Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Sunday Post (#6) + Stacking The Shelves (#1}

The Sunday Post
Hey guys. It’s The Sunday Post again. This weekly meme is created and hosted @Caffeinated Book Reviewer. The Sunday Post is where you can share your past and upcoming blogging weeks as well as anything else you want. 🙂 You can find more information here and link up.
I’ll be combining this post with Stacking The Shelves, a meme created and hosted @Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is to show off all the pretty books you’ve obtained! It’s also my first time participating since I haven’t obtained any books lately.
Wow! It’s the last day of August. This month has flown by. Only one more day until September, then It’s countdown time! For the Friends of The Library Annual Book Sale that happens on the 26th. There will be more about this when it’s closer to the date. 🙂 I’m so excited. I’ve never been before which is just weird even though I’ve lived in this city for five years off and on. 🙂 Two years on, two years off, one year on. You know.

Anyway, last week reading-wise I…
  • Finished Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  • Started To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before By Jenny Han
Last Week on YA Indulgences
I meant to review Where She Went, but I just finished that yesterday. I decided against posting “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” this week because I already had Musical Monday going on, plus I didn’t read Monday. A crime, I know.I think I’ll only post the Monday meme when I don’t have Musical Monday going on, so twice a month. Then on weeks when I’ll have Musical Monday, I’ll just add what I’m reading in The Sunday Post.
 
I didn’t manage to get around to posting Amber’s Rambles this past Thursday either unfortunately. There was some stuff going on so I wasn’t up for writing up my post, which I already had an idea about and posting.

 This Upcoming Week on YA Indulgences:
Sunday:
  • The Sunday Post (#7)
Monday
  • It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Meme
Tuesday:
  • Top Ten Tuesday Meme
  • Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  • Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Wednesday:
  • Waiting on Wednesday Meme
  • Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#4)
Thursday:
  • Amber’s Rambles discussion
Friday:
  • Featured Fairytale Friday
Saturday (for the Mental Illness and Suicide Awareness Theme Read):
  • Review: Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
 
There may also be reviews on Thursday for Every Day by David Levithan and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. It depends on how soon I finish To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I’m hoping to finish that today though. I may also decide to just review Perks of Being A Wallflower on Thursday and review either Every Day or An Abundance of Katherines instead of posting Saturday.

~Stacking The Shelves #1~
STS
Last week was pretty amazing. I
Received via Edelweiss:
  • E-ARC Damaged by Amy Reed Thank you Simon & Schuster!)
I was so happy to receive Damaged. Amy Reed is an author I’ve been really interested for a while, but never completed one of her books. From what I’ve read of Crazy, I really liked.
 
Purchased:
I finally have it! I’m so happy. I started reading it last night and I really like it. It’s pretty surprising I haven’t finished it already since I was up all night, for no particular reason. I didn’t read though, that’s the second time I made this mistake.

 

Free E-Books on Amazon I Purchased:
 
I’m going to add what I’ve got from the past month:
Received via Negalley:
I’m really excited to read Can’t Look Away, the premise sounds really interesting. I like the social media aspect and it’s affects.

Weekly Poem:

A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow! 
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream; 
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone? 
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep! 
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp? 
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave? 
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream? 

 
Edgar Allan Poe was mentioned in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, so I found it fitting to select one of his poems.

Weekly Reading Quote(s):
“I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.”  (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)
 
“A day might just be twenty-four hours but sometimes getting through one seems as impossible as scaling Everest.” (Where She Went)

That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a good week. 🙂
 
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Liebster Award Nomination (Questions + Answers)

So I found out Gloria @Gloriatheviolinist nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thanks Gloria!  🙂 That’s kind of awesome and completely unexpected. Basically this is a blog award the bloggers give new bloggers. After being nominated you can nominate others.
This is how it works:
1. Link and thank the person who nominated you
2. Answer the eleven questions they asked.
3. Nominate eleven bloggers that have less than 200 followers.
4. Ask them eleven questions and let them know you’ve nominated them.

