Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Review)

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

From the jacket flap:
(Taken from Gayle Forman's website)
My first impulse is not to grab her or kiss her or yell at her. I simply want to touch her cheek, still flushed from the night’s performance. I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet—not miles, not continents, not years—and to take a callused finger to her face. I want to touch her to make sure it’s really her, not one of those dreams I had so often after she left when I’d see her so clear as day, be ready to kiss her or take her to me only to wake up with Mia just beyond reach.

But I can’t touch her. This is a privilege that’s been revoked.

It’s been three years since Adam’s love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it . . . and three years

since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star

status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts

to the future—and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, powerful prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the

flame of rekindled romance.

FUN FACT: From the minute I found out there was to be a sequel to If I Stay, I was haunted by dreams of it. Well, no, I’m not serious. But it was #1 on my books that I’d do anything to get my hands on. Humiliate myself, do things that could get me into trouble with anyone, or whatever, I was down for it. As long as in the end, the reward was a copy of Where She Went.

To find the words to talk about Where She Went coherently – without the use of words like, ‘OMG’ and incessant gushing – would be like digging through my Broca’s area (the part of the brain that processes speech and language) and trying to find the words that could do justice to this brilliant sequel to If I Stay. Many have argued that If I Stay ended in a good place and there was really no need for a sequel and to those people, I only have one thing to say: What about Adam’s side of the story? Yes, we all loved Mia and cheered for her while she stumbled over each obstacle set in her path, but did we once stop to think about what Adam was going through? About how what Mia was going through was killing him inside out? I guess you can allude that to Ms. Forman’s skill as a writer that made us completely disregard Adam’s plight. Nonetheless, it was there. It was there through all of If I Stay and you can see it leap off of every single page of Where She Went. When you suffer a tragedy, one often asks the question: Why? One looks for an explanation that can make some sense of what happened, but rarely is there a black and white answer to be found. Well, Mia is Adam’s tragedy. And Where SheWent does a fantastic job of bringing to light the effect of and the aftermath of the accident on Adam.

As always Ms. Forman’s hauntingly beautiful prose captures the reader’s heart and soul and makes it a visceral experience. I could wax poetic about the plot or summarize the book or the events that take place but instead I’m just going to tell you some of my favorite things about the book that hopefully you may relate to as well.

  • It’s set in New York City. (Mia @ Juilliard. Adam, for music label business). You can’t go wrong with that setting. Ever. Ms. Forman, in one night, manages to create a vivid panoramic view of the city that never sleeps. Literally.
  • Ms. Forman makes Mia & Adam yell out in fury, and anger, and agony, and makes them cry in the middle of the night (or really early morning) on the Brooklyn Bridge. (Who does that?)
  • This time, both Adam and Mia are on an equal footing. They’re both popular in their own right. Sure, Adam maybe more popular because of his rock band but Mia is well known in the classical circle as well. (She plays at Carnegie Hall at the age of 20—major accomplishment).
  • When Adam goes to see Mia’s concert in casual clothing (and all the other people are dressed up – coz you dress up when you go to a classical concert or Broadway show) and he feels like a fly on the wall, I love his accounting of the concert and how at the end that one bit he says, gets to me. Every. Single. Time. “Tonight I won’t kiss her. Or touch her. Or even see her up close. Tonight I’ll listen. And that’ll be enough”.
  • Ms. Forman really gets inside Adam’s head and one can’t help but see that Mia may have been physically hurt, but it was Adam who suffered the worst kind of mental trauma.
  • (SPOILER) The scene where they have a mini concert all by themselves in Mia’s apartment. I could just imagine it in my head. (That is one scene I want to see brought to life, by the way).
  • Every chapter has lyrics from songs in the album “Collateral Damage” by Shooting Star (Adam’s band). Both fictitious. By the time the book ends, you want them to be real. You want to find a record label that will sign them and produce those songs. Well, I wanted that to happen.
  • It’s Adam.
  • It’s Mia.
  • It’s Gayle Forman.
  • I don’t think there’s anything left to say. WHAT MORE REASONS COULD YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK?

Where She Went is an accumulation of heartbreak, anxiety, first loves, broken loves, and a story of second chances, deserved or undeserved- that is dependent on the reader. Yes, some of you won’t like the choices Adam and Mia make to get to where they do at the end of the book (don’t want to spoil it) but I think once you’ve read it and had time to process it, it should make perfect sense.

(Care to guess where this is?)

Times I’ve read Where She Went: 4 times (hardcopy). 3 times (Audiobook). Waiting for NookBook to show up on April 5th @midnight.

I should also mention that when friends tell me they haven’t read If I Stay, I kind of go all, ahem, nutso (okay not really) on them and MAKE them read it. It is my life’s mission to have every single person I know read that book. I *need* them to, or I won’t be able to sleep in peace. I’ve been told I can be quite intimidating when it comes to If I Stay and now Where She Went. Honestly though, (I swear!) I am not trying to be scary or rude or whatever, I just want people to read a great book and enjoy it for their own sake. They just don’t know what they’re missing out on.

What I Was Listening To While Writing This Review:

Where She Went audiobook read by Dan Bittner (Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended. He’s the Adam in your head). I know what you’re thinking right this second: “Obsessed much, Mitali?”

Yes, I completely am. I am in love with this book and the author. Every time someone asks me who my favorite author is, I give a vague response or just say J. K. Rowling, coz you can never go wrong with that. However, now, I have taken to responding to that question with: Gayle Forman.

Find Gayle Forman on: Twitter/Website/Blog

Available wherever books are sold April 5th!

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Who is Mara Dyer?

