Sunday, June 15, 2014

If I Stay and Where She Went | Gayle Forman

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Non-Spoiler Review

If I Stay is a riveting novel about a girl, Mia Hall, who seems to be perfect. She has fantastic musical talent, a great family, and a loving boyfriend who admires her. But her life completely changes when she gets into a severe car accident and her entire family is instantly killed. As Mia experiences this out of body sensation, she must make a decision, whether to stay, or to go with the rest of her family. Where She Went is continuation from the end of the first book and is told in Adam's, Mia's boyfriend's, perspective. Personally, I enjoyed the first book much more than the second mainly because it was more heartfelt and emotional as opposed to Adam's constant anger within the second book. Although I wish there wasn't a change in perspective from the first book to the second. Once both books were over, I found myself wondering Mia's thoughts after the accident. But I also wanted to see Alex's perspective during the accident. Wanting more of each character's perspective just shows that it was a great book, leaving me wanting more. If this sounds interesting, I really do recommend it! 

Spoiler-Filled Review

Before I delve into the plot of these books, I first want to commend the writing of this book. Usually going back and forth between different time periods seems choppy and confusing, but Gayle Forman does such a great job of transitioning from the hospital to a memory and back. It really felt like I was in Mia's mind and I could follow exactly what was happening and where the connections were being made. 

There's not much to say about the plot except that I loved it. It was an interesting concept that I hadn't about before and I just loved all of the emotion. While it wasn't The Fault in Our Stars sad, I still cared about the characters and felt just as much indecision as Mia did, although I wasn't able to connect with the characters on a personal basis simply because I'm not a music aficionado. I honestly think that if I were in her situation, I would've left. It would have just been so much easier. 

I also wasn't too attached to Adam and Mia as a couple. Sure they were incredibly cute, but I felt as though there was much more emphasis on family during the first book. And I adored Mia's family. Her parents were so cool and awesome, as was little Teddy and their interactions with Adam. They were so understanding of everything and so cool. 

I have to admit I didn't quite understand Adam's promise. Like why leave just him? It would make sense to erase your past life completely, but of course she wouldn't break off ties with her grandparents or best friend, so why just Adam? 

Moving onto Where She Went, which picks up right where If I Stay leaves off. Mia takes up Adam on his promise and goes to New York City to Juillard cutting off all contact with Adam. Adam doesn't know he heard her, and becomes depressed and angry at her. Basically the entire book is Adam's point of view as he meets Mia again after three years and rekindles his relationship with her. 

I'll admit I didn't like the second book as much. For some reason I prefer stories told by females than by males (major exception being the Percy Jackson Series). Maybe it's because I'm a girl and can relate much more to the female point of view, but all the male books I read are either a) too angry or b) too sexual, which really detracts from the story. Don't get me wrong, I liked that Adam had a lot of emotion, but sometimes it got to be too much and he just started sounding whiny. 

But I do feel for him. What Mia did was probably the most brutal thing ever. Rather than simply ripping off the bandage she dragged it on and on, and just leaving him without closure, which I think is the worst thing. Not knowing what happened, or what you did wrong for three years seems horrible. 

The primary reason I read this book was because I had seen the trailer for the movie (while I went to go see The Fault in Our Stars) and the trailer made me tear up. So I figured I should read the book and rewatch the trailer. And I did. And I am so completely excited for this movie. There are scenes exactly from the book in the trailer and I am just so excited. I cannot stop watching the trailer. Speaking of that...I think I'm going to go watch it again! 

Let me know what you guys think? Do you think the book to movie adaptation will be good? I think it's going to be really good and I'm so excited!