My answers to Gloria’s questions:
1. If there was one book that you could turn into a movie, which one would it be ?
Now let’s see, would I have complete control over this movie? Haha. It would be made just like I want it, right? I’d hate for one of my favorite books to have a horrible movie adaption. This is a hard decision, I would pick The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith probably.
2. If you could meet one character from a book, who would it be ?
If I could meet one character from a book, I would meet Veronica Mars from The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars (#1). Ha, that’s kind of cheating because I haven’t read the book and it’s based off a TV show.
3. If you had to go live on an abandoned island, and you could take one author with you that would write books for you, who would you take ?
I would take Jennifer E. Smith! Or John Green.
4. If you could become one book character, who would it be ?
Oh gosh, I would become…Mia from If I Stay. She’s amazing at the cello which I’m so jealous of.
5. What is your favourite fictional world ?
I do not have one. I don’t read books that involve fictional worlds. Haha.
6. Where do you like reading the most ?
I like reading in my room.
7. What language(s) do you read in ?
English.
8. How many hours a week do you spend reading ?
Maybe seven or eight. Possibly more. 
9. Do your parents ever tell you that you read to much ?
No.
10. ebook, paperback or hardback ?
Paperback cost wise, hardback bookshelf wise.
11. What do you prefer to read on other blogs ? Reviews, challenges, tags,… ?
Review and features are my favorites. 🙂

Nominated Bloggers:

Lauren @bookmarklit 

Jancee @JanceeReads 

April @Bookishlyspeaking 

Fionnuala @Books For Birds Blog 

Anya @Confessions of a Teenage Book-Girl

Most of the bloggers I follow are already established and have more than 200 followers. So I kind of had issues coming up with eleven people. Haha. If anyone has any to recommend, feel free to comment them below. 🙂

My questions for the nominated bloggers are:
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. If you could only read one book, what would it be?
3. What is your most anticipated book release this year?
4. What is one book you’re looking forward to next year?
5. Do you set any yearly goals in your book reading?
6. How many books would you say you buy in a year?
7. Do you believe in book buying bans?
8. Would/Do you ever buy doubles of books?
9. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
10. How much time do you spend blogging and interacting with others in the blogosphere?
11. Where do you purchase the majority of your books?

Featured Fairytale Friday (#2) – The Loveliest Rose In The World

~Featured Fairytale Friday~

Welcome to Featured Fairytale Friday! This is a weekly feature at YA Indulgences which allows me to share fairytales with you all. Every Friday, I will share a fairytale, my thoughts, and list any book adaptions I’m interested in, as well as anything else. 🙂 

The fairytale I chose this week is The Loveliest Rose In The World by Hans Christian Andersen. 


~The Loveliest Rose In The World~

HERE lived once a great queen, in whose garden were found at all seasons the most splendid flowers, and from every land in the world. She specially loved roses, and therefore she possessed the most beautiful varieties of this flower, from the wild hedge-rose, with its apple-scented leaves, to the splendid Provence rose. They grew near the shelter of the walls, wound themselves round columns and window-frames, crept along passages and over the ceilings of the halls. They were of every fragrance and color.

But care and sorrow dwelt within these halls; the queen lay upon a sick bed, and the doctors declared that she must die. “There is still one thing that could save her,” said one of the wisest among them. “Bring her the loveliest rose in the world; one which exhibits the purest and brightest love, and if it is brought to her before her eyes close, she will not die.”

Then from all parts came those who brought roses that bloomed in every garden, but they were not the right sort. The flower must be one from the garden of love; but which of the roses there showed forth the highest and purest love? The poets sang of this rose, the loveliest in the world, and each named one which he considered worthy of that title; and intelligence of what was required was sent far and wide to every heart that beat with love; to every class, age, and condition.

“No one has yet named the flower,” said the wise man. “No one has pointed out the spot where it blooms in all its splendor. It is not a rose from the coffin of Romeo and Juliet, or from the grave of Walburg, though these roses will live in everlasting song. It is not one of the roses which sprouted forth from the blood-stained fame of Winkelreid. The blood which flows from the breast of a hero who dies for his country is sacred, and his memory is sweet, and no rose can be redder than the blood which flows from his veins. Neither is it the magic flower of Science, to obtain which wondrous flower a man devotes many an hour of his fresh young life in sleepless nights, in a lonely chamber.”

