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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

 

QBD Great Reads: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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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

Book-A-Like: If I Stay & Thirteen Reasons Why

Exquisitely sad YA stories about life and death,  loss and love feature in this week's Book-A-Like.

BookaLike May 27Clay Jensen is still reeling from the death of his friend and first love, Hannah Baker, two weeks previous. When he arrives home one afternoon to a strange package on his doorstep, what he imagines is inside it is nothing compared to what lurks in the box. A stack of cassette tapes that chronicle Hannah’s reasons for taking her own life are being passed around to the people who lent a helping hand. Clay can’t imagine why he would be included. He never did anything wrong. But in listening to the tapes, he soon learns that what can push people to the edge isn’t always one big, bad occurrence. It can be a domino effect of small events building on top of each other. Hannah’s thirteen reasons why. - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

If I Stay follows the story of Mia, a girl injured in a car crash that has killed her entire family. Lingering as a spirit, her body on life support, the reader experiences the highs and lows of Mia's life through flashbacks and snaps of reality.  Fighting to survive, Mia must decide, should she stay...or let go? - If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Feels Presents: ‘I Was Here’

All. The. Feels. 

9781471124396Cody and Meg are inseparable. They have their whole lives planned out together, filled with adventure in Seattle when they go away to college, first loves experienced side-by-side, and a long life filled with friendship. All would have gone exactly to plan, if Meg was still here. But after her shocking suicide, Cody is left without her best friend, or any idea how to continue life without her...

From the bestselling author of “If I Stay” comes an emotionally raw novel about the controversial subject of teen suicide. The book however, does not simply explore the feelings of those who plan to commit suicide, but more so of those who are left behind when the decision has already been made...

I Was Here focuses on the devastating aftermath of death, forcing the reader to face emotional heartbreak in both the main character's life and those around her. It would be easy to only read this book from Cody's perspective, however Foreman has done an excellent job in exploring less pivotal character's dealings with Meg's death. Her parents, her college friends, room-mates, ex-boyfriends, even the local diner worker's are allowed to grieve through the expertly crafted narrative, showing just how far the wave of pain can travel.

Foreman's narrative is easy to follow, and maintains a steady build until the final page, leaving the reader's feeling as though they have healed right along side Cody, in the face of devastating loss. An emotional read for sure - have your tissues ready!

- Amelia

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