Tag: Gayle Forman

Movie Review: If I Stay

Posted May 4, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

If_I_Stay_posterRowena’s review of If I Stay.

Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.

It’s been so long since I read this book that I thought seeing the movie was going to be a new experience but that’s not what happened. As soon as the movie started, the book came back to me.

Mia Hall is a gifted musician with hippie parents and a pretty great little brother. She’s close with her family even though she’s completely different from them. Her parents are free spirits who are spontaneous, outwardly happy and into rock music but Mia is more reserved and into classical musical and playing her cello. She’s a deep thinker and if there was a black sheep in her family, she’d be it. Her family is too close and they love each other too much for black sheeps though. I thought her parents were lovely people and Teddy was a complete delight.

When Mia meets Adam, the popular boy from school who is into rock music (just like her parents), she wasn’t expecting the relationship that would blossom between them. She wasn’t expecting to be so intensely in love with him at such a young age but she was. Adam and Mia were dynamite together and the love that they had for each other was great to witness on the big screen. Their love was pure and lovely and complicated as time pulls them apart. Adam graduates from high school (he’s a year ahead of Mia) and his band starts playing gigs all over the place while Mia is left behind, still in school, trying to figure out what she’s going to do after she graduates.

Adam and Mia made plans for after graduation but Mia starts hoping for different things. Things that weren’t part of the plans she made with Adam and when Adam finds out, he’s salty as shit and they fight and then drift…and even though they still love each other, there’s still hurt feelings and unsure thoughts and when Mia’s entire family (her included) is in a fatal car accident, Mia who is hovering between the after life and coming back to Earth has some decisions to make.

Should she go or should she stay?

This whole movie is a cry-fest. The minute that the accident happens on the big screen, my heart was crying all over the place. Mia is trying to deal with the fact that she’s losing her family fast and trying to figure out what kind of life she’d be staying for and holy cow, the emotions game in this movie was too strong.

I liked the casting of the characters in this movie. From Mia to Adam (who wasn’t my first choice but he totally grew on me as I watched the movie – by the end, I LOVED him!) to Mia’s family, her grandparents, Adam’s band mates and Mia’s best friend. I loved everyone.

There were parts of the movie that dragged a bit in the middle, some parts of Adam and Mia’s relationship that I felt weren’t needed but in the end, I still enjoyed the movie heaps that I bought the DVD the day that it came out. I thought it was a great chick flick and fans of the book will enjoy this one. I know I did.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This movie is available from MGM Studios. I purchased my own ticket and bought the DVD too.

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Review: My True Love Gave to Me Anthology

Posted December 3, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

my true love gave to meRowena’s review of My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Matt de la Pena, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White.

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

This book felt like it had a million short stories in it but I jumped in anyway because a lot of my favorite YA authors penned stories in this one so I was all about it. I’m going to briefly review each short story and hope that this review doesn’t end up being longer than the book. 🙂

“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell: This was my favorite story in the entire book. Oh, how I adored Noel and Mags. I loved seeing how they met and then their anniversary celebrations each year. The way that their friendship blossomed over the course of their short story was too freaking cute and I just adored this book to pieces.

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link: This story was short but I didn’t connect with Miranda at all and that she fell in love with a ghost did absolutely nothing for me. I read through the whole thing waiting for that moment when I’d connect with Miranda and the story and sadly, it never happened.

Grade: 1 out of 5

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena:  This story felt like it took me a million years to read it. I didn’t connect with either Shy or Haley. I wanted to smack Shy every time he lied to Haley and then when we get to finally know about Haley, I wanted to smack her too. I wasn’t at all mad that the story ended.

Grade: 1 out of 5

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: I haven’t read any books by Jenny Han (though I do have her latest release waiting to be read on my iPad) but I was really excited to read this one since I’ve heard a lot of good things about her books.  I’m sad to say that this book didn’t work for me at all. It was just…weird. Natalie grew up on the North Pole, having been adopted by Santa Claus? She lives amongst the elves and even has beef with one elf in particular because that elf is dating the elf she wants but can’t have? The only part that I thought was cute was the end when Flynn hands her what she wanted all along but even that wasn’t enough for me to like the entire story.