“I know where it blooms,” said a happy mother, who came with her lovely child to the bedside of the queen. “I know where the loveliest rose in the world is. It is seen on the blooming cheeks of my sweet child, when it expresses the pure and holy love of infancy; when refreshed by sleep it opens its eyes, and smiles upon me with childlike affection.”

“This is a lovely rose,” said the wise man; “but there is one still more lovely.”

“Yes, one far more lovely,” said one of the women. “I have seen it, and a loftier and purer rose does not bloom. But it was white, like the leaves of a blush-rose. I saw it on the cheeks of the queen. She had taken off her golden crown, and through the long, dreary night, she carried her sick child in her arms. She wept over it, kissed it, and prayed for it as only a mother can pray in that hour of her anguish.”

“Holy and wonderful in its might is the white rose of grief, but it is not the one we seek.”

“No; the loveliest rose in the world I saw at the Lord’s table,” said the good old bishop. “I saw it shine as if an angel’s face had appeared. A young maiden knelt at the altar, and renewed the vows made at her baptism; and there were white roses and red roses on the blushing cheeks of that young girl. She looked up to heaven with all the purity and love of her young spirit, in all the expression of the highest and purest love.”

“May she be blessed!” said the wise man: “but no one has yet named the loveliest rose in the world.”

Then there came into the room a child—the queen’s little son. Tears stood in his eyes, and glistened on his cheeks; he carried a great book and the binding was of velvet, with silver clasps. “Mother,” cried the little boy; “only hear what I have read.” And the child seated himself by the bedside, and read from the book of Him who suffered death on the cross to save all men, even who are yet unborn. He read, “Greater love hath no man than this,” and as he read a roseate hue spread over the cheeks of the queen, and her eyes became so enlightened and clear, that she saw from the leaves of the book a lovely rose spring forth, a type of Him who shed His blood on the cross.

“I see it,” she said. “He who beholds this, the loveliest rose on earth, shall never die.”


~My Thoughts~

Something I really like in fairy tales are the mention of flowers. I felt this would be a great choice for this week’s selection.

I love this fairy tale because it involves a queen, a garden and a bit of magic. I love the descriptions of the flowers and their wrapping around the castle. The queen’s garden sounds like a complete dream with all of the flowers. The Loveliest Rose In The World makes me think of the Disney movie Tangled because of the queen being sick and a flower being able to save her.

I like how the wise man explained what the rose was not from Romeo and Juliet’s coffin or the grave of Walburg. I also like that the rose took on a meaning of blushing or a person. It was interesting to see what each person thought was the loveliest rose in the world. The rose ended up being a metaphor of sorts. I loved that the rose that saved the Queen ended up being Jesus being crucified to save humans. I love that the Queen’s son is the one to be reveal the loveliest rose on earth.


Review: Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

LolaTitle: Lola and The Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 29th, 2011 (Dutton Books)
Pages: 338
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: Two stars
Goodreads Summary: 
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Cover Thoughts: Like Anna and The French Kiss, this cover is similar with the focus on different shades of colors and setting in the background. I love how this is different shades of orange and the Golden Gate bridge in the background.
First Line: I have three simple wishes.

