I’m still playing catch-up. Here’s review #2:
I wish I would have written this review before I saw the movie, but I’ll try my best to separate the two in my mind. In the story, the main character Mia is a senior in highschool and at a major crossroads in her life. She is a classical cellist waiting to see if she was accepted into Julliard for next year while also trying to figure out if she and her boyfriend of 2 years would be able to continue their relationship from opposite sides of the country.
The book opens on a surprise snow day. There is enough snow to cancel school, giving Mia, her younger brother Teddy, and her teacher dad the day off, but not quite enough to keep them all stuck inside for the day. After her mom calls out of work, the family begins to plan a spontaneous trip to visit friends and family out of town. The trip takes a tragic turn, however, when the family is involved in a car accident. Her parents are both killed, while she and Teddy barely cling to life, but Mia is somehow able to observe the aftermath.
Frustrated that no one seems to be able to see or hear her, Mia follows her body to the hospital and observes the staff working to save her, as well as her family and friends who are waiting to hear news about her and Teddy. She begins to realize that she has a choice: she can choose to live or to join her parents in death. As she struggles to decide, she reflects on memorable times during her life, especially during the past year, and the reader gets a better understanding of her character, as well as those of her family and friends through these memories.
Although this book short and easy (easy in vocabulary, not necessarily in subject matter), I did enjoy it, and it did make me ponder what I would choose if I were in Mia’s shoes. I will caution you that the end, although not a cliffhanger, is abrupt and does leave the reader wanting more. However, there is a sequel, which I’ve heard from some friends is more enjoyable than this first novel, so you can always read on if you enjoy it like I did.
As far as film adaptations go, I thought this one was spot on. Although it wasn’t exactly like the book (they never are), I think it hit all the major plot elements. I loved the way the family was cast and their chemistry on screen. It really made my heart break for Mia even more than it did when I read the book to see all that she had lost.
This novel brings me back to my junior high days when I went through a period of reading quite a few novels with the theme of death and dying. Think Lurlene McDaniel. Anyone remember her? I know my dad worried about me a lot, but I just got on a kick. Then I moved on to horror books and then romance novels. I was a big reader then, and I still am today, although with less time to do it.
What books did you enjoy in your youth? Were there any interesting genres that you tried?