I wrote this many many months ago, right after I first finished Where She Went, and I’ve never posted it for a couple of reasons. First, I’d always planned to write a review for If I Stay, and I thought it made more sense to post that one first. And second, I thought this needed some editing because it has always felt less like a review and more like a ridiculously incoherent outpouring of feelings from an emotionally unstable person.
But I’ve decided that it’s silly to wait any longer (today is the one year anniversary of its release!), and I want to share how I truly feel about this FREAKING AMAZING story. It’s become one of my favorite books and every time I open it to reread part of it I just start having ALL THE FEELINGS.
So here, in all its unedited, emotionally unstable glory, is my review for Where She Went:
I’ll be honest, I very seriously considered not writing a review for Where She Went. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely fell in love with the book, it had nothing to do with that. In fact, it’s because I loved it so much that I almost didn’t review it. I know this may seem counterintuitive: if I liked it that much, why wouldn’t I want to tell everyone about it? But Where She Went was such an intense read for me, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do the book, and my feelings for it, any justice at all. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try.
But I decided I couldn’t not tell the world how much I love it, so here I am, trying to put my feelings into words and form coherent sentences from the jumble of emotions this book left me with.
I’ll be the first to admit that I get way too (“too” being a subjective term) emotionally invested in the lives of fictional characters, and Where She Went is a prime example. This book absolutely wrecked me. And I loved every agonizing second of it.
It was devastating to see what had become of Mia and Adam since If I Stay, and reading from Adam’s point of view absolutely broke my heart. Gayle Forman is such a beautiful, lyrical writer, and she has the ability to make you get completely sucked into the story and feel every little thing that the characters feel. The setting, too, was a living, breathing place, and their night in New York City came alive from the pages.
There are so many things I could talk about, but I don’t want to give anything away. Part of the wonderful torture of reading this book is really having no idea where it’s going to end and what’s going to become of your beloved characters. My heart ached for them the entire time and my insides were tied up in knots. The more I read, the higher the pile of tissues grew beside me.
It is extremely rare that I like a sequel better than the first book, but Where She Went has done it. As amazing as If I Stay was, Where She Went has captured my heart just a little bit more. It’s been a long time since I read a book that affected me on such an intense emotional level. I couldn’t even bring myself to start another book for several days after finishing Where She Went because I wasn’t ready to leave the story and just wanted to bask in it for as long as possible.
Filled with angst and hope and pain and beauty and longing, this book makes you hurt in the best way possible. Your heart will be shattered and put back together so many times you won’t know what to do with yourself. When a book can make you feel for the characters that much, you know the author is doing something right. Gayle Forman has forever secured a place on my favorite authors list, and I’m ready to buy anything she writes.
On a parting (and less dramatic) note, I really really wish Adam’s band, The Shooting Stars, was real. Every other chapter begins with song lyrics from one of their songs, and I would just love to be able to listen to them. One of my favorites:
I’ll be your mess, you be mine That was the deal that we had signed I bought a hazmat suit to clean up the waste Gas masks, gloves, to keep us safe But now I’m alone in an empty room Staring down immaculate doom “Messy”
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much read...moreReview will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The blurb mentions that the boys are in a band, but it’s actually a much bigger part of the story than I realized, and I LOVED that. I’m a huge live music fan, so it was really fun to see the inner workings of a band trying to write songs and figure out harmonies and get everything sounding just right. You definitely don’t need to be a music lover to enjoy it though; there are no technical terms or anything confusing to the music aspect of the novel. The story is very much focused on Char and her growth, and the band is a conduit for showing that.
And oh, Char. She gets tangled up with so many boys, I honestly don’t know how she handled it. Sometimes you just need a female friend, you know?
Although I did love this book, one of the small issues I had with it is that the romance actually seemed to take a backseat to the rest of the story, and it wasn’t as prominent as I expected (maybe I should have known better, given that the book is called Being FRIENDS with Boys). And the title is actually hugely appropriate. Char is dealing with friendships with several different guys, and a few of them have the possibility of turning into something more, but it feels like the book is mostly about Char dealing with a lot of drama rather than slowly falling in love.
The love story didn’t actually happen until the end of the book, and I really would have liked more development throughout the novel and a slightly less sudden ending. That said, I did have a huge smile on my face when I finished the book, so it’s not like I wasn’t happy or anything. I just would have liked more. (Put simply, basically what all this means is that I wanted more kissing! Haha.)
And apart from the lack of romance, I really did enjoy Char’s interactions with all the boys in her life. She has a unique and complicated relationship with each one, and it was so fun watching her navigate the waters of male-female friendships. I love stories that focus on those kinds of relationships, and though at times certain characters were incredibly frustrating and almost made me want to throw the book across the room, I found myself both groaning and laughing out loud as Char went through everything. There’s a lot of high school frustration and drama and angst, but once Char gets through all of that there’s a very sweet, smile-inducing ending.
If you’re looking for a fun contemporary story about a rocker girl and her many complications with the boys in her life, I’d definitely recommend checking out Being Friends with Boys.(less)
I’d like to offer my apologies in advance for the excessive use of capslock in this review. My enthusiasm ju...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I’d like to offer my apologies in advance for the excessive use of capslock in this review. My enthusiasm just COULD NOT be contained.
