i've been reading quite a few young adult novels lately. when you go to bookstores, there's a big section that's dedicated to YA fiction. i used to think young adult was the "sweet valley high" series and the "sweet dreams" books. these days, some topics, i think, are not quite suitable for "young adults"(what age range is this anyway?)
"if i stay" was recommended by toni, and when i looked it up, it seemed to be in the same thread as "the lovely bones", where the main character was telling the story from another dimension. mia, a seventeen-year old cello player figures in a car accident with her family. from here, the story goes on to show how mia's family and friends cope with her stay in the hospital, as well as mia's perspective on what is happening around her.
there's a lot of flashbacks, where mia recalls moments with her family, her boyfriend, her best friend. those actually helped in building the characters in your mind, what her parents and younger brother were like, for example. music plays an important part, and i actually researched them on the 'net after i read the book.
in the end, you're forced to think about what you would do if you were in that situation. getting to listen to what your family and friends say when they talk about you, some telling you that it's ok to go and other voices saying you should stay. what would you do?
"where she went", the sequel, is told from the point of view of adam, mia's boyfriend, adam, about what happened after her accident. i read this immediately after the first, to keep the momentum going, and i felt the first book was "bitin".
this one felt a little bit more like a cameron crowe movie (ie. "almost famous"), for the music references, and then combined with a little "before sunset", because of all that walking around new york and talking about the past. again, there's a lot of flashbacks. i feel there's a lot of winding prose before getting to the end, but this book finished the story off nicely.
i actually liked the way that gayle forman wrote these books, i feel that they capture teenage issues and angst accurately. writing one whole story and then splitting it into two books, i feel, is such a marketing and sales strategy. for movie adaptation purposes (and this IS being made into a movie now), i just hope they just make
one movie. i feel the audience will be cheated if they turn this into two parts. this is NOT the "hunger games" type of book to make a franchise out of.