Release Date:April 5, 2011 Publisher: Dutton Juvenile Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 260 For...moreYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: April 5, 2011 Publisher: Dutton Juvenile Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 260 Format: Hardcover Source: Personal copy
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
Discovery: After finally finishing If I Stay, I immediately--and I do mean immediately--went to the bookstore and bought Where She Went.
+ Intensity. Where If I Stay was poignant and pensive, Adam's story is deeply devastating. The pages bleed with his emotion. It's commonly assumed by people that artists feel too much (Van Gogh is just one depressing example out of many) and in this case, they would be right. Adam Wilde's torment is a silent kind, which he himself has difficulty voicing. The reader quickly realizes that only one person can understand him, and it's the one person he can't bring himself to be with. All in all, these factors make for an explosive and emotional book that I devoured in a single hour.
+ Romance. Contemporary romance is something I've always struggled to enjoy, because it can feel very cheesy and uncomfortable to read. It's also rife with cliched dialogue, which is one of the biggest turn-offs in my reading experience. Thankfully, Gayle Forman succeeds with another beautifully-written story of love in all its forms. Just when I thought I'd reached a threshold for adorable and emotional moments between Mia and Adam, another one would break through my defenses. I was reduced to speechless hand-waving and head-holding. The pages fairly sizzled as Adam and Mia talked and wept and existed with each other for the first time in three years. To be honest, I couldn't take this book in all its unashamed, gritty glory, dear readers. It was simply too much for my fragile heart to handle--it was so very real.
The final say: Gayle Forman concludes Mia and Adam's story with emotional gentleness and incandescent prose, ensuring that readers' hearts will never be the same again.
Release Date:February 16, 2012 Publisher: Dutton Children's Books (Penguin) Age Group: Yo...moreYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: February 16, 2012 Publisher: Dutton Children's Books (Penguin) Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 307 Format: Hardcover Source: ARC received from Penguin Canada
Tell Me More: At last count, I have 16,830 songs in my iTunes. Music is an intrinsic part of who I am and why I write, so when I found this novel on Goodreads, I knew it was either going to become one of my all-time favourite novels or a story that I passionately hated.
Whatever I decide, I might be making a mistake. But if I'm going to make a mistake, I want it to be passionate. [based off uncorrected galley]
The relationships between teens and adults has become a cliche, a caricature of disagreements and rebellion. Adults try to dictate, teens act out. For readers who are used to those power plays, the attitudes that Colby and Bev display are jarring. To have parents who let you go on a cross-country road trip with no supervision, to be able to do whatever you want in Europe--it's the kind of thing that would make new thirteen-year-olds weep with gratitude. But analyzing the characters opens up a whole new dimension of their lives, and the decisions they make hold a gravity that most teens won't experience until they go to college.
For much of the novel, the key word is passion. How far are you willing to go in pursuit of it, and what are you willing to give up to fulfill it? I thought I knew what that meant. As a girl who chose creative writing over a (admittedly) more lucrative career in medicine, there were moments when I was just as confused and off-kilter as Colby. But strangely enough, I found myself more in tune with Bev as the novel went on. When so much of your future was something you decided as a kid, it does become more challenging to keep to that commitment. I'm sure that there will be reviews that rip Bev apart for hurting Colby and giving up on their dream, but I don't agree with that at all. In fact, I think she's the bravest person in their ragtag team.
The title is particularly telling: The Disenchantments. At first glance, it seems to be poking fun at the way they play music. Colby readily admits that they aren't the best musicians or singers, and he even seems perturbed by their appeal once on stage. They are the very image of a powerful girl punk rock band--they just can't sing or play instruments. But Colby is okay with it, because in his mind, they are everything he wants them to be. Bev is the girl of his dreams and he would do anything, be anything to have it stay that way forever. This novel is not about Bev, but about Colby, and most importantly, about the growing disenchantment that comes from living your life solely for other people. Even the cover contributes its own spin on things, with a girl in rose-coloured sunglasses. Colby is afraid to make a mistake, to shatter the images of Bev and the future he wanted to have, but neither of those things are what he really needs.