Okay, Hannah Harrington, WHERE have you been all my life? I am STUNNED that Saving June isn’t waaayyyyy more talked about. I am officially recommending it to every single person I know and insisting that they read it.
Saving June is so beautiful and heartfelt and raw and honest and I am just so so in love with it. Even though it’s a book about grief, it’s not as depressing or heavy as I was expecting. Harper has such a fresh, lively voice, and going through the grieving process with her feels so realistic and natural. I completely ADORED her. And her best friend Laney is such a hoot! As far as road trip companions go, these three are fantastic.
Okay, and the romance?? YES PLEASE. Talk about slow burn! Swooooon, my heart. This is my FAVORITE kind of romance, you guys. MY FAVORITE. It has everything I could ever possibly want. Snarky arguments and playful banter and the love-hate push-pull relationship that is just soooooo DELICIOUS to read about. Plus that oh-so-slow-building sexual tension that just builds and builds and builds until it EXPLODES on the page. Oh my god, it was so good.
And it’s all accompanied by the MOST AWESOME SOUNDTRACK EVER. (Yes, even the sexytimes. I have maybe been listening to ‘Touch Me’ by The Doors on repeat ever since I finished the book. MAYBE.) Music is such a huge part of my life and I absolutely LOVED how integrated it was into Saving June. As I started to get near the end of the book I began to regret not writing down every single song that had been mentioned, so imagine my utter delight when at the back of the book the lovely Hannah Harrington has provided us with the three main mixes mentioned in the story! THANK YOU, Hannah. Now all I need is to find a recording of ‘Saving June’ and I’ll be all set. :D
Saving June is sweet and sexy and funny and so lovely. YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS BOOK IF: you like contemporary novels, you like books that deal with grief in a non-overwhelmingly depressing way, you like road trip stories, you like books that have a strong focus on music. But seriously, I recommend this to EVERYONE. I can’t believe I didn’t read it earlier. Hannah Harrington, I’ve got my eye on you. <3(less)
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these cha...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these characters just completely caught me up in their lives. Colby especially. It is really really rare that I connect so much with a male narrator, but oh man, I fell for Colby. I just love him. I want to squeeze him. I think I’m going to name my car after him.
And Bev. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about Bev. I spent a lot of the book kind of hating her, because she totally betrayed Colby and she’s really withdrawn throughout most of the book. She did grow on me enough by the end so that I didn’t want to chuck the book at the wall every time she appeared on the page, but MAN, she frustrated me. I don’t think that she herself is a bitch, she just did a very bitchy thing that I honestly still don’t really understand and I’m definitely not ready to forgive her for. BUT, even though I am still outraged on Colby’s behalf, I do completely understand his feelings and reactions to her.
This was a rare kind of book where I wasn’t necessarily rooting for the romance (although heck yes I wanted them to work things out!), but I was totally rooting for Colby. And if you know me then you know that I am ALL about the romance. So this is amazing. Nina LaCour is amazing. The fact that she’s made me love and understand this boy so much? I’m in awe.
There’s so much more I could say about the amazing music, the road trip, the people that they meet along the way, Colby’s art and Bev’s sculptures… but I’ll let you discover all of that for yourself. Hopefully all my Colby-gushing is enough to intrigue you. :)
This book is painful and beautiful and raw and I LOVED it. It made my chest tighten and my heart hurt, it made me laugh and get teary-eyed and grin uncontrollably. Books like this are why I love contemporary. <3(less)
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college h...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college had a similar male-female ratio (Okay, maybe not quite the same, but it sure felt like it sometimes!), and it sounded like a fun story that I could totally relate to. Having read it, I can say that I wasn’t really blown away, but it was sweet, cute story that I enjoyed reading.
My favorite thing about it was definitely the humor; there were several moments that had me smiling and giggling out loud. I loved the chapter headings in particular, taken from the school’s online newspaper. Some of my favorites:
“Popularity of Plaid Shorts Plummets as Preppies Flee Julius” “Senior Girls Lobby to Take Over, Convert to Lounge Boys’ Bathroom in South Hallway” “Cougars Among Us: Julius Juniors and Their Freshman Boy Toys”
The characters felt like SUCH typical teenagers: the boys weren’t drop-dead gorgeous and mysterious, they were juvenile and dumb and often pretty gross. Which isn’t what you always want to read about, of course, but it totally fit with this story. The stakes weren’t end-of-the-world high, everything was pretty chill, and everyone was just generally concerned with normal high school stuff, mainly whatever gossip was new in the dating scene. And there is a sweet, heartwarming happy ending that will for sure put a smile on your face.
A whole year passes in the book, and we generally just get flashes of scenes and hear about other things that happened in between chapters. This was a little jarring at first, but once I got used to it I enjoyed it. It made the book feel like a lot like a year of high school – when you look back you don’t remember every single day, but you remember the year in terms of the important events, those bigger moments when things changed – and I feel like that was really captured well with The Boy Recession.
This isn’t necessarily the kind of book that you can’t put down, that you’re dying to read every chance you get, but it’s a nice, easy read, and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to just chill out and head back to high school for a couple of hours.(less)