?
They have a huge connection of music between the two of them. They’ve got a relationship that revolves around music and really connects them on such a different level. The headphones is sort of an Adam thing. “I’m here.”

Adam and Mia have an unconditional love. Could you make a case against this? What are some examples that you’ve read so far that could support this (if possible)?
Oh, I love their relationship! It’s so pure and so lovely. This is one of my favorite relationships in YA because it also feels so mature and it always has. I loved how Mia’s mother told her that she fell in love too young and Mia almost interprets this as she’s not ready for a relationship but her mother clarifies… What Mia and Adam have is very real and they fell in love too young because this is just a hard time in their lives to figure everything out.

Has your opinion or initial thoughts about this changed? If so, how?
I actually feel very differently about the book, but this is because it’s a re-read. Okay, no. I shouldn’t say very differently. Re-reading the book is actually really different because I was so surprised by everything as I was reading. This time around, I was lacking the element of surprise to add to the depth of the book but I was still very moved and very touched by everything that was going on.

QUESTIONS: WEEK 4

“Amazing things happen when you stop hiding behind that hulking beast.” What is the significance of this statement that Mia is told at music camp? Are there any examples of her not hiding behind her cello that result in amazing things?
I actually don’t even remember haha. I think it was just that Mia is capable of great things when she stops hiding behind her cello and starts taking ownership for what she’s really capable of. She really has to put herself out there, push herself, and take a couple risks and it seems like those risks really turn into rewards for Mia.

Mia laments to her mom about the changes that are coming for her and Adam – college, musical success, moving – and her mom states that 17 is an inconvenient time to be in love. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?
Whoops, I talked about this in week 3’s questions. That’s what happens when I read too much at once! I can totally agree with that — the time right before college is a terribly hard time to be in love and decide whether you want to put tons of work into that relationship or let it fizzle. You’re young. So how far do you go to hold the relationship together? Are you too young to put that much work into it? Is there such a thing?
Then again, love isn’t easy. Pretty much any time in your life you fall in love, there will be big obstacles. I almost said to “test” it but I really hate when people talk about testing love haha. Just a weird peeve of mine. Love will be put to the test, so to speak, at any point in someone’s life. It all just depends on how you handle it.

The last part of the book foreshadows Mia and Adam’s future relationship. If you haven’t read Where She Went, do you think it’s heading a good direction? If you have read Where She Went, does rereading this book give you a better understanding of their relationship in the sequel?
I had a lot of hope for Adam & Mia at the end of IF I STAY when I first finished. I was actually kind of upset and confused with WSW because I wasn’t given an immediate answer HAHA.

So… last week I asked about the headphones and realized I jumped the gun. Feel free to answer that one now.
Oh, haha! See, I answered weeks three and four at the same time so I wasn’t quite sure. See above? LOL

What’s been your favorite part thus far about this read-along? Feel free to include any fun moments, any new bloggers you’ve met, etc.
I’ve just enjoyed re-reading. I’ve wanted to ever since I first read the book. In a way, I feel a little sad because the original read was SO magical that I didn’t want to do it a disservice by re-reading. I wouldn’t say that I did that, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. I think the shock factor was missing and knowing what happens, it wasn’t quite as emotional but I still really, really enjoyed it!

THANK YOU so much to Candice at The Grown-Up YA for hosting the IF I STAY leg of the read along! Alexa from Alexa Loves Books will be hosting WHERE SHE WENT starting TOMORROW!

If I Stay/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 2

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It’s week TWO of the IF I STAY read along, part of the five-month long Gayle Forman Read Along! Candice at The Grown-Up YA is hosting this leg of the Gayle Forman read along. Missed the post for week one’s questions? Find it here!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for IF I STAY or any of the other three books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 2

Shortly after Kim arrives at the hospital, she goes to the hospital chapel to pray. How does this scene fit in with who she is?
I love that Kim is sort of tough-as-nails and she seems pretty sarcastic as well, but she still immediately goes to the chapel to pray. Her religion is just a part of who she is and I like that she doesn’t make a big deal about it one way or or the other. She knows what her faith is and how involved it is in her life and she’s totally comfortable with it. The fact that she’s Jewish plays a certain role in the sense that Mia has been able to experience new family and religious traditions by being a part of Kim’s life and we also get to see a bit of Kim’s humor when she makes a joke in the chapel.

In the pages we’ve read Mia begins to realize that it’s up to her if she wants to stay. What’s hard about this decision? Based on what you know so far, talk about where you think she’s at mentally and what her reaction to this knowledge might be.
That realization sort of blew my mind. I was actually legitimately tearing up because HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU DECIDE THAT. I mean, I guess it should seem easy right? Stay. Who wants to die? Mia had a happy life… But oh wait, her parents are already dead and her brother may or may not be alive at this point. How could she possibly stay? It’s amazing to be put in that position and especially the way her grandparents brought up this issue and talked about it… Tears in my eyes.

Mia’s parents are definitely different than she is. How do you think their personalities affect Mia?
I love how their personalities affect Mia. At times I feel like she’s the parent and they’re the kids… Except they’re not actually immature. They just have the punk rock attitude and Mia has a more serious attitude. Their taste in music sort of shapes this generalization about the ages that listen to them and shifts the way we perceive them. I love how they bring a little more lightness into Mia’s life when she’s more serious. It’s fun to see that a different way than a parent always trying to reel the kid back in and it’s not annoying to the sense of the parents going way out of control, ya know?

The Halloween scene is one of my favorites – what do you think is significant about this particular scene in terms of Mia and Adam’s relationship?
HAHA I got to this scene and immediately updated my Goodreads saying that I forgot how much I love Adam. He was so incredibly sweet to Teddy. I love it when the guys are nice to the younger siblings (theirs or someone else’s) — It totally just melts my heart.
I also thought it was interesting how Adam dressed up as Mozart and Mia dressed punk rock to sort of impress it. Totally sweet that he told her he loved her for the way she is and that’s WHY he loves her. She doesn’t have to go all punk rock to impress him!

Mia desperately wants Adam and Kim to be friends, but it’s just not happening for them. Was it surprising to you to see Kim and Adam come together in the hospital? What are your thoughts on this?
It was surprising, but in a good way! It’s sad that it took a tragedy of their best friend/girlfriend to get them talking and working together… But also it’s hard to try to push people together when they just don’t mesh, so I totally understand! Just because you have a mutual person in common doesn’t mean you’re meant to be together too. I know Mia wanted them to be friends because they were both so important to her, but I also like that it was okay for Adam and Kim to be two separate parts of her life (even though Mia didn’t feel like that). They didn’t hate each other and they weren’t mortal enemies… They just weren’t friends.

Great questions for week two! I’m loving re-reading IF I STAY and really, I’m already excited for the end even though we still have two weeks left 😀
If you haven’t linked up yet, head on over to The Grown-Up YA and link up your posts!