 
~Review~
Contains some spoilers
First Thoughts
Lola and The Boy Next Door is the companion novel to Anna and The French Kiss. In a nutshell, Lola and The Boy Next Door is the reversal of Anna. In this Perkins novel, the main character, Lola, has a significant other and a guy who likes her. In Anna and The French Kiss, the main character liked the guy with the significant other. I was in love with Anna and excited to read Lola right away. Unfortunately, Lola and The Boy Next Door was very hard for me to get into. It was different from Anna and The French Kiss which I was easily interested in. 
I wasn’t interested in the initial plot of Lola’s three wishes. The first being for her and her boyfriend, Max to go to the Winter Formal together as she dressed as Marie Antoinette, the second for her parents to approve of Max and the third for her to never ever see the Bell twins again. As the song goes, you can’t always get what you want. Right away I knew where this story was going.
Characters:  
Similar to Anna and The French Kiss, Lola has a small ensemble of central characters. A nice change in Lola is that there is bit of background information of each of the characters. I enjoyed reading about the different aspects of each character. 
There is Lola, your not so typical seventeen year old who enjoys dressing up in eccentric ways and talks to the moon. Lola’s outfits seemed to be a bit less fashion like and more like costumes. There are a couple instances when she and others actually point this out. For someone who is so into dressing up, I would have guessed Lola was into fashion. I think that would have been a nice addition to the story.  
Lola has a best friend named Lindsey. Lindsey enjoys solving mysteries. During one part of Lola and The Boy Next Door, Lola blows Lindsey off to hang out with Max after he insulted her. I didn’t like this part of Lola at all. Especially with what Lola said about her. I wish Lindsey would have gotten more page time with Lola. I know they were friends, but Lindsey only seemed to be in the Lola and The Boy Next Door when it was convenient for the plot.
Lola is oblivious to her and Cricket’s own feelings for much of the story. It takes her two hundred pages to finally realize her true feelings. She seemed to dramatize a lot of things that weren’t such a big deal like when Cricket helped her get home from the movie theater after her glasses broke. I did like that Lola was a unique character, albeit a bit young at times. She annoyed me quite a bit throughout the story, whether it was her behavior with Max, her behavior with Cricket or the way she acted towards her birth mother Norah. Lola lied a lot in this novel, to Max, to her parents, to Cricket, to her friends. I didn’t like that at all.
Speaking of Norah, she is Nathan’s sister who got pregnant with Lola when she was a teen. Norah gave Lola to Nathan and Andy. I thought Norah was an interesting character who did have her bad moments. She was homeless a few times, drank quite a bit and did fortunetelling. She ends up moving in with Lola and her parents for a few months. During this time, Lola wasn’t very nice to her, which was understandable at times, but occasionally she went too far. I would have liked to see more of Norah’s relationship with Lola after Norah moved out. Something I did like about Lola and The Boy Next Door is how Lola and Norah’s relationship gets better. I feel Lola’s feelings at times were understandable since she was adopted and her mother wasn’t exactly a saint.
Lola has two gay dads named Nathan and Andy. I really enjoyed Nathan and Andy, I liked a lot of their scenes together. I was bothered by how they pushed Lola and Cricket to hang together on one instance. Throughout Lola and The Boy Next Door, Nathan and Andy make it known that they don’t like Max. This makes sense because he is 22, quite a bit older than Lola, but I wish they would have tried to get along with Max more.
Halfway through Lola and The Boy Next Door, an event happens involving Cricket and Lola, and they hit the roof. All I have to say is this, you can’t win with Max, you can’t win with Cricket. Nathan and Andy are both very over protective of Lola, requiring weekly brunches with her and Max as well as hourly phone check ups when the two are out by themselves. This of course turns off Max who is a 22 singer/songwriter in a band. 
Regarding Max, I thought he was a well written character who cared about Lola. I initially liked him in the beginning of the story. Lola and Max seemed like a nice couple although maybe not a perfect fit with their personalities. Lola lied a lot to Max about Cricket, especially that they hung out together. I feel like if Lola was hanging out with Cricket as just friends, there would be no reason to lie to Max. However, because she subconsciously knew there was still something there, she lied. I can understand both Lola and Max’s feelings about the trust issues that were mentioned. Lola had a point when she was thinking about how Max should trust her. She later justified lying by saying Max didn’t trust her, when she proves she shouldn’t be trusted. Max had a nickname for Lola being “Lolita” because of the age difference, at one point Lola asks if the only reason he dates her is because she’s young. I understand her being upset about the nickname, but to actually ask if he’s dating her because she’s young seemed farfetched to me.
Now we come to Cricket, the boy next door. Cricket is an inventor of sorts, always building different contraptions. He suffers from low self esteem due to his figure skating prodigy twin sister, Calliope. Of course after moving back, Cricket still has the same feelings for Lola he always had. Cricket seemed too good to be true at times. He helped Lola even when it hurt him to be around her knowing she’s with Max. He was very attractive which he wasn’t sure of. Cricket was very nice and respectful to Lola’s parents. The only flaws he seemed to have were his low self esteem. He puts aside his own wishes so his sister would succeed in the figure skating world. He got along with Lola’s best friend unlike Max. I thought Cricket was stuck too far in the past. He was pining for Lola throughout much of the story. I found it to be insensitive to be friends with Lola while knowing he had feelings for her. I was incredibly bothered by the fact that Lola and Cricket were both convinced they were friends when clearly there was something more going on there. I hated the way that Lola strung him along while knowing he had feelings for her.
Calliope isn’t seen too much in the story. I did like her character a bit although she was mean at times. I loved the fact that she was a serious figure skater. One of my favorite scenes occurs when Lola’s family watches her on TV skating. I like that Calliope and Lola eventually start to get along with each other again.
One of the highlights was seeing Anna and St. Clare return in Lola and The Boy Next Door. Anna and St. Clare both attend college in California. St. Clare is in a dorms like Cricket so they are already semi acquainted in the book. It was nice seeing Anna and St. Clare as an official couple. This helped me to like them a bit more from the previous novel, Anna and The French Kiss. I did think Anna and St. Clare were a bit too perfect in their relationship. They had their future mapped out, told each other everything and were together regularly. I enjoyed seeing St. Clare give Lola advice on what to do about Cricket and her own feelings.
 
