Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

While Matched was a welcome break from the vampires, werewolves, angels and witches currently flooding the YA market, it did not live up to its hype for me. The setting of the novel is thought-provoking, and the idea that even the color of a dress you'd choose is predicted ahead of time (there was a 78% chance she'd choose the green one, for example) is disturbing. However, that's pretty much as far as the book goes. Their society is one not heavily based on emotions, and this comes through the writing as well: I just didn't care very much about what happened.

There's a second book coming out in November, and I had it on my wishlist but removed it; if I decide to come back to this series, it'll be through the library.
3 out of 5 stars
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

One of the best books I've read in the past few years was If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  In fact, as recently as this past Christmas I talked about this book to my family.  Well, actually, I was talking about the author, who had this amazing insight about Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, and we were talking about that book, and, well, you understand, right?  Anyway, it was one of those "lucky coincidences" that I happened to win an ARC of the sequel Where She Went through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.  It arrived Monday, and I finished reading it Tuesday evening. 

This book is told from Adam's point of view, and it's set three years after the end of the previous book.  We know that Mia has made the conscious decision to STAY, to not "pass over" along with her parents and brother. Adam is miserable, and he's alone.  Mia, for reasons that are slowly fleshed out, broke ties with Adam soon after starting college at Julliard the fall after the accident.  Adam is now an actual Rock Star, the kind with screaming fans and the inability to walk down a street without causing a riot, but musical success has not made him happy at all.  Neither does his famous Hollywood girlfriend or his cabinet full of psycho-pharmaceuticals.  What he needs are answers, and only Mia can give them; however, she's been silent.  Answers are apparently beyond the reach of even the lead singer of one of the hottest rock bands on the planet.

Through a series of circumstances, Adam ends up face-to-face with Mia, and they have one night together, one night to talk, to work through three years of heartbreak, anger and misinformation.  We should all be so lucky....

One of the concepts of the book is closure: how to get it, how it's necessary, how it hurts when you don't have it.  I must admit that "needing closure" is a concept I've heard of, but never really understood until this book.

Another concept is about keeping the promises you make, even the ones you don't like and don't want to keep.  Replayed in this book is Adam's promise to Mia: if she would "stay," not pass over, then he be there to help her, or he would let her live her life on her own, away from him if he was too much of a reminder of all that she lost.  This is one of the reasons that Adam hasn't made more of an effort to contact Mia before now.

Overall, the book is heart-felt, heart-breaking and in general just plain wonderful.  I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a deeply moving story.  You may cry (I did) and you may slam the book shut in frustration and have to walk away (I did this too.)  I love that the author re-visited these characters to continue their story--I for one have thought about them since I finished If I Stay

I also love that the lyrics to the songs Adam wrote while he was mourning his losses are included in the book. In fact, this was probably what I enjoyed most. It gives depth and authenticity to the storyline.  And you can also see why Adam's band skyrocketed to such stardom; after all, everyone has "been there" suffering the loss (through death or a break-up) of a loved one, so the lyrics are universal and eternal. 

Go get this book--you won't be sorry!  As always, my links go through to, so feel free to click through and buy!
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