Mundie Moms

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Flashback Friday (The Saturday Edition): If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Written by: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Dates: If I Stay (April 2010), Where She Went (April 2012)
Source: Purchased

Buy:  amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

If I Stay:
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
Where She Went:
Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)

Rating: 5 out of 5 (nah, ALL the stars up in heaven) stars!

If I Stay 
Synopsis: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Oh boy, I read this in a DAY. And the story ends with that one question (no spoilers). So glad the sequel is out because I would have quite an anxiety attack waiting for the next sentence.

As usual, Gayle weaves a story with a cast of characters you love from page one. And as usual, Gayle makes you feel ALL the emotions -- laughter, tears, giggles.

But what she does masterfully is how she places you right in the main character's shoes. Plunk. You are there. Forgive me now, but yes, I'm humming "Girlfriend in a Coma" and not only because it was referenced and inappropriately funny but also because I know the lyrics. And just like a song lyric that I can't get out of my head, Gayle's story stays with me making my heart beat faster when I think about it.

5-stars and an acknowledgement of yes, I should've read it earlier.

(WARNING: Reading the synopsis of Where She Went may spoil the ending of If I Stay, so if you don't want to know what happens, STOP READING HERE)

Where She Went
Synopsis: It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. 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 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, 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.

Good book hangover -- that's exactly what this series causes. Do any of you get that? Let me explain the symptoms: first you gobble up the book in a short (think one or two sittings) amount of time and then you text, tweet, facebook everyone you know to tell them to drop everything and read this series. Complete strangers aren't immune from you stopping them and babbling parts of the synopsis and the bits you loved. They try not to look you in the eye, but you don't care; you've got to tell the world about this book. Phew. There. That's exactly how I felt about Where She Went.

Here's the thing, in most romances, we're not immediately clued into the characters' point of pain -- that moment that changes their behavior/outlook/personality. Sometimes, we're clued into it via a back-story or a passing reference. In Where She Went, we know what Mia and Adam went through and now we get to see how it changed them.

And Mia's choice in book one changed them both. But that's not why I'm 5-starring this book. It's how Gayle writes this utterly believable plot of mistrust, misunderstanding, missed cues and the inevitable falling apart, coming together, falling apart rhythm that results. If my feelings were a tune while reading this story, they would have been a slow, hopeful melody that sharpened to some jazzy, cacophony crescendo-y level of noise that would make the neighbors ask to "turn it down now".

Mixed metaphor aside, let's just say that I LOVE this series. And hey, it's finished so you'll know how it turned out and you won't have to wait a year or, what, TWO to see how it ends. Adam, you're added to my never-ending Fic Boyfriend List. As a matter of fact, you are now in the Top Ten. Mia, I just want to sit in your kitchen and drink that percolated coffee of yours and discuss where life will take you next. Yes, that good. Now go get them. I mean it. Don't make me babble on and on and on in an effort to make you read it.


  1. These are two of my most fave. Waiting at RT convention to get them signed.

    1. timestandstill - Oh lucky, lucky you! If I ever meet Gayle I'll probably embarass myself and her with my babbling. :)