Passion is a wonderful thing, and it colours life in ways you can't always foresee. But beyond passion, any future needs commitment and courage. Colby is not a perfect character, and I sympathized wholeheartedly with his confusion. I wanted him to find his true passion and to have the courage to stick with it no matter what. At the end of the day, however, it's Bev that I admired most. Her faith in their friendship and willingness to give Colby a wake-up call were wonderful traits, even if she didn't quite know how to admit them at first. I'll always be grateful to Nina Lacour for writing this story, if only because it reminded me that real passionate love for anything in life is possible.
That's Not All:
> Meg and Alexa are precious, and I'm glad to have friends in real life that remind me of them. > THE BOOK TRAILER. It was EXACTLY how I pictured Colby and Bev.
The Final Say: Nina Lacour picks out the broken notes of Colby and Bev's friendship and tells a bittersweet story that will haunt readers as much as their favourite songs do.(less)
Tell Me More: With one of the most captivating and symbolic covers in YA history, Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone sets the reader up for a story just as fragile and gritty. Despite my desire to love this novel, however, it just fell short of almost every expectation I had thought to create.
To settle any misgivings that might be forming even now in your minds, I will say that Kat Rosenfield's writing is superb. Wordsmiths like her are rare in my experience, and I savoured the literary gems that were laid out almost carelessly in the text. You get the sense that Rosenfield is a very particular writer. It's easy to imagine her painstakingly writing and rewriting phrases just to get the perfect cadence and melody, not to mention meaning. That meticulous attention gives life to a rather cliché small town, and more interestingly, illustrates a leashed violence in the character of Becca.
I seem to be alone in my thoughts regarding the characters--most people who've read this book were fascinated by them, and Amelia Anne was an enigma to be solved. Unfortunately, I figured out the plot by page 50. There wasn't anything surprising about Becca; in fact, I could almost predict exactly what she would say, when she'd say it. Amelia Anne was far more mesmerising, but even she fell to the wayside for...well, it's not exactly clear. My dissatisfaction with this story doesn't really lie with the plot, but with the characters' lack of decisive action. Becca vacillates between being "too cool for school" to speak her thoughts and being overwhelmingly frustrated with her life. I wanted to like her, but there were many scenes where I just wanted to shake her and say "You CAN change your life. Make good decisions!" And then I'd watch her sink back into safety, into the cocoon she can't seem to stop creating. It got to the point where I just wanted to give up on her, because it seemed like she was giving up on herself.
That frustration is part of why I wasn't happy with the storyline that Amelia Anne follows. A conversation with a friend led me to consider the discomfort I felt when applying feminism to my analysis of this story. Both Becca and Amelia Anne are tied to boys who are abusive--one emotionally, one physically/mentally--and it's clear by the halfway point that something will happen to change the status quo. For a book that is aimed at young women, Amelia Anne is stark and depressing, and there isn't much hope to feel even at the end of the story. In fact, the ending made me genuinely angry. (Highlight for spoilers) What, exactly, is the connection between the death of James' mother and his need to murder Amelia Anne? I wanted Becca to leave James because of her own realizations about their relationship and her life, not because he's going to jail. I didn't think James was a weak character--in fact, I predicted that he would have killed AA because he has control issues with Becca, but to blame it on his inability to move on after his mother's death? It's a weak premise, and one that I was highly disappointed in, considering I spent 300-something pages and a few hours of my time getting to this point. The relationships portrayed in this story bothered me a lot, not because of their existence, but because of how they were treated by the author as nothing more than plot twists. I expected more from such a raw and beautifully written story.
The Final Say: Readers looking for a stark literary novel will certainly find much to laud about Amelia Anne, but the story doesn't quite justify its ending, nor its characters. Maybe it doesn't feel it has to.
Some short thoughts: Allyson wasn't a heroine I could relate to, even after having gone through similar...moreBelieve me, I'm just as surprised as you are.
Some short thoughts: Allyson wasn't a heroine I could relate to, even after having gone through similar experiences, and I never really understood Willem's appeal. Plus, the "truth" behind his disappearance just wasn't good enough to justify the moping that Allyson does for half of the novel. And while I liked the prose, there were some lines that were so over-the-top that I couldn't suspend my disbelief.
Conclusion: When it takes me over a week to read a book by an author I love, I should probably take it as a sign that that particular story just isn't going to work for me. (less)