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Book Review: Where She Went

 

Title: Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman

Publication Date: April 5, 2011

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Penguin Group

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary (from Barnes & Noble): 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.

My Review (caution, possible spoilers ahead!): I have been waiting for this book ever since I heard Gayle Forman was writing a sequel to If I Stay. When I read If I Stay (after drying my tears) I was left with this feeling of longing for Mia, and for Adam, to know that they were alright and that they were able to move forward after the accident. For some reason that was important to me and I was not let down by the continuation. It was interesting to see how strong the pull between these two still was, even despite the way that Mia just vanished from Adam’s life. It seems as if along the way there was this connection simultaneously pulling them back together  and pushing them apart.  Mia had it right when she said “I needed someone to hate and since I love you the most you were it”.

It was interesting falling the story this time from Adam’s point of view and I felt that the jumps back in time and then back to the present really represented his state of mind. It felt real to me, like I was right there with Adam as he dealt with all of this. Gayle’s prose, while simple and not overly complicated, is beautifully suited to convey the emotions these two young adults were feeling throughout these past three years. These characters are real and the emotions you feel with them are real and it’s a rare author that can bring that out in people.

If you haven’t read If I Stay I definitely recommend going  out right now and getting it, then immediately turn around and read Where She Went. You won’t be disappointed.

 


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Book Review: Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Publication Date: Jan. 11, 2011

Genre: Sci-Fi/YA

Publisher: Razorbill

Rating: 4/5

*Purchased the book*

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Review: Before picking this up I heard nothing but GREAT, AMAZING things about the book and it’s début author. It made its way to Amazon’s Best Books of the Month list and all the blogs were gushing over their ARC copies, telling us we’d have to get our hands on it as soon as it released and not a second later.

I don’t always listen to others opinions of books, but in this case I am certainly  glad I did. This was a fast paced sci-fi adventure, which draws the reader in from the beginning. I did find myself taking some time to adjust to the back and forth both being told in first person (which I’m not always a fan of), but once I settled in I moved through the book rather rapidly. It’s interesting to watch Elder as he discovers a whole new world in Amy and to watch Amy as she discovers an entire new world in the ship.

I felt my heart breaking for Amy as she wakes up scared and alone on this ship that she didn’t want to be on to begin with. Not only is she far from home in terms of distance, but everyone she knew on earth is long past as it’s been over 300 years since she left. It’s easy to feel the suffocation Revis gives Amy as she goes for a run and finds herself at the wall of the ship, there’s no place to truly run here.

Elder is a harder character to discover, yet his awe and amazement at the stars and Amy’s brilliant red hair are fascinating to see. Revis does an incredible job of combining the traits of an innocent child with those of a more experienced adult within Elder. It’s easy to see Elder’s internal conflict and how he wrestles with what he’s known and been taught his whole life versus this whole new way of seeing things that he is learning Amy.

These are not your average teenagers and this is not your average YA read. While there is romance and intrigue, there is a much deeper plot that takes you on a wild ride through space.There were many elements of the book that provided interesting plot twists, most of which I didn’t see coming until they actually happened which is always a welcome surprise. However, I did feel like there were some points that went unresolved and left me feeling like I wasn’t quite finished at the end of the book. I’m hoping that this means that there is a sequel waiting in the wings so we get to see what becomes of Amy and Elder.

 

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Book Challenges!

In a way to jumpstart my reading for 2011 (as if I need more ways to do that), I’ve decided to signup for a few Book Challenges. These will perhaps push me to read outside of my normal realm of books and hopefully introduce me to a few new authors along the way!

I’m signing up for four challenges for this year. I think that’s good enough to get me going with reading and reviewing!


YA Historical Fiction Challenge (signup page)

Hosts : YA Bliss
Starts: 1st January 2011
Ends: 31st December 2011
Eligible Books: Young Adult or Middle Grade historical fiction.
Levels: Three; I’ve signed up for the third level which requires me to read 15 books
Prizes? Yes!

 

I love historical fiction, so this one should be a breeze! Here are some of the books I am considering, I’ll add more as I find them:

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller
Wildwing by Emily Whitman
Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi


Most Awaited YA Releases (signup page)

Starts: 1st January 2011
Ends: 31st December 2011
Eligible Books: Any book released in 2011.
Levels: One: 12 books (review one per month)
Prizes? Yes! Each month one participant will win a book released in 2011.

Here are some of the books I am considering:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Where She Went by Gayle Forman


Into The Old World Reading Challenge (sign up page)

Starts: 1st January 2011
Ends: 31st December 2011
Eligible Books: Any books published BEFORE 2009 . All Genres included

Here are some of the books I am considering:

The Wild Irish: A Novel of Elizabeth I and the Pirate O’Malley by Robin Maxwell
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi


Off the Shelf (signup page)

Starts: January 1, 2011
Ends: December 31, 2011
Eligible Books: Books that you own but have not read. Must own the books prior to 2011.
Levels: Seven; I will be trying for Level 2:  15 books
I’ll have to scan the shelf and separate out the books I haven’t read yet! There are quite a few though, that’s for sure.
 
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Posted by on 31 December, 2010 in Challenges

 

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