Review of If I Stay

I’m still playing catch-up. Here’s review #2:

if i stay

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?

Review of Leaving Time

So, if i’m going to get 52 reviews up by the end of the year, I’d better get going. I’m already behind! Here’s #1:

leaving-time-300h

The first book that I read this year was Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.

Several years ago I went on a Jodi Picoult kick and read a bunch of her books in a row. Although I enjoyed them, I kind of got burned out after awhile. She explores some heavy issues, and reading several of her novels in a row can be emotionally draining.

This one wasn’t as heavy as some of her others, so that was a plus. There was a lot of information about elephants, which might turn off some readers, but I found it interesting.

The main character of the book, Jenna Metcalf, is trying to find her mother Alice, who disappeared when Jenna was three years old after an accident that occurred on the elephant preserve that her parents owned. A woman who worked on the preserve was trampled and killed, and Alice was injured. She was taken to the hospital, but she signed herself out the next day and hasn’t been heard from since.

Together with a washed-up psychic and a sometimes drunk cop turned private investigator, Jenna sets out to find the truth about what happened to her mother 12 years ago. She ends up discovering more than she ever imagined.

I really enjoyed this book, and without giving too much away, the ending took me by surprise. So much so that I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me, and I was angry at first. I think I was angry that I didn’t see it coming. I like to try to guess the ending, but I sometimes get disappointed when I am right, because then it’s too easy.

Before this book, I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and I saw the ending of that one coming a mile away. I was so disappointed when I figured it out so quickly, that I just didn’t appreciate the second half of the book as much. I was bored.

This book did not bore me. It kept me guessing. That it was Jodi Picoult is such a master storyteller. She keeps you guessing until the end, then she knocks the wind out of you.

Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

Resolutions and such

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Hello everyone!

My resolutions this year were to read and write more, so hopefully this blog will be a way to combine the two. I was planning to read a book a week (52 total), and I’m already on number 4, so it’s going well so far! I thought I would post a book review each week, and maybe see what some others thought of the same books. I’m open to suggestions of what to read, too, so fire away!

I’m hoping to get my first review up by Sunday for Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which I loved! Check out my Goodreads widget on the side to see what I’m reading next. I’m going to try to read a mix of fiction, non-fiction, and hopefully a few classics that I never got to read in my youth. We’ll see how it goes. I hope you’ll stick around, beacuse there are good things coming! Leave me a note to let me know you stopped by.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, what was yours this year?

Are you reading anything good?