Plot
Lola and the Boy Next Door is basically the gender bender version of Anna and The French Kiss. Rather than having the main character be pursued by someone’s significant other, Lola is the pursuer while being in a relationship. One thing that I absolutely do not like in fiction is the dread love triangle. Except a problem I had with Lola and The Boy Next Door is that it didn’t even seem like a love triangle, because Cricket was made out to be the right choice all along for Lola.
As previously said, I lost a lot of interest when Cricket came into the story. Cricket is the boy next door who moved away from Lola a few years prior. Now Lola’s biggest problem wasn’t trying to get her parents to approve of Max, she also had to battle past feelings between her and Cricket. I knew right where this story was going and if readers have read Lola’s companion novel, they already know this inevitably has the Happily Ever After. They just have to get through off the drama in-between the beginning and the end. 
As the book went on though, I felt like Max was written to be more of a jerk to Lola and her best friend, Lindsey. This seemed like a convenient way for readers to give Lola a pass on her borderline cheating behavior with Cricket.  I was very annoyed with Lola going back and forth between Cricket and Max. Right away we see Lola reacting to Cricket’s return in a not so thrilled way. We later find out when Cricket moved away, something happen between them. Lola was then upset and hurt about Cricket. I found the reason to not be such a huge deal at all, but rather a misunderstanding. As if it’s not bad enough that Lola and Cricket hung out without Max’s knowledge, they would have nightly conversations on the weekend over their bedroom windows. I just felt Lola should have broken up with Max weeks after Cricket’s return because there was obviously something missing in their relationship. I can understand why Lola didn’t break up with Max though because she wanted their relationship to work.
I wish that there would have been more focus on other aspects in Lola’s life than her relationship drama. I realize this is a Young Adult Romance novel, but it would have been nice to see Lola be okay with not seeing Max or Cricket so often. It would have been realistic since not all couples are together all the time.  It would have been nice to explore Lola and Lindsey’s friendship.
At the end of Lola and The Boy Next Door, I had warmed up to Lola and Cricket. I found several of their scenes to be really sweet. They really did seem good together. I was more open to the prospect of Lola and Cricket getting together.
Overall
Maybe I went into Lola and The Boy Next Door with my expectations too high. Maybe I was expecting an Anna and The French Kiss second coming. Maybe I’m just over relationship drama in novels.
Lola and The Boy Next Door was very difficult for me to finish. It took several days for me to even read more than a few pages without getting annoyed with Lola and Cricket. I didn’t care about Lola, I wasn’t crazy about her costumes, I didn’t like her lying or her being so oblivious. I hated her disregard for Max’s feelings when she would hang out with Cricket. I was over Lola’s deciding what to do regarding Cricket and Max fast.
Cricket seemed too perfect, too selfless, and too nice. Max was originally a nice character who later changed it seem, only so Lola would break up with him without anyone feeling bad for him. Calliope was the typical over protective sister who didn’t want her brother getting hurt.
While I may not have been crazy about Lola’s outfits, I did love reading about them. Cricket was a sweet character. I thought Lola talking to the moon was cool since I love the moon.
Stephanie Perkins words flow effortlessly. This is well written, I enjoyed the descriptions of everything. On the down side, we don’t see as much of the San Francisco setting whereas in Anna and The French Kiss, Paris felt like it’s own character in a way. I related more to Anna than I did to Lola which kind of ruined the experience for me.
I do think some readers of Young Adult Contemporary Romance would like this story as it is a very light read. I thought there were too many flaws from the characters to the plot that I can only rate it two stars.
 

