Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Here They Are: a pair of novels by Gayle Forman

I listened to both of these stories back-to-back for the last two weeks and was mesmerized. Realistic fiction is one of those genres I tend to read as a way to connect with my students. I am a high school librarian (seriously, one of the best jobs in the world) and part of my job is to read books and then share. My students want realistic fiction.  They want stories with a ring of truth behind them, something they can connect with.

I read recently that If I Stay will be made into a movie and that made me move the books up high on my list of 400 books that I want to read. This book had buzz when it first came out and the buzz will only get louder. I also noticed some of my students were checking it out more frequently so I dove in. 

If I Stay is taken from the perspective of Mia. She is a survivor in a car wreck that includes her whole family. She is outside of her body, seeing everything that is happening around her and deciding throughout the whole book if she should stay. You get glimpses of her life before the car crash and the characters feel so real. Her family life seems practically perfect which at first I was turned off by but in real life, don't we remember the good times? Isn't that what nostalgia all about? Not to brag but life with my husband and kids most of the time rings true to what Mia and her family experience day-to-day. 

I loved the premise, I loved the characters and the story was written well. 

4.5 stars

Where She Went takes place three years after If I Stay. It is from Adam, Mia's boyfriend's perspective. He is a rock star now (both characters are musical proteges which is a little unrealistic) and still dealing with loss. Adam's journey does not seem as powerful as Mia's and yet it is still moving and interesting. You see Adam grow, even though the whole story takes place during one day. 

With both stories you get an amazing inner dialogue of the characters and interesting stories of their life.
I recommend listening to it too. 

A great sequel!

4 stars

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