If I Stay…A Movie Review

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I was lucky enough to score screening tickets for If I Stay 2 weeks before the movie came out thanks to a heads up email from Anna (thanks Anna!). I was excited for 2 reasons: 1) This was my first screening since Iron Will came out, yup, that long ago, and 2) I loved the book by Gayle Forman and the trailer for the movie fed into that love.

Originally I was going to try and read the book again before seeing the movie, but that didn’t really work out. And I have to say I’m kind of happy I didn’t. I remembered enough from when I read it many moons ago. But I also didn’t remember enough to compare it the whole time to the book which I think helped me to enjoy it even more.

What I loved:

  • The cast. – I actually thought If I Stay was cast perfectly. I like that they didn’t have a 25 year old playing Mia trying to pretend to be 17 (I’m looking at you 90210!) and that they used unknowns to play Adam and Mia’s parents. It added to the natural feeling of the movie. I didn’t find myself thinking of the actors as other characters they have played in the past. To me, they were Mia, Adam and Denny and Kat. I also really loved the actress they chose to play Kim, Mia’s best friend. She had the perfect vibe down as the best friend.
  • Mia and Adam. – Like in the book the relationship on screen played out very organically. I loved how both Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley brought these two characters to life, how they seemed to have a natural chemistry that jumped off the screen. They were Mia and Adam for me.
  • The music. – If I Stay is a very music driven book. Whether it is Mia with her cello, Denny listening to old songs or his former band or Adam and his band, music is a huge part of the story. It was nice to actually be able to hear that music brought to life. Whether it was the classical or the indie rock or the rock music, it added depth to the story that you may not get from the book. Plus Jamie Blackley singing was HOT!
  • The story. – The nuts and bolts of Gayle Forman’s book all stayed intact. Nothing deviated so much from the books that it stood out to me. Sure things were changed for movie making purposes, but it didn’t mess with the essence of the book.
  • The humor. – I had honestly forgotten that there was humor in If I Stay since it is such an emotional book. Between Kim and Mia’s parents, I feel like I laughed a lot more than I expected. It was a much needed break in between all of the emotional moments and one of my favorite parts of the movie watching experience.

What I disliked:

  • My favorite line of the book was missing from the movie.

Basically I didn’t dislike much. HA.

All in all If I Stay was a great adaption to an excellent Young Adult novel. You don’t need to read the book to enjoy the movie. It will help, but it isn’t needed. When I left the theater my first thought wasn’t that I needed to reread If I Stay or have an itch for the second movie. My first thought was that I needed to reread Where She Went (which I bought on my way home) so I could get wrapped up in the lives of these characters for a little longer. Definitely a movie I would recommend seeing and one I plan on buying when it comes out on DVD.

And if you haven’t read the books If I Stay and Where She Went, GET THEM!

*Movie out in the theaters today!

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The ABCs with Andi [2] – The One with the Birthday Giveaway (US ONLY)

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Welcome to the revamped ABCs.  In the past I have used this weekly Wednesday post as a link up but times are a changing. I’m switching things up as you have learned HERE.

We will go back to our regular guest poster next week, but this week I’m taking over.

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I’m sure you have heard (I’m not very shy about this) that today is my birthday. I turn the big 3-5 today! Sometimes I can’t believe I’m that old and then other times, like the lady in the YA section at Barnes and Nobles that asked me if I had a teenager, I feel very old. HA. But that is neither here nor there. Today is about my ABCs and the giveaway I have for you.

When I realized my birthday fell on a Wednesday I thought long and hard about what I could giveaway that goes with my ABC theme. I had a couple of things in mind, but then with the slight help from a few friends it all came together. Spoiler alert…it’s a good one!

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Alex and Ani Gift Card
I’m a major fan of this company an the bracelets. I’m sure you have seen my photos and my wishlist with the bracelets on it that I want. They are just so fun and I love how you can stack them and get all different ones. Winner will get a $20 gift card emailed to them.

If I Stay – Gayle Forman
When I was in New York for BEA Gayle Forman was at the Teen Author Carnival signing books. I was the second person in line for her which was awesome. And she complimented the necklace I was wearing and my manicure. Basically she is filled with win. Anyway, I had a copy of If I Stay signed specifically for a giveaway to take place closer to the movie release (movie is awesome by the way!). This will be shipped from me.

Stitch Fix Gift Card
I started using Stitch Fix a few months back and have gotten 3 boxes which I have reviewed here, here and here. I have my 4th box coming in September and I’m excited as it has been a while. I know a lot of people are weary of wasting the $20 on a style fee, so now here is your chance to see what you get at no cost to you. I explain how the service works in my posts, but if you have questions just ask away. Winner will get a $20 gift card emailed to them.

To enter just click on the photo below. Giveaway is US ONLY and goes until 11:59PM EST on August 19th.

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Sign-up are still open. Come and be a guest poster at The ABCs.

 

 

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Review: Just One Year – Gayle Forman

Review: Just One Year – Gayle FormanJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Speak
Published: September 30, 2014
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-stars

The compelling companion title to the much-lauded  Just One Day  follows Willem's transformative journey toward self-discovery and true love, by the author of  If I Stay.