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#3)

Hey guys. It’s time for Wondrous Covers Wednesday where I showcase three covers I love very much. You can see all the past WWC posts here.

 

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
LostI like how unique this cover is. I thought it was really creative using a map as the cover. The text really stands out with the cover, I love the alternating colors of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
AmyI’ve been in love with this cover since I saw it. It seems like such a romance and it really gives me a road trip vibe, which I love. It seems like it will be a really sweet and exciting story. I love how bright the colors are.  I love the font as well although the middle of it is a little hard to read. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
Even in ParadiseSimilar to Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, I like how this cover is semi-bright. The characters look like they’re having fun so I’m interested in seeing how this goes. I really like the font and title because it seems to indicate “even in paradise” there will be trouble. That’s just a guess though. 🙂
 
I love how summery all three of these covers are. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Even In Paradise seem like they would make great movie posters to me. I would love to frame all three of these covers.
 

 


Waiting On Wednesday #5 (8/27/14)

Waiting On Wednesday
Hey guys. It’s Waiting On Wednesday, a meme created and hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine. For this meme, bloggers post about upcoming releases they’re excited for. You can link up here.

 

I have one selection for this week:Sun
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository 
Goodreads Summary:
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.  
This radiant, fully alive, sometimes very funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
Why I Can’t Wait:
I can’t wait to read this book because a big theme is family, which I love to see in Young Adult novels. I’m interested in knowing what the whole story is and why each of them only knew half. I’m excited to see the relationships between Noah and the boy next door as well as Jude and the boy she meets. I like how the story will be told from two different perspectives at two different times in the twins’ lives.
 

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

IfIStay_zpsf82a8001Title:  If I Stay (#1)

Author:  Gayle Forman

Published: April 2nd, 2009 (Dutton Juvenile)

Pages: 234

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Tragedy

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Rating: Four Stars

Goodreads Summary:

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / The Book Depository

Cover Thoughts: I like the girl on the cover and the dark background. It sort of sets up the mood that If I Stay has.

First Line: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.


~Review~

First Thoughts:

If I Stay begins with Mia’s family sitting in the kitchen. They discover that school is cancelled for Mia and her younger brother Teddy due to the snow. Mia’s family decide to go on a family outing. While driving, Mia’s family gets into a car accident leaving everyone except Mia dead. As the only survivor, Mia is left in a comatose state. She then has to make the heart wrenching decision whether to stay without her family whether to stay or let go. 

Plot:

Heart wrenching is the only way I can describe If I Stay. From the haunting beginning sentence, I could tell this was going to be a hard read. It’s tragic enough that Mia’s family has died in an accident, now she has to decide on her own whether to stay or go. On one hand, her immediate family is dead and on the other hand, she has her boyfriend Adam, her best friend Kim, and all her distant family waiting for her to come back. If I Stay is a story that had me twisted in agony over her decision.

If I Stay is a very character driven novel involving Mia’s decision. If I Stay is told in a series of flashbacks and real time. While in a comatose state, Mia is still able to see her own body in the hospital as well as travel through the hospital. Mia thinks back to her family, friends, boyfriend and her future to figure out what to do. I think Forman did a very good job at showing readers it could go either way for Mia and that it is a very difficult choice to make.