Grade: 2 out of 5

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: I was excited to read this story. I adore all things Stephanie Perkins and I thought she delivered a great short story. Both North and Marigold were cute characters that really came to life in such a short amount of space. I laughed, I sighed and I grinned my way through this story. It was cute.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: I haven’t read any books by Levithan but was hoping for great things since he’s a pretty popular author of LGBT YA fiction. Unfortunately, this story dragged and the longer it went on, the more I just wanted to skip to the next story. The bitchy sister got on my nerves but I did think that it was sweet of the boyfriend to play dress up to make his boyfriend happy. I just wish that I could have connected with the characters more.

Grade: 2 out of 5

Krampsulauf by Holly Black: Another story that was just …weird to me. It’s a contemporary YA but with some fantasy elements thrown in and throughout the entire story, I kept wondering, “What the heck am I reading?” when it was finally over, I was glad to move on to the next story.

Grade: 1 out of 5

What the Hell have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Forman:  This is one of the stories that I was most looking forward to reading when I first got this book for review. I love Gayle Forman and knew that she would deliver another great story. I’m so glad that I wasn’t disappointed. I thought this story was well written, cute and I loved seeing Sophie fumble her way around Russell. It was just all around cute and I enjoyed this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire:  This story was cute. Bad boy doing bad things and Good Girl not casting any judgments, seeing the good in him. Something that not anyone else sees. I thought they were a cute little couple. I loved seeing them work together to try to fix the problems that were all around them. I’ve never read anything by McEntire before but I’m keen to try something else.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: This was another great addition to the book. I loved getting to know both Maria and Ben. They were a fun duo. I thought it was cute that Ben had a sixth sense for what customers and employees of the diner would want or in some cases, need. He brought life into that diner and in turn, into that town and also to Maria’s life. I loved seeing them grow closer with each passing day and I thought White did a good job of telling their story in such a short space. I enjoyed this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5  

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: This was one of those change places with someone and see how they live, or well, close enough to that kind of story line.  I was interested enough in the story to read it but there were times when I just had to roll my eyes down the street. Still, in the end, I was glad that I read this book and would definitely read more from this author because, Ethan was a cutie pie.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Overall, there were some pretty great stories but there were also some pretty bad stories. I’m not at all mad that I read this book though because while it wasn’t perfect, the stories that I did enjoy were just fabulous.

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Watch: Just One Day by Gayle Forman.

Posted December 14, 2012 by Rowena in Promotions | 5 Comments

This week’s book watch comes from an author who’s last two books that I read by her, I absolutely loved.  She created some characters that I loved so very much and I have every faith that I will love her new books as well.  With some authors, you can just tell, you know?
Here’s the book that I’m very much looking forward to.

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.  

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

Wow, to fall in love with a guy after just one amazing day and then wake up to find him gone? Man, that sounds like an amazing story.  A story that will plant itself right inside my heart and I’m so very anxious to read this book.  I’ve been seeing some good buzz about this book around the blogosphere so I’ve got ants in my pants for this one.  I.cannot.wait.

There’s not a long wait for this book, it comes out on January 8, 2013 so really, woo hoo! That’s just in a few weeks.  Yay!

Who else is looking forward to this book?

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Listen Up West Coasters! YA or Bust! 2012 Group Tour

Posted April 20, 2012 by Rowena in | 8 Comments


Hey guys!

All you West Coasters and Contemporary YA fans, the YA or Bust 2012 Group Tour is coming to a town near you (hopefully). Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins and Nina LaCour will be touring different west coast cities and if you’re in the area, you should definitely check them out.


Here are the deets!

  • 4/20: Chaucer’s Bookstore in Santa Barbara, CA at 7pm
  • 4/21: Los Angeles Book Fair in Los Angeles, CA at 12pm
  • 4/23: Children’s Book World in Los Angeles, CA at 6:30pm
  • 4/24: Barnes and Noble in Huntington Beach, CA at 7pm (OMG, this is near my work)
  • 4/25: Mysterious Galaxies in San Diego, CA at 7pm
  • 4/26: Roosevelt High School in Seattle, WA at 7pm

I’m definitely going to try to make my way over to B&N in Huntington Beach on Tuesday because it’s about ten minutes away from where I work and I’ll already be out here since I get off at 6pm. Woot!

..and that’s your scoop!

