Monday, October 10, 2011

Abducted by Where She Went

Happy Columbus Day Everybody!!!

 Usually, on Columbus Day, I try to have a Chris Columbus marathon of movies, but this year has been an epic fail! I've just been so busy that I wasn't able to ask off work for it. And I was going to watch Adventures in Babysitting last night, but I got caught up in the second season of Heroes on Netflix. Tonight, however, I will for sure watch RENT after my work out. And then I might still try to fit in Gremlins on my next day off. 

 If you are interested in more of thoughts on Chris Columbus check out my post on

I can't believe that we are already almost half way done with October! That is crazy! And because the year is winding down and I'm running out of time, I'm going to have to do something I really hate to do...

I'm going to have to stop reading books that don't interest me.

Once I have started a book it is extremely hard for me to walk away. I know a lot of you out there will feel my pain on this. But, I'm running out of time to reach my goal of 111 books in a year, so if a book doesn't capture my immediately, I'm going to have to walk away.

Starting with The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I checked out the audio version of this book from my local library, but I'm really struggling to get through it. It hasn't sucked me in at all. I've been listening to it for over a week and haven't even finished the first disc. It's time to walk away. I also think this is one of those occasions where I may have to actually read the book itself and not just listen to it. Either way it will have to wait until next year.

I'm also struggling with In The Company of Cheerful Ladies (The #1 Ladies Detective Agency) but I'm over half way with that one so I'll just tough it out.

I did finish Where She Went last week which was the sequel to If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Now this is a book that I was immediately drawn into and captured by! This was also an audio book I checked out from my library and I would then listen to in my car. I don't even want to think about how much gas I waisted making extra laps around my block or taking the back roads to get to a store that is down the street from me, just so I could finish one more chapter.

If I Stay is the story of a 17 year old girl, Mia, who is in a car accident that takes the lives of both her parents and her younger brother, and leaves her in a coma. While her body is incapacitated her spirit is able to observe the world around her and therefore make the decision as to if she should stay now that her family is gone.

Where She Went is told from the perspective of Adam, Mia's boyfriend, three years later. Adam's life has gone off in a direction that he never imagined and he is still grieving all that he has lost over the last three years. He is now a rock star living it up in LA, recording music in NYC, and about to go on tour in Europe. However, his constant effort to forget about the life he lost, has put a strain on his current relationships with his family, friends, band mates, and his celebrity girlfriend.

I really felt for Adam in this book. I could completely empathize with his frustration and pain, and I wanted answers just as bad as he did. I have to really give credit to the author for this because she did an amazing job portraying his grief and depression.

I also loved Gayle Forman's inclusion of music throughout both books. Music is what originally brought Mia and Adam together and it plays a significant part in both books. In If I Stay, Mia is an accomplished cellist and for the audio book, they played little riffs of cello music in between some chapters and at the end of the discs. However, since Where She Went is Adam's perspective and he is an accomplished guitarist, it played kind of a bluesy rock piece.

Now, as far as which one I liked better, I'm going to go with the second one, Where She Went. Both stories were beautifully written and the development of the characters felt very honest and genuine. However, I felt that with If I Stay the ending was more limited. You know as you are reading that the story is going to end with her choosing between two options; she will stay, or she will die. Where as in the sequel I felt like I had no idea how is was going to end, there were just so many choices and variations. And the way that it ended did surprise me, because I didn't think it was possible for everything to tie together the way it. So having those options made me like Where She Went just that much more.

But please don't let me give you the impression that If I Stay is a limited book just because the ending is limited, because it is not limited at all! The journey that Mia takes you on is emotionally heart breaking. By the end of the book I didn't know any more whether or not I even wanted her to live! After everything she lost, all the pain she would endure by choosing to stay, it is unbearable.

 But the whole book isn't about death either. In If I Stay, Mia uses her time trying to make her decision, to reflect back on stories of her childhood with her family, how she started to play the cello, how she met her best friend, and also, of course, how her and Adam came together. And in turn, Adam uses his time in Where She Went to reflect on the time he was with Mia, how he got along with her parents, trips they had taken together, but also about how he lost touch with his music after Mia's accident. How he strayed from the band and how he let the fame go to his head.

Both books are incredible so I strongly recommend them.

On goodreads I gave If I Stay 4/5 stars and Where She Went 5/5


Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I have heard great things about these books, but haven't read them yet. And kudos to you for walking away! When I posted about walking away from The Knife of Never Letting Go, some people were like, no, stay with it, yes, it's incredibly sad but it's so good. I'm sure some people will say that about Maze Runner, and maybe they're right, but when there's so many other books out there, why waste your time if you're not clicking with it? It'll just slow down your reading and possibly give you book block.

Unknown said...

Pffft... life is too short and there are too many great books out there to waste time on slogging your way through something that just isn't gelling by the 251st page.

I bought If I Stay months and months ago, but haven't read it yet. Maybe I should bump it up to the top of the TBR pile.

(I can't wait for Book Club this month!! I've been practicing my German accent in anticipation.)

Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase said...

I have a confession, Courtney. I didn't read this whole post. But I had a good reason! I just bought If I Stay a couple weeks ago, since you, Mandy, and Tracy all seem to love both of the books. But I was worried your review might contain some spoilery info, since you were reviewing the second book as well.
And, as you know, you and I are total opposites when it comes to knowing about the ends of books. I've actually gotten to the point now that I'll read a description of a book once, like on Goodreads, and then when I get around to reading the book, a lot of the time it has been a while since I first read the description, so I try to refrain from reading the description on the book itself. Or the little blurbs that other authors write. There was a blurb on the book Hourglass that I really wish I hadn't read, because although it didn't give away the ending, it gave away a major part of the book, and I think it would have been awesome to find that part out by myself...
So anyway, I know you don't agree with me on that stuff, but that's why I didn't read your entire post. But once I read these books, I'll come back and read it!

fakesteph said...

I've been meaning to read If I Stay for ever now! I've heard amazing things about it!!

The Maze Runner... I get why you're walking away. It was interesting, but I still haven't been able to bring myself to read the second. It's just not for me. And that's okay. :)

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