This review applies to both If I Stay and Where She Went.
In short: If I Stay and Where She Went are beautifully poignant reads with many great character building moments thanks to Gayle Forman's expert handling of emotionally intense situations.
Due to the imminent movie adaptation release, If I Stay and its sequel Where She Went by Gayle Forman were bumped up my insanely long TBR list, though they have both been on my radar for many years now after receiving a ton of praise in the book blogging community. Now I'm sure you all know by now that contemporary isn't usually my thing, but I have been known to enjoy books in the genre from time to time and thankfully this was the case with this Gayle Forman duology.
Of course, "enjoy" may not be the right word choice for a book that ripped your guts out. Perhaps "appreciate" is more apt. If I Stay tells the story of Mia, whom, after a critical car accident with her family, ends up in a coma with a choice. Either she can stay in a world where she's lost nearly everything or she can go to the next great beyond. Where She Went then tells Mia's boyfriend Adam's side of the story in the aftermath of Mia's decision. Neither book deals with easy subject matters, but in both the emotional repercussions are dealt with remarkably well. The drama is genuine, not forced, and I absolutely appreciated Gayle Forman's expert handling of tough situations and questions.
There is not much in the way of plot in either If I Stay or Where She Went as the bulk of the story line in both novels takes place in the form of flashbacks. In this case, the plot is the sacrifice paid for the many excellent character building moments spread throughout. We barely see Mia's family before the accident and yet Gayle Forman is somehow able to forge not only a believable bond between family members, but also a connection between the family and the reader, making the read that much more poignant. I felt like I knew what made these characters tick and yet they weren't entirely predictable either. They were complex and real and absolutely my favourite thing about Gayle Forman's writing.
My second favourite thing about Gayle Forman's writing is her clear appreciation and understanding of music and the effect that it has on people. Music plays a huge part in the If I Stay duology as both the driving force behind Mia and Adam's connection and their division. It occurs to me that I don't get to read many books in which music is such a key component and I would like to do so more often because I really loved that. I think the music and poignancy and thoughtful questions behind If I Stay have the potential to make a truly beautiful movie, but the jury's still out on whether it will play out as I hope. I really hope the movie doesn't disappoint!...more
The audiobook of Anne of Green Gables was offered up for free last week on SYNC Audiobooks and I didn't think much of it as I downloaded it to my phonThe audiobook of Anne of Green Gables was offered up for free last week on SYNC Audiobooks and I didn't think much of it as I downloaded it to my phone to listen to as I get ready in the mornings. But then. OHMIGAWD IT WAS INSTA-LOVE (yes, it DOES exist in some instances!)!! Okay, first of all it must be said that I feel a bit ashamed at the fact that I, as a Canadian, had never read this classic Canadian novel. I have no excuses. And second, I want ever so much to be bosom friends with Anne Shirley!! Words cannot express how much I love that girl and her imagination and her earnestness. I can only hope that she would think me a kindred spirit in turn. This audiobook, as narrated by Colleen Winton, just filled me with so much JOY (and in the end... heartbreak) that it instantly became an all-time favourite of mine. I do wish Anne of Green Gables had been introduced to me in my childhood, but I am happy to have it in my life as an adult at any rate. Also: it has convinced me that I absolutely MUST see Prince Edward Island in my lifetime!!...more