Picking up where  Just One Day  ended, Just One Year  tells Willem's side of the story. After spending an amazing day and night with Allyson in Paris that ends in separation, Willem and Allyson are both searching for one another. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

Let me start by saying how excited I was when a friend got an advanced copy of this and let me borrow it before she even read it. She is totally awesome. I’ve been dying to read this book since I finished Just One Day back in January and it didn’t disappoint…for the most part. Although I didn’t love it as much as Just One Day, I really enjoyed Willem’s story which turned out to be a year of growth and changes.

Just One Year is the companion to Just One Day. I say companion because although it has the exact same characters and revolves around the same circumstances I didn’t find it to be a sequel. It was more a story on its own. It was Willem’s story. When we left our couple in Just One Day we never really got to know what happened to Willem and why he disappeared and what had happened to him. It was all a blank slate and Just One Year clears it all up. We get to see what Willem has been up to in the year since he and “Lulu” had parted. What obstacles he faced, what trials were thrown at him, how much he grew as a person. We find out if he was looking for “Lulu” or if he didn’t care as much. We really get to know him.

You know, I liked Willem a lot in Just One Day. What we knew of him it was good stuff. But it was surface stuff for the most part. Sure we knew his thoughts on love and family, but I didn’t feel we really go to know him. Well that all changed in this book and I liked Willem even more as I watched him truly become a man and not be stuck in that man/boy stage. When we first met him he was kind of a lost soul and “Lulu” grounded him, touched him in a way that would forever change him, and in the year they were apart, he was changed. From the first page to the last Willem changed and I loved being able to clearly see that transformation. We as the reader really got to be a part of it which isn’t always the case.

I know, this review is all very vague, but that’s because I don’t want to give away the wonderfulness of the book. Like I said, to me, it wasn’t as good as the 1st book, and I have my reasons for that that I can’t share without giving away some of the plot, but it really was a great journey. I didn’t want to throw in the towel at any point. I wanted to know everything I could and that is because of Forman’s style of writing which pulls you in. She has a knack for writing character stories whether it is Mia and Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went or Willem and LuLu from the Just One Day Series. You become a part of the journey and that is definitely what happened in Just One Year. I would definitely recommend it. It’s a great period and exclamation point on a great two-part story.

 

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Second Chance Sunday – Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman

Having been a huge fan of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went duology I was excited when I saw she had an earlier standalone book. I was able to borrow it from a friend and really enjoyed it. Not as much as her other two I had read, but enough. So I bring you today’s Second Chance Sunday, Sisters in Sanity.

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Title: Sisters in Sanity [Amazon]
Author: Gayle Forman [website]
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Borrowed/Library Book Hardcover
Stars: 3 of 5

Publisher’s Description:
Have you ever had the “out-of-control” dream? The one where you know you’re not crazy, but no one around you–not your parents, not your teachers, not even the authorities–will listen to you? For sixteen-year-old Brit Hemphill, the out-of-control dream comes true when her dad enrolls her at Red Rock, a bogus treatment center that claims to cure rebellious teen girls. At Red Rock, Brit is forced into therapy, and her only hope of getting her life back is in the hands of an underqualified staff of counselors. Brit’s dad thinks Red Rock can save her, but the truth is it’s doing more harm than good.

No girl could survive Red Rock alone–but at a treatment center where you earn privileges for ratting out your peers, it’s hard to know who you can trust. For Brit, everything changes when she meets V, Bebe, Martha, and Cassie, four girls who keep her from going over the edge. Together they’ll hold on to their sanity and their sisterhood while trying to keep their Red Rock reality from becoming a full-on nightmare.

My Thoughts:
First I must start by saying that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Gayle Forman. Anything that woman writes I am right there reading it. She has a way with words that just puts you right in the moment with the characters. She knows her subjects and she knows her readers I to me she is a master at connecting the two of them together and that is hard to find in a good author. With that being said I must admit I wasn’t 100% crazy about Sister’s in Sanity. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed it. I loved Brit and Jed and V and Cassie and Bebe and Martha. I loved how the girls relied on each other for support when they were thrown into this horrible situation where they had no control. I loved the friendship that was formed between the girls when they needed someone to trust unable to trust their own family or adult around them. I loved Jed and Brit’s relationship. Actually I more then loved it. There was something special between them from the get-go. Between the flashbacks and real time stuff I was very much smitten. But honestly the end of the story is what killed it for me. I HATED the end.

This was a solid 4 star book the whole entire reading experience. I was excited to be back in a Forman world and getting back into her head. And then I got to the last few chapters and I was so disappointed. I mean I like the happily ever after aspect of books myself, but the neat, all tied up in a bow on a silver platter aspect of this one really bothered me. For a book that was pretty great up until this point it let me down. Life isn’t all neat and tidy and neither should the ending of a book that is about girls being sent to a “treatment facility” for behavioral problem that are non-existent. I felt like it was a cop-out and that bummed me out.

But I honestly would never discourage someone from reading it because Forman really is amazing and so are her characters. Definitley check it out because the good outwayed the disappointment for sure.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Just One Year – Gayle Foreman

waiting*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a weekly meme that allows you to share a book you can’t wait to read!

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Just One Year – Gayle Foreman
{purchase}
Release Date: October 15, 2013

“Can you fall in love in just one day? Can you become a new person? How about in just one year? In JUST ONE DAY and its companion novel JUST ONE YEAR, sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey and easygoing actor Willem De Ruiter are about to find out against a guidebook-worthy array of foreign backdrops. Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself.”

*description from Goodreads
**picture found on PicMonkey and edited by me
***update: a friend lent this one to me and it arrived last night so I’m currently reading it.

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