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My Boyfriend of the Month: Adam Wilde.

Posted January 4, 2012 by Rowena in | 9 Comments

Last year before my Mom died, I did a monthly post where I spotlighted one of my favorite heroes from the YA books that I’m reading but it feels weird to call them heroes because those are what we call the male main characters in romance novels and these YA guys are a bit young to carry that name so from here on out, I’ll be spotlighting a new boyfriend every month.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of these memes going around, the book boyfriend of the week and what not and my feature will be similar to that but instead of doing it weekly, I’ll be doing it monthly.

I haven’t done one of these posts in quite a long time so I’m going to kick the new year off by bringing this feature back…and my first boyfriend of the month is?

Adam Wilde from If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

When we first “meet” Adam in If I Stay, I thought he was a great boyfriend to Mia but when we see Adam again in Where She Went, I thought he was just a flat out great person. He’s that boyfriend that everyone wants for themselves. He’s that boyfriend that other girls are jealous over and he’s just a flat out fantastic person.

In If I Stay, Adam is going through a whole heapin’ amount of crap. His girlfriend is in a coma and her family, which was a second family to him are all gone and he’s in full blown grief mode. He’s grieving over the loss of Teddy and Mia’s parents and he’s scared to death of losing the love of his life, Mia, as well. But even as he’s scared out of his mind that the most important person in his life is going to die, he says things like…

“Please Mia,” he implores. “Don’t make me write a song.”

…and…

“All I can think about is how fucked up it would be for your life to end here, now. I mean I know that your life if fucked up no matter what now, forever. And I’m not dumb enough to think that I can undo that, that anyone can. But I can’t wrap my mind around the notion of you not getting old, having kids, going to Juilliard, getting to play that cello in front of a huge audience, so that they can get the chills the way I do every time I see you pick up your bow, every time I see you smile at me.”

You can feel the pain and grief in everything that Adam says throughout this book. You see the toll that everything that happened to Mia has put on him and yet, he still says things like:

“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”

For two people that are so young, they sure are put through the ringer in this book….and for Adam, it didn’t stop there.

In Where She Went, we get Adam’s point of view. We get to see what Adam was feeling and what he was thinking over things that went down in If I Stay and then we see where he’s at since Mia woke up. There are scenes from this book that will forever stay with me and quotes from Adam that make me all squishy with goodness inside. I loved him in If I Stay but in Where She Went, I loved him so much more. I loved him for scenes and quotes like these:

“My first impulse is not to grab her or kiss her or yell at her. I simply want to touch her cheek, still flushed from the night’s performance. I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet-not miles, not continents, not years-and to take a callused finger to her face.”

and…

“You dumb-ass,” I crooned, kissing her on the forehead. “You don’t share me. You own me.”

and even…

“I’ve blamed her for all of this, for leaving, for ruin-ing me. And maybe that was the seed of it, but fromthat one little seed grew this tumor of a flowering plant. And I’m the one who nurtures it. I water it. I care for it.I nibble from its poison berries. I let it wrap around my neck, choking the air right out of me. I’ve done that. All by myself. All to myself.”

Seeing Adam again, feeling what he’s been through, wanting to fix him is only a small part of why I loved this book so much. It’s the coming full circle feeling that I got when I was reading this book. It was reading things like this:

“Her hands were freezing, just like they always were, so I warmed them, just like I always did.”

You go into Where She Went and everything you want to know is all in there. The who, the what, the why…it’s all there and your heart that was broken into a million pieces in If I Stay is put back together and there are tears in your eyes and warmth in your heart that wasn’t there before. The growth that Adam went through in both books is evident in every word that was poured into both books. Reading both books will put you in both of their shoes and it’ll drag you through the depths of grief, through loss and it’ll help you find your way again.

As great as Adam was, there was plenty of conflict for him to go through for his story to be complete. I absolutely adored seeing Adam at his highest and then seeing him fall to his lowest and fight his way back to the top. It’s not all pretty but for me, Adam was the very best part of both books.

Adam’s character had depth and he had an old soul that you won’t be able to not fall in love with and if you haven’t read these books yet, I urge you to fix that because you won’t be sorry. For all of these reasons and so many more- this is why Adam Wilde is this month’s book boyfriend.

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy Adam’s book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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