Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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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.

This book has been on my shelf for way too long, and I’m glad I finally picked it up. I actually really enjoyed this book, I found it so easy to read and ended up getting through it in a few short days.

“And that’s just it, isn’t it? That’s how we manage to survive the loss.”

I’ve never read a book quite like If I Stay. It switches between the MC being in a coma and ghost-like state, and flashbacks of how her life was before the accident. I actually really enjoyed the flashbacks, and it made the pages speed by! I found this book quite comforting in a way, and the flashbacks made me feel so close to Mia, her family and her friends.

The only criticism I have is that she didn’t seem very real? I know, I know, she is literally a ghost. But it wasn’t that that bothered me. I just found her dialogue/thoughts really strange for her age sometimes, especially in the flashbacks when she was still a child. I can’t remember an exact example, but one piece seemed so odd that I actually read it out to my boyfriend. Staying on this theme, the book was so cheesy that it came out with some really weird fantasies – including Mia playing her boyfriend like a cello, and even going as far to run her cello bow over his body. If anything, this made me feel so embarrassed and awkward?

“Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it.”

But my complaints are only small. I did enjoy this book, it just wasn’t perfect for me!

★★★★★
4 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but for different reasosn, they’re both looking for a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day. 

All I could do while reading this book was compare it to More Happy Than Not. Because the difference is insane, and I loved loved loved this book! Firstly, it’s so unique, the way Silvera uses magical realism in his novels to change them up from being contemporary. It made They Both Die at the End so relatable and easy to read even though it wasn’t strictly real.

“But no matter what choices we make – solo or together – our finish line remains the same..”

I found the characters so much easier to relate to than in More Happy Than Not. Mateo and Rufus come from very different backgrounds but they share their deepest thoughts and feelings in this book. They’re both very tender and real. Nothing is hidden in this book, and it’s so pure that I ended up with tears rolling gently down my cheeks. I’d been told to prepare myself, but I hardly ever cry at books! This one just couldn’t be helped.

“..No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”

The plot was so easy to follow and the pacing was so good, especially as this book is set over only 24 hours! I really admire authors who can fill a book with the events of just one or two days. I have to admit, I admire Silvera so much after reading this book. Knowing the main characters are going to die is so hard, because I’m sure some people have gone in with the ‘I don’t care what happens to them they die anyway’ attitude. But Silvera knocked this one out the park. He made two dying boys live.

★★★★
4.5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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