The first thing I thought while reading this novel was “I can’t read non-fantasy YA as an adult”. Well, the actual first thing I thought was “wasn’t t...moreThe first thing I thought while reading this novel was “I can’t read non-fantasy YA as an adult”. Well, the actual first thing I thought was “wasn’t that whole plot set-up done by R.L. Stine as a Goosebumps?”. The point regardless is that I did not enjoy this novel.
Our protagonist is seventeen year old Mia. Mia’s got a lot of things going on for her; specifically a lot of things that can only be found in the pages of a novel (or tv show) aimed at teenagers. She has a super-rad set of parents who are cool enough to not give a shit if she drinks or sexes, an adorable little brother with a big enough age gap that there’s zero sibling rivalry, a prodigal musical talent that is going to take her IMPORTANT PLACES, and most importantly, a hot older boyfriend who also happens to be in a band with a rapidly rising star. That is, Mia has all of these things until she’s in an awful car accident with her family one winter morning.
This book follows Mia’s journey navigating the “in between” space that separates life and death as she tries to make the decision to stay in the mortal world and face a depressingly different life or to move on into the unknown ether. We don’t know what waits for Mia if she decides to peace out on the mortal coil but we do get to relive the highlights of her life so far with her as she hangs around outside of her comatose body as well as see her loved ones’ pain as they confront the accident’s aftermath.
“If I Stay” was blatantly written to tug at heartstrings and my heart of stone remained unmoved. If I read this as the morbid teenager I once was on a rainy night I probably would have liked it. However, reading it as a 27 year old on a rainy night with a fussy baby curled up in bed next to me, I was decidedly unimpressed. There wasn’t much in the plot or writing that resonated with me, even though the blurb sounded like something I would enjoy. I found pretty much everything about Mia’s life to be so wholly unbelievable, I couldn’t let myself be swept up into the emotional storm I think the author was trying to create. I read this book as a selection for the Goodreads Chicks on Lit book of the month and although I didn’t vote for it, I was intrigued based on the synopsis and so many high ratings here on Good Reads. After finishing it, I am reluctant to venture into YA territory again anytime soon. (less)
Points for creativity- I love the new take on time travel. However, the author seems to rely a lot on tired clichés and stereotypes when describing ch...morePoints for creativity- I love the new take on time travel. However, the author seems to rely a lot on tired clichés and stereotypes when describing characters. I was a little relieved to finish it because it made me so damn melancholy while I was reading it.(less)
I adore Octavia Butler's writing style in Kindred and although the plot in this series isn't my cup of tea, her writing was compelling enough for me t...moreI adore Octavia Butler's writing style in Kindred and although the plot in this series isn't my cup of tea, her writing was compelling enough for me to finish this but I'm working slowly through Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2) (I bought the whole 3 book series in one volume or I probably wouldn't have continued with this series). I can't wait to read more of her work(Fledgling looks particularly promising) but I'm a little "meh" towards this series. (less)
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I'd thought about picking it up several times before but was deterred by its length and I'm happy I finally g...moreI was pleasantly surprised by this book. I'd thought about picking it up several times before but was deterred by its length and I'm happy I finally gave it a go. I am wholly impressed that this clever and wildly creative book was a first novel. The writing style took a while to get used to but when I did, I really appreciated the tone it gave to the book. This is just a damn good story-part dark fantasy and part tongue in cheek humor that balanced out well. Definitely worth the effort to slog through 1006 pages!(less)
This book was a bit of a disappointment to me. Time travel books are generally a favorite treat of mine and although this book is not technically abou...moreThis book was a bit of a disappointment to me. Time travel books are generally a favorite treat of mine and although this book is not technically about time travel, it is close enough to be included in that genre for book lists on Goodreads, where I first heard of it. I found the book’s reliance and description of hypnotism to be unrealistic bordering on cheesy. I also was bothered by the undertones of violence against women, as mentioned by at least one other reviewer. This book seemed to take forever to end and I thought about not finishing it several times but by then I was several hundred pages in and decided to slog through. I think the medieval Margaret of Hay (and the rest of the medieval cast of characters) is much better written and more interesting than the characters living in 1980s London. The contemporary characters read like caricatures of a 1980s soap opera cast and I found little to like or be intrigued by them. The segments of the book that take place in the twelfth century were much more interesting and enjoyable for me.
This book’s cheese factor increased with the page count and climaxed with what was to me, a completely unsatisfying conclusion. I am completely willing to suspend my disbelief for a book with a similar plot but this book was just too long for the story it told and too poorly written for me to like. (less)
Wow, what a book. Connie Willis managed to take the humor from "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and blend it perfectly with the gripping, page turning stor...moreWow, what a book. Connie Willis managed to take the humor from "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and blend it perfectly with the gripping, page turning story of "The Doomsday Book". I have vastly enjoyed her previous novel forays into time travel and "Blackout" may outdo them all.
Willis's exhaustive research allows her to paint a completely compelling portrait of life on the British home front, weaving together several parallel stories of late twenty first century time travelers who find themselves stuck in a dangerous era despite their careful calculations to avoid these dangers.
There wasn't a sentence I didn't love in this lengthy book-everything from the cover (which looks amazing when contrasted with the upcoming sequel "All Clear") to the last chapter (which I could see playing out on the movie screen) sucked me in completely. In some ways I wished I'd waited until the fall of 2010 to read it because of the cliffhanger ending but I am eagerly anticipating "All Clear". My only fear is that its leading up to a disappointing ultimate end (as some of her works have for me) and I really hope these two volumes aren't her last foray into the world of the Oxford time travel team historians.(less)