Characters:

Mia is seventeen years old and plays the cello. I really enjoyed Mia’s character. She was very realistic and relatable. I believed every word she spoke. Mia was an insecure character who sometimes didn’t feel like she belonged in her family because they were more rock while she was classical. She also didn’t really look like her parents at all. I felt her insecurities were well written without her being whiny. Mia was also a little insecure about playing her cello at times. I liked Mia playing an instrument such as the cello and being interested in going to Julliard. Although Mia was very good at playing the cello, she wasn’t stuck up or a snob about it, which was nice.

One of the highlights is the relationships that Forman created in If I Stay. Right away readers can tell what kind of family this is. They like to joke around with each other and enjoy each other’s company. It was nice to see this family aspect in If I Stay as a lot of Young Adult novels gloss over the family aspect by talking about them rather than actually showing their families.  Mia’s family is very close-knit and she likes to be around them. This was something I liked particularly reading about because generally teenagers in fiction don’t want to be around their family.

Mia’s parents were very fun to read about in flashbacks. Mia’s mom and dad were both rebellious rockers before they had Mia. Mia’s dad didn’t learn how to drive until Teddy was born. I like the way Mia’s parents interacted with her and Teddy. A lot of the times throughout If I Stay, they give Mia advice and it was just really nice to see such a close relationship there. In the beginning her parents weren’t sure about her Cello playing but that changes once they see how serious she is. One of my favorite lines in If I Stay is when Mia is talking about Mia’s dad and mom getting married and how her dad said “Girlfriend” is such a stupid word, I couldn’t stand calling her that. So, we had to get married so I could call her “wife”. It was nice that Mia’s parents both got background information and how it was used. Mia’s mom had a dysfunctional family whereas her dad had a relatively normal close family which Mia’s mom liked.

It was cute seeing Mia’s relationship with Teddy. She says half the time he felt like her brother and the other half it was like he was her own kid.

I liked seeing Mia’s distant family come to visit her in the hospital too. At one point in If I Stay, Mia’s grandparents went to see her and a nurse came up and said whether Mia stays or goes, it’s her choice. I liked the addition of this story that patients are given the choice to stay or die. This makes Mia wonder if everyone gets the choice like hr. 

Mia has a boyfriend named Adam who is in a rock band. I like Adam’s character a lot. He was a bit swoon worthy, patient with Mia. Adam singer/songwriter. I enjoyed that Mia and Adam both had their separate lives from each other. Mia played the Cello while Adam was in a band. They were also in a semi-long distance relationship and not attached to each other every day. After Mia is in the hospital, Adam does some pretty crazy things to try to get in to see her. I found it all very sweet.

Mia’s best friend is Kim. In the beginning Mia and Kim weren’t exactly best friends when they met each other in middle school. They were assumed to be because both were quite and studious. In If I Stay, Mia tries to get Kim and Adam to be friends with each other but they just don’t click. I thought it was nice how Mia wanted them to be friends but understood they didn’t need to be despite her wanting them to. I loved seeing Mia and Kim’s friendship because they seem really close and are there for each other.

I loved seeing Mia and Adam’s relationship expand from friends to a couple. Seeing their first date was very sweet. I liked that Mia and Adam weren’t a perfect couple. They were fights and decisions that had to be made. They both acknowledged in their minds that when Mia graduated, things would change. Mia and Adam both had different plans for themselves that they tried to get the other to agree to. I like how Forman didn’t create a cookie-cutter perfect couple relationship and gave the characters realistic problems.

Overall:

I loved every bit of this story. I felt very torn over what I wanted Mia’s decision to be because there were reasons for her to stay or go and either would have been painful. If I Stay was so real, heartbreaking and emotional. One moment you’re laughing, the other you’re crying, at times it’s almost even possible to forget about the accident. Forman did a fantastic job with all of the characters. If I Stay is a painful, honest inspiring read. This book left me crying for Mia and her loss. I think it will make readers examine their own lives, their relationships with others and what they would do if they had to choose to stay or go. If I Stay will have readers crying, laughing and hanging on every word of Mia’s journey to see if she stays. I would have liked to see more of Mia and Adam’s flaws, but other than that, this book is fantastic. I rate If I Stay four stars.


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