WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman Book Review
Series: If I Stay, #2
Publication Date: November 4th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’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, lyrical 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.
Book Review Overview:
- It was amazing to read about what Mia and Adam were able to accomplish in the last three years!
- Get the tissues ready – this one is a tear-jerker!
So I basically thought it was too good to be true when just about all of my bookish friends told me that WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman is better than the first book, If I Stay. It was impossible, I thought to myself.
Then I was proved that the impossible is possible.
WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman is all kinds of awesome. I read it in two sittings – I only stopped to cook and eat dinner, which was something I almost forgot to do because this book is so hard to put down.
Fast forward three years later after the accident. Adam is a famous rock star, and it’s been three years since he last saw Mia when she left for Julliard in New York. Despite the fame and money and a celebrity girlfriend, Adam still cannot let go of Mia. Their paths collide in New York when Adam stumbles upon her first concert at Carnegie Hall.
First of all, I loved reading about Mia and Adam three years later. Despite the fact that Adam is pretty much miserable and still heart-broken, I was so proud of what Mia and Adam had accomplished in the last three years. I almost wanted to do a happy dance because they were both able to live their dreams.
I really enjoyed the change of perspective in WHERE SHE WENT, which is told entirely from Adam’s perspective. I feel like male protagonists are so rare in young adult – so it was a refreshing change of pace.
WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman also involved tears and sniffles. I cried a few times while reading when all the emotions and feelings just got too overwhelming. My heart went out to Adam and Mia. They’ve gone through so much. A sign of a talented author, for me, is the ability to make me cry through words on a page.
Gayle Forman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I’m basically going to get my hands on every book she publishes. I’m a fan. WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman will not disappoint fans of If I Stay.
About the Author
Find the Author
TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler Book Review
Publication Date: June 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: “Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”
According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler Book Review Overview:
- Refreshing break from the cold New York winter
- I did not approve of the twenty boy contest, but Twenty Boy Summer has awesome kissing scenes
- This book almost made me cry
During the summer, I recommended TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler to my sister because I’d seen it around the blogosphere. She likes the summer romance young adult novels – ones that I’m not too fond of. But since my dystopian hangover – caused by reading too many dystopian novels, most recently Fuse by Julianna Baggott – I thought it was about time to take a break and read something different. I took a break from the dreary New York weather and vacationed in the California summer with protagonist, Anna in TWENTY BOY SUMMER.
Anna is secretly in love with her best friend’s brother, Matt, who also happened to be her other best friend. When Matt finally kisses her on her 15th birthday, Anna is ecstatic. But just before Anna and Matt can tell his sister about their relationship, Matt dies from a heart defect. One year later, Anna travels with Frankie to Zanzibar Bay, California with her family in hopes to overcome their grief.
My main frustration in TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler is this twenty boy contest that the book revolves around. I know that Frankie is dealing with the loss of her brother by basically rebelling with booze and boys. But I really don’t like it. I guess I just never saw the appeal of summer romances and excessive flirting. It made me constantly want to roll my eyes.
But I admit, Sarah Ockler has a knack for kissing scenes.
If it weren’t for the fact that TWENTY BOY SUMMER is border-line tear-jerker, then I probably would not have enjoyed this book. When Ockler gets to the more serious parts of the novel, she does not back down. I found myself getting choked up whenever the girls finally confront their grief.
What I wish TWENTY BOY SUMMER focused more on was the relationship between Aunt Jayne and Anna. Aunt Jayne seems to have a better understanding of Anna than anyone else in the novel. It’s a shame that we only get a short glimpse of how Aunt Jayne sees her. In general, I wish that the parents weren’t as oblivious as they were. While they tried to spend quality time with Frankie and Anna, I feel like they were still always avoiding the topic of Matt.
However, I do think that Ockler made a great point towards the end of the novel that at the end of the day, everyone has to deal with their grief in their own way. Everyone is a little different when it comes to dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
CATHERINE by April Lindner Book Review
Publication Date: January 2nd 2013 by Poppy
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.
Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?
Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.
Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.
Catherine by April Lindner Book Review Overview:
- Fun contemporary with an intriguing mystery
- Likeable protagonists but Catherine is more of my favorite
- I never read Wuthering Heights: I can’t judge on how successful it is as an adaptation.
I picked up CATHERINE by April Lindner without any knowledge of Wuthering Heights. As much as I itched to search up a plot summary, I really wanted to read CATHERINE without any outside influences. CATHERINE by April Lindner is a fun contemporary with an intriguing mystery told from alternating perspectives set nearly twenty years apart.
When Chelsea finds an old letter addressed to her from her missing mother, Chelsea leaves home in search of her mother in New York City. She is determined to find out what has become of her mother after all these years. Once in New York, Chelsea starts to find out more about her mother as a teenager when she discovers her mother’s old diary. Chelsea hopes that this will be the clue to help track her down.
Chelsea is likeable enough as a protagonist. Her determination is infectious and you want nothing more to find her mother. Of the two, Catherine is probably the one who is more likeable because it is her character that has a questionable future. Catherine’s happily ever after was more in question than Chelsea’s. Catherine had a lot more forces going against her, so I tended to sympathize more with her character.
I wasn’t a fan of how New York City is portrayed in the story; it was like reading a novel from the eyes of a tourist. As someone who lives in the city, it was quite a disappointment.
The romance in CATHERINE by April Lindner is inevitable. It isn’t necessary to the plot and I thought it filler than anything else. I would have been fine if Chelsea had gone through the novel without a romance. It was more of her mother’s story that I found interesting.
Guest reviewer, Loreal, also had a chance to read CATHERINE by April Lindner. I asked her to co-write a review with me, but she said that she loved the book so much that it would be impossible for her to write anything coherent. I should also add that she loved CATHERINE by April Lindner even more so than the original.
CATHERINE by April Lindner succeeds as an engaging contemporary mystery with a touch of romance. But because I have not read Wuthering Heights I can’t judge on how successful it is as an adaptation. However, CATHERINE by April Lindner did not convince me to pick up Wuthering Heights unlike how Lindner’s Jane immediately got me to pick up Jane Eyre.
About the Author
April Lindner is a young adult novelist and poet. Lindner is a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She is the mother of two sons, plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets–two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs.
Find the Author