Genre: YA


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
If I Stay
Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 2nd 2009
by Dutton Juvenile

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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.



A powerfully emotional novel, If I Stay is a journey through life and death, in the eyes of a young girl who has lost just about everything.

After a disastrous car accident, Mia finds herself looking down at her own battered body, barely alive. This is one case where, immediately, you get a feel of who these people are, their realness, the love they have for each other. With only a few minutes of getting to know them before the accident, I already felt a connection with Mia and her whole family, turning an already emotional novel into a gutting one. Mia’s loss and grief is tangible through Gayle’s effortless writing style. It’s a tragic tale of unimaginable life changing loss that will make you thankful for everything and everyone you have in life.

This novel is not a story, there is not even a plot per se; in short, it is a chronicle of Mia’s life. While she’s lost in this sort of limbo, we relive her life with her. She sends us through the ups and downs of her past years. Her relationship, fun family anecdotes, talents, dreams, everything she has ever had, and everyone she can still lose. Mostly, you can see how fast a life full of potential can be changed so drastically. You know that even if she does get through this, nothing will ever be the same. She will not be the same person that we’re being introduced to. Through her stories and her time at the hospital, we also get to know other people in her life who love her so fully that you feel their pain for Mia’s uncertain future. What got me the most emotional was not Mia’s reminiscing, but the reactions to others towards her. There’s an especially powerful scene with her grandfather that… ugh *clutches chest*. It shows exactly how talented Gayle is; to be able to render so much sympathy for characters you have only just met, in a book with a mere 200 pages at that, that is some outstanding writing. This is not just Mia’s story, it includes everyone that has touched her life as well.

Brilliantly written with as much love as there is sorrow, with as much life as there is death, If I Stay shows us the importance of family and friends that, together, make up our lives. A must read that I would recommend for all fans of YA contemporary novels such as Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall.

Audiobook note: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the music between certain chapters, but the narrator was truly amazing. Her voice authenticated all the emotions coming off of Mia wonderfully. A+!

Cover Blurb Note: “It will appeal to fans of Twilight” O_O This book is not even close to being anything like Twilight in any way!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Review: Game by Barry Lyga

Review: Game by Barry Lyga

Posted by on 04/09/2013 • 23 Comments

*This review is spoiler free for book 1 and this sequel!*

  Before I went into YA my favorite novels were criminal mysteries and serial killer type stories. Then my favorite among them were the ones dealing with profilers. There is just something incredibly fascinating about seeing how these guys can take one small and seemingly insignificant detail of a crime scene, and tell you who the killer is in the most intimate of way. Game brought back the reasons why I loved these types of books; there are truly sick people in this world and it’s shocking to get into their heads. True to its name, Jasper’s father brings us into an exhilarating game in this fast-paced sequel.The characters I so loved in I Hunt Killers are back…

Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Posted by on 03/18/2013 • 31 Comments

Already being a big fan of Courtney Summers since I read This Is Not a Test, I knew before going into this that it was going to be a ride with a lot of feels! So much feels!

Parker is the definition of a snarky bitch. She has an attitude you want to slap her for, but as a protagonist she’s especially amusing and definitely entertaining. The used-to-be cheerleading captain turned angry emo tells us that something has happened to this girl to change her so drastically. This “something” is told to us via strange behavior from Parker which seem insignificant at first, but as the book progresses the feeling gets more urgent, and is mixed with flashbacks that leaves us wondering what the heck exactly happened here. These flashbacks…

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Posted by on 03/15/2013 • 31 Comments

A deep and emotional journey into the lives of two very special girls, If You Find Me is a wonderfully inspiring story that brings us past the unimaginable horror it inhibits and makes it about hope instead, about second chances.

We meet Carey and Jenessa who are living–or surviving–in their mama’s old camper in the woods. This immediately captured both my heart and rapt interest, seeing two very young girls having to fend for themselves in such cruel ways. I could see from the start how much Carey had matured way beyond her years, caring for her sister more than any mother for her child. This brought me so very close to her. She quickly wedged herself right into my sympathizing heart. Easily, I could feel the deep bond these…

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Posted by on 02/12/2013 • 31 Comments

para·nor·mal: adj. not scientifically explainable : supernatural -Merriam-Webster

Meet Addison, or preferably Addie; Clairvoyant Divergent. Addie has the unique and thought-provoking ability of being able to see both sides of the coin. In other words, when she has a decision to make, she can see the future of each choice and pick the one that’s best. Fascinating, no? But what happens when you don’t want either future you foresee? This plot revolves around Addie’s venture into two futures after she was asked to pick between staying in the paranormal compound, or going with her dad in the normal world.

Told in dual reality perspective, reality one keeps us in the compound where life with abilities is the norm. From telekinesis to lie detectors, living with knowing someone may currently…

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Posted by on 01/10/2013 • 22 Comments

This review contains no spoilers of either Vortex or Tempest

As much as I get fascinated by time travel–especially when it’s created as well as in this series–it can get extremely complicated. Like Tempest, this novel is not to be read with a wandering mind, or you will find yourself in the middle of a complex story with no idea where you are–or when. For this reason, it may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy reads that are as intelligent as they are fun, then this series is for you!

When we left Jackson in Tempest, we had learned just how intricate this whole time travel business was. Not to mention how heartbreaking to see Jackson’s heart torn apart over a girl that has no clue who he…

Review: False Memory by Dan Krokos

Review: False Memory by Dan Krokos

Posted by on 11/09/2012 • 27 Comments

From the very first page this book grips you with the unknown. At first it’s who is Miranda? Without her memory, she has no idea who, or what, she is. Then we move on to who is this unconventional family of hers, then who is this creator who wants to use them, and all throughout–what are we going to find out next?

As far as unreliable narrators go, Miranda is pretty darn great. She doesn’t even know who she is! I, myself, have always loved unreliable narrators. They keep you on the lookout, always deciphering and theorizing; the more you find out about Miranda’s life, the more fascinating it all becomes. Then of course, there are twists that throw what you’ve learned a little off track. I really enjoyed this…

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Posted by on 10/11/2012 • 43 Comments

Initial reaction: Holy mother of giraffe balls!!!

Official review:

What. Did. I. Just. Read?

*blinks*

Ok, wow. Creative does not even begin to describe this formidable world that Gennifer Albin has built. Bringing in some sci-fi elements into it, the explanations of the weaving and how the whole process works simply blew me away. When it starts off it garners a lot of questions and wonderment, but as the world building progresses, we’re brought into an extremely complex, incredibly well described futuristic world where everything and everyone can be manipulated by the touch of a Spinster. It can be hard to grasp, especially if you don’t pay attention – this is the kind of book you have to really be alert for – and it pays off. Furthermore, Gennifer’s world…