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Tag / Gayle Forman

Book-A-Like: If I Stay & Before I Fall

Heart-rending stories about life and the choices we make feature in today's QBD Book-a-like.


If 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.

Everybody has to make choices.Some might break you.For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope. But life can change in an instant. A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one.
As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver:

They say 'live every day as if it's your last' - but you never actually think it's going to be. At least I didn't.
The thing is, you don't get to know when it happens. You don't remember to tell your family that you love them or - in my case - remember to say goodbye to them at all.
But what if, like me, you could live your last day over and over again? Could you make it perfect? If your whole life flashed before your eyes, would you have no regrets? Or are there some things you'd want to change...?

QBD Reviews: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

wji5dlphvzfutwk1cgjxrm5awe5pymk1amiymhzjqzg1tnpnee9eutvoreuwtwpnnvgzqxdym1l4tgtwuvj3pt0yegxjm1zqytnnI quite enjoyed this sequel to If I Stay. Sometimes a sequel can be a let-down but not this one. I liked how this story was told from Adam’s perspective, his thoughts and feelings of life after Mia “woke up”.

Through Adam’s memories and encounters with people in the present day we find out about his journey over the last two to three years. Adam was there for Mia during her rehabilitation after all the surgeries, he saw her off to Julliard music school in New York… then nothing. We hear that Adam’s rock band is world famous but we don’t hear about Mia, leaving us to wonder what happened to her.

Then unexpectedly the day before he flies to London for the start of a new tour, Adam sees that Mia is playing at Carnegie Hall and he buys a ticket. He is blown away by her performance – and even more surprised when she invites him backstage to catch up. They spend a fun evening together visiting “secret” parts of New York that Mia has discovered.

They re-connect, communicate, share anger and grief and eventually decide they should try again to be “Us”. Nothing is easy but they never stopped loving each other. Each fills a void in the other; they make sense together.

There were tearful places in this story – not quite as many as in the first novel – but I loved how the author gave us a different view that still tugged at our heartstrings. I really liked the resolution, it made sense. Adam had become disillusioned even with the music he loved. He was becoming separate from other people, just going through the motions of existing rather than living. It took meeting Mia again to wake him up to why he plays and writes songs. I think it was important to hear this story from Adam’s perspective and I liked how his voice was heard. The take-home message for me was that fame and fortune mean nothing without personal connection to other people. Love is still the most important thing.

~ Kerryn, QBD Northland


Reviewsday: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

I loved this story, mainly because the characters were so well written. I was prepared not to like “Leave Me” as the main character seemed selfish when reading the blurb. However, as usual Gayle has written very interesting characters that are easy to connect to; events in “Leave Me” could happen to anyone.

9781471156786Maribeth is a mother of young children who has an unexpected heart attack - even though she is only in her early forties. After having double bypass heart surgery, she comes home from hospital and her husband Jason expects everything to go back to normal. My dad had triple bypass surgery so that part of the story was quite real to me. I remember how much time was needed to heal (much longer than the one week Maribeth had before she was released from hospital). I was so indignant at Jason for not understanding that Maribeth needed so much more help than he gave her – she just had major surgery and he thought she could cook dinner and entertain visitors! Really!!!

The pressure to perform as she used to when she was clearly still recuperating becomes too much and Maribeth “runs away”. She leaves home to look after herself, leaving the children with her husband. Maribeth needed to heal physically and emotionally. Taking a large cash withdrawal with her she takes a train from New York to Pittsburgh, and lives a simple life off the grid. After having her whole life planned to the minute with multiple “To Do” lists it is liberating to live freely. Maribeth makes new friends, heals and eventually communicates honestly and in depth with her husband – something they haven’t done before.

What I particularly liked about this story was the character of Maribeth, she is written in a way that I could empathise with her. I understand why she felt she had to leave, even though it was a wrench leaving her family. She pretended to herself it was like a “business trip” and wrote letters to her children (that she did not send), this was the only way she could cope with the emotional trauma of leaving her family - albeit temporarily. After nearly dying Maribeth needed time away to heal and gain perspective.

I really did not like Jason at the start of “Leave Me”, he was unsupportive and didn’t seem to care. However, he redeems himself and I do end up liking the man he becomes. After having to step up to the plate and look after the twins full time, he then realised how much Maribeth did and how much he let her down.

My husband also read this book and enjoyed it. Whilst this story is not his usual genre (he prefers action adventure stories) he did find that it was a worthwhile read for a Sunday afternoon.

~ Kerryn, QBD Northland

Leave Me: Our September Book of the Month


Leave Me is a story of the pressures of motherhood. The pressures put on us by others, but more specifically the pressures we put ourselves.

Maribeth Klein finds herself in the position most mothers’ do, she has to juggle it all: work, friends, a husband and kids. But when she almost dies of a heart attack, her life is turned upside down.

The first thing I thought to myself when I heard about this story was I’m not sure I could like a story about a mother leaving her kids. But I was wrong. While this is the key plot line, it is only the beginning.

This story starts with Maribeth’s narrow perspective fuelled by stress, pain and selfishness. But as Maribeth reflects on memories and tries to reconnect with her husband, you learn more about her and her loved ones. As Maribeth learns to see past her anger and her own opinions, you start to see the situation from others' perspectives.

Gayle Forman will toy with your emotions in this story about the mistakes we make when emotions run high and we can’t see past ourselves, when we forget to appreciate and communicate with the ones we love.

An easy read to get lost in these school holidays.

QBD Great Reads: If I Stay by Gayle Forman


Oh wow! Such an emotional story. I had similar feelings reading this story as when reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I loved both stories, as both made me cry – in a good way – and I was emotionally invested in the characters.

This young adult contemporary novel is about Mia, a young 17 year old who plays the cello. She has a boyfriend Adam who plays in a rock band and her family are also musicians. Even though her family loves music Mia feels somewhat separate from them as she is drawn to classical music - which is distinctly different from the rock concerts they love.

If I Stay is told over a period of 24 hours from Mia’s perspective, mixing present time with flashbacks of key moments in her life. Very close to the beginning of the novel Mia and her family are involved in a severe car accident. If I Stay, told through the eyes of Mia as she has an out-of-body experience while her physical body lies in a coma, takes readers through Mia’s decision as she is forced to choose whether to stay or let go.

What I really loved about this story was the voice of Mia. It was believable and I found it a really good vehicle with which to tell the story. Mia could see all that was happening to her yet she wasn’t a ghost (she couldn’t walk through walls) and as she was in limbo she could not be heard. Having Mia remember her life (quite literally having it “flash before her eyes”) was a great way to hear from everyone else in the story as well as knowing what was happening in the present. One of the funniest scenes was when Mia’s boyfriend Adam was trying to get into the ICU to see her but was blockaded by a nurse as he was not family, so he brought in a rock star as a diversion – hilarious!

If I Stay is by nature a sad book - there were two sections in particular where I couldn’t read the words through my tears. However, it is also uplifting and overall such a good story! The main message to take from this novel is that love, of all kinds, endures. Definitely a recommended read.

~Kerryn, QBD Northland