I honestly cannot wait for this book!

Monday, March 28, 2011

50 Books I'm Ready To Die For - 2011 Edition (Part 1)

In no (kind of) particular order:

(Note: Most books listed are releasing after April 1st. Pre-April 1st are marked with an *)

(There's a pretty cool slideshow at the end. It took me 2 hours to make. Please take a gander?)

  1. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

  2. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

  3. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

  4. So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

  5. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan photographs by Jonathan Farmer

  6. Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

  7. Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

  8. Divergent by Veronica Roth

  9. Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

  10. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

  11. How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr

  12. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

  13. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

  14. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

  15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

  16. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

  17. Wither by Lauren DeStefano*

  18. Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers

  19. The Lucky Kind by Alyssa Sheinmel

  20. Delirium by Lauren Oliver*

  21. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

  22. Circle Nine by Anne Heltzel

  23. My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

  24. Frost by Marianna Baer

  25. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

  26. And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky

  27. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

  28. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

  29. Shutout by Kody Keplinger

  30. Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt*

  31. Hourglass by Myra McEntire

  32. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

  33. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

  34. But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

  35. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

  36. Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

  37. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

  38. A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

  39. How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain

  40. Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

  41. The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

  42. Tirs & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

  43. Pearl by Jo Knowles

  44. Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

  45. Brother/Sister by Sean Olin

  46. Displacement by Thalia Chaltas

  47. I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin

  48. Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

  49. Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

  50. He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott
Okay fine, ONE MORE.

51.Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

ADD TO EDIT: #47- MY BEATING TEENAGE HEART by C. K. Kelly Martin (Thank you for pointing that out, James!)

And before this list goes any further I'm going to stop right there! I'll do another one soon. In the meantime, sound off in the comments! Were any of these book son your to-read lists? Any new finds? What else are you looking forward to? I want to know!

Here's the slideshow:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox

(This picture slideshow made with Smilebox)

Until next time,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books

Release date: March 1st, 2011

Ever pick up a book in a kind of okay mood and really hope that it cheers you up, makes you laugh out loud, make your day -maybe even your weekend, or week, or MONTH!- just make you generally want to put aside everything and have no care for anything while you're reading it? Well, Sean Griswold's Head was all that and much more. I'd heard from other people on Twitter, while they were in various stages of the book, of loving it for many different reasons. I for once, after having read it completely concur!

I loved, loved, loved, LOVED SGH! Right off the bat, you can tell that the protagonist , 15-yr old Payton Gritas' voice is simply put - authentic. One can just feel her energy jump off the page and bounce off you. She's your average high school freshman, dedicated student, with quintessential characteristics that a high school freshman has. With her best friend/sidekick Jac, they're ready to tackle the new year, micro-manage every last detail (trust me, Payton could put the best of us to shame with her crazy organization skills and her Executive Deluxe day planner!) and just so darn cute. You can see the subtle undertones of the something lying just under the visible lines. Leavitt goes right into it and somehow manages to change her prose from humoristic to heavy in seconds - kind of like a car going from 0 to 60mph in 5 seconds (which is maybe impossible? There's a reason, I don't drive.).

In a nutshell, Sean Griswold's Head is story of a 15yr-old's struggle to deal with her father MS, getting through therapy with an orange-loving counselor (Payton hates the color orange), and trying to look over Sean Griswold's big head that is always in her way. Somewhere along the way trying to survive this all, Payton gets to know Sean, deal with her father's illness and learns an important lesson- why waste time thinking about something that could happen in the future when you have the now and the power and ability to live it to the fullest with the ones you love. It's about not having regrets.

Sean Griswold's Head is a story about a girl who falls for a guy she's known all her life (well he sits in front of her - alphabetical order and all that!) - well she's known his head rather. It is the story of a girl who finally opens her eyes and 'sees' what's staring her right in the face - once again Sean's big head. It's the story of a girl who realizes what it feels like when you're the last one to be let in on something life threatening. But more importantly, it's about figuring out the little things, like 'how can you go so long knowing someone without really knowing them at all?'

With the help of Jac (who at times REALLY got on my nerves, but when you put it in the context of a 15yr-old freshman - man, do you get some crazy flashbacks! Trust me, the kind you don't want to remember), Trent- her heterosexual straight brother, Sean, Mrs. Callahan (orange-loving counselor), and her Focus Journal/Object, Payton arrives to a place where she realizes what potential she has and how lucky she is to have the ones she loves around her. In short, Sean Griswold' Head is a poignant story of a 15 yr-olds search for some semblance of normalcy while growing up and facing the questions, decisions and responsibilities that go along with maturation.

Leavitt delivers a fantastic novel that will make readers cry, groan, and laugh until they drop. You won't want to miss this one folks! It's really that good. I hated putting it down even to take a quick snack break!

Some miscellaneous SGH love:

Favorite lines:

Pg 33: "Accents aren't contagious".

Pg 120: "Land of Like"

Pg 238: "So accents are contagious". "Highly".

Without giving much away, all I'd like to mention is that I LOVED pg 166 and did NOT like pg 206 at all (if you're one of those people as well, please mention that in the comments, we can discuss this further!). Also, I really love the cover. Love the font, the green and the pinks and just the general composition of the cover!

Here are some pictures from my GoodReads stream, some thoughts on the book I posted while reading it.

Some places you can find Lindsey or buy the book!

Lindsey Leavitt: Website/Twitter

Sean Griswold's Head: IndieBound/Borders/B&N

Sound off in the comments, guys!

Until next time,

FTC, FYI, I didn't steal this book from the publisher even though I really wanted to. I asked for it. Nicely.