Book of the Month – If I Stay – Gayle Forman

On August 22nd, one of my favorite books is coming to life on the big screen. To honor that, I’ve chosen If I Stay by Gayle Forman as August’s Book of the Month.

6564365If I Stay by Gayle Forman


“Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.
I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.
Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.
If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.”

Jen’s Review

I read If I Stay years ago, and it still makes my heart twist and my stomach drop. Just thinking about it makes me search for a tissue while thanking God I haven’t had to experience what Mia did in this book.

tumblr_mp8lqkavxh1sxy5x9o1_500One of the most important things in my life is my family. If anything happened to them…well, I’m not sure what I’d do. It’s one of those fears that haunts me on a daily basis, just as I’m sure it haunts many of you. To think of having everything you cherish taken away in the blink of an eye…


If I Stay addresses this tragic fear. It makes you live it through the eyes of Mia, a girl whose family is killed in a car accident. She herself is on the brink of death and must decide if she has the strength to stay and live with the pain of knowing when she awakes, her family will be gone; or if she can’t bear their loss and will let go to join them in death.
But, don’t worry. This story isn’t only about making you cry and sob and go through an entire box of tissues. It celebrates life and love, and offers hope when there is no hope to be found.

tumblr_mdg8mwFXNk1rj9ghno1_500As hard as this story is to read, it’s worth it. For me, it made me consider what I’d do if this type of tragedy ever struck in my life. Would I give up? Or would I fight for life? To be honest, I’m still not sure. Like Mia, it’s a choice I can’t make until it I had to.

Jen’s Rating

5 Star

To read more about If I Stay, click here!

And for those of you who’d rather “see” the synopsis, here’s the trailer for If I Stay…I suggest you grab a tissue before you view it 😉

…Just remember: Read the book BEFORE you see the movie!

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A Blogging Reader’s Review: ‘IF I STAY’ by Gayle Forman

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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Writing, Awards and a Friday Funny

Congratulations! We made it through the week! This was my first one back to the 9-5 grunge since my two week holiday vacation. As you might suspect, I wasn’t looking forward to it. However, besides my car pooping out on Tuesday, it wasn’t too bad. In a way, it was nice. Most of my vacation was spent in my PJ’s sick and cutoff from the rest of humanity (unless you count the enthralling book characters that kept me company), so it’s been somewhat of a relief to be around my co-workers and friends again.

Even so, I’m happy it’s Friday. I have big writing plans for the weekend. I set some high goals for the year, so I need to hop to it, starting with my Nano project, Fallers. On the fun side of life, I’m having a little get together for the Golden Globes on Sunday. (Yes, I’m a sucker for the big Hollywood awards season). Unfortunately, I’ve been a slacker on seeing the big films nominated this year (the only one I’ve seen is Gravity (BTW, whoa!)). Oh well…What we really need is a big, glitzy broadcasted award show for book lovers. How awesome would that be? Can you imagine Rainbow Rowell or Gayle Forman or John Green walking up on stage to accept their award for “Best Contemporary Young Adult Novel”?…Yeah, someone in NY or LA should get on that–pronto! Authors deserve Red Carpets and flashing cameras and live TV audiences too…Of course, I’m not so sure how many authors would be in to that kind of thing, haha.

Anyways, back to today’s post. It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for a funny! This one’s dedicated to the new Nook I received over Christmas from my family. Now, I’m going to confess: I’ve never been a fan of e-readers. I’ve always been a physical book purist. The smell, the weight, the turning of pages…sigh. However, as times progress and more books are published in e-book format only, I’ve had no other choice but to adapt. And…I must admit…**pursing lips**…I…love it. There! I said it.

But my true love will always be physical books. Sorry Nook.


Hope your week was nice, too! Have any fun plans for the weekend?

Book Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

12842134Just One Year by Gayle Forman


“Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.
Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began….
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .
The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.”

Jen’s Review

A truly perfect companion to Just One Day(If you haven’t read that book yet, goooo! What are you waiting for? Scoot, scoot!) Like its predecessor, Just One Year was moving, eye-opening, and one hundred percent entertaining. I couldn’t put it down all weekend. It. Was. Addicting.

My favorite thing about Just One Year was that it was from Willem’s POV. I didn’t feel like I really got to know him during Just One Day. He was there and then gone in the blink of an eye. And he’s such an enigmatic character. You want to be around him. You want to stay in his presence and learn all there is to know about him. So, it was satisfying to read his “side of the story” after his magical day in Paris with Lulu, and walk with him down his own path to self-discovery.

What made this book even better was the added element of knowledge. We already know the ending, and we already know what Lulu’s side of the story is. So that means we already know the consequences of Willem’s decisions and actions–how each one will lead him away from Lulu, rather than closer to her…And trust me, there are parts where the two of them are literally feet apart and don’t know it. It was wonderfully frustrating and made their reunion at the end all the sweeter.

My only, only, only nitpick: I’d hoped for a longer reunion between Willem and Lulu at the end. The only time we’ve gotten to spend with them together was during the first half of Just One Day (not even a full half, actually). Surely it wouldn’t have hurt to add a few extra pages or even a chapter to give the reader a chance to enjoy being in their shared presence again?

 I guess Gayle Forman will just have to write one more book about Willem and Lulu/Allyson? She can call it, Just One More…Yes, that sounds good. Let’s do this. Get out those magical typing fingers, Gayle! 😉

This is an outstanding book you won’t want to miss. Read it!

Read it, read it, read it, read it!

 Jen’s Rating

4 Star

Book Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

12842115Just One Day by Gayle Forman


“A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.
When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.”

Jen’s Review

Once again, Gayle Forman delivers!

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read all year long, and I finally got around to it. Thank goodness, too! Just One Day was wonderful. It’s more than a tale about lost love. It’s about finding oneself, too. It’s about how one day can change your life–how one day can change you. Shells can be broken, fears obliterated, and personal identities transformed. You can go from being weak to strong, scared to brave, cookie cutter to unique.

We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.”

The things I love about Gayle Forman’s books are they aren’t cliche, predictable or particularly easy. Fear not, when I say “easy”, I’m not referring to the actual writing. That’s simple, smooth and enjoyable. I’m referring to the actual content. Gayle Forman is a master of conflict. She knows how to weave a story in such a way that the reader is simultaneously frustrated and satisfied. You want something to happen, but then something else happens that takes you in the opposite direction. And at first you’re all angry and confused about that direction, but as the story continues down that waylaid path you realize, “Oh, this is good. Very good.”

“Then he opened it for me. Held my hand as I walked through it. And for one perfect day, I was on the other side. I was somewhere else. Someone else. And then he was gone, and I was thrown back into my little room. And now, no matter what I do, I can’t seem to find that door.

Just One Day is truly all about self-discovery. And not just for Allyson (aka, “LuLu”), but for the reader too. You’ll learn things about yourself you never knew, and question things you never questioned before. I know I did. And, more than anything, you’ll want to be “LuLu” for a day. Just one day. 🙂

“’C’est courageux d’aller dans l’inconnu’: It is courageous to go into territory unknown.”

I’m already on the waiting list at the library for Just One Day’s sequel, Just One Year. And I can’t wait to read it!

Jen’s Rating:

4 Star

Read more about Just One Day here!