Posts tagged ‘ifistay’

May 21st, 2011

Fictional Characters I’d Name My Daughter After

by Madeleine Rex

Isn’t this a fantastic topic? I’ve robbed it from Audrey. I have definitely spent time contemplating this. After all, I’m a girl – it’s natural to daydream about baby names. Even more importantly, I’m a reader – so it’s natural to adore fictional characters to the point of ridiculousness. Hence, this post.

Fictional Characters I’d Name My Daughter After:

Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series. I actually plan on naming a girl after her. I absolutely love everything about her and love everything about the series and love everything about the people and have I mentioned I love her? See? I adore her to the point that I’ll throw punctuation and sentence structure right out the window. This is serious stuff.

Macy from The Truth About Forever. If I were being more literal here, all the names would be from books written in the 1800s. I love the old-fashioned ones. However, Macy is one of the more modern names that I really like. It’s unique and has a short-and-sweet quality to it that appeals to me. Plus, The Truth About Forever is an irresistible book.

Another name I absolutely want to use for a child someday! It’s short for Caroline, and I first came across it when attempting to read Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve loved the two other books I’ve read of Charlotte’s, but I couldn’t seem to get through this one. All the same, great and unusual name!

Margo from Paper Towns by John Green. Need I say more? Isn’t the name “John Green” synonymous with “never-ending amounts of awesomeness” by now? What? No? That’s not in your thesaurus? Well, they’re synonymous in my scrambled brain, and Margo is awesome by association. Plus, it’s a neat name.

Astrid, the wild flapper from Bright Young Things. There’s also a girl named Astrid on one of my favorite TV shows, “Fringe,” and they’re both inspiring, entertaining, and absolutely lovable.

Honorable Mentions (the following are great characters but have names I’m not crazy about): Andi (Revolution), Alex (Revolution), Rhine (Wither), Francesca (Saving Francesca), Frankie (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks), and Mia (If I Stay/Where She Went).

I would certainly read any posts similar to this one, should any of you decide to write one! If you do, let me know in the comments, and I’ll take a look. Happy Apocalypse!

January 3rd, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman

Published: April 5th, 2011

Number of Pages: 258

Rating: 4/5

Official Review Sent to Dutton*:

Where She Went was far more intriguing, thoughtful, and beautiful than I had expected. Gayle Forman’s style weaves a picture that is so intricate and succinct that, even in a mere 258 pages, she manages to suck you into the world of Adam Wilde, a world that has shattered and rebuilt itself but has gaping holes where pieces were lost in the process. The story is interesting from the start, but the moment Mia and Adam run into each other – seemingly by luck – the book takes off on an irresistible journey, not of self-discovery, but rediscovery.


It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. [From Goodreads]


First of all, a reminder is in order: I was not the biggest fan of If I Stay. Part of my disappointment with it was probably due to the hype surrounding it and my hopes, which despite my wishes, ended up higher than would be advised. When I came across an ARC of Where She Went, the primary motivation for my picking it up was again the hype (I’m hopeless).  Of course, there were things I didn’t like so much – things I realize would have happened had the story been true that I still wish hadn’t, but…

Boy, was I surprised. I really, really enjoyed it! I can’t even pinpoint why I didn’t give it five stars, though I stand behind that rating. I was in love with Adam’s voice from the start (thought not a fan of some of his word choice. You know me…). I wanted to read. At the end of every chapter, I’d think, “Just one more.” This book is like oatmeal raisin cookies to me (a compliment). Even with my excitement to keep reading, the length of the book is perfect. If it was any longer, I’d have been driven mad – and Adam along with me.

I also loved that everyone was older. Adam’s twenty-one, and it’s been a full three years since he has seen Mia at all. Yet, he lives his life as though it were yesterday that she waved goodbye to him at the airport. All the progress it seems he’s made – Shooting Star, his band, is majorly successful due to him, he’s dating a movie star, he’s going on a tour that’s been sold out and tickets are probably being sold on eBay for hundreds of dollars – is in vain because the one thing he can’t have, the one thing he promised to let go, is the thing he wants more than anything.

Seeing the differences and developments in everyone’s lives was fascinating, especially as my recollection of the events in If I Stay improved. Mia’s been successful as well, and, much to Adam’s chagrin, she seems far more put-together than him.

This book is such a thoughtful – even philosophic one. The bits of Shooting Stars’ songs at the beginning of chapters only add to this element, and the monologues, dialogues, everything throughout the book is complementary.

Where She Went undoubtedly touched me in a deeper way than its companion novel. The new versions of Mia and Adam, the patched-together-but-not-quite-whole ones, made for a fantastic forty-eight-hour adventure. I enjoyed the descriptions of New York and the memories of Oregon even more (naturally).

One of the fascinating elements of the story was the fact that Mia and Adam’s relationship seemed to grow and change even during their three years of separation – and I mean total separation. The closest they got were articles in the tabloids and newspapers. As they open up to each other and learn to deal with all the emotions – from hatred to love – that have been put on the backburner, their wounds are stitched up, leaving scars but not infection.

As I said in the review I sent to the publishers, this story isn’t about Adam finding Mia, it’s about him finding the resolution, the result he needed – quitting the Adam he’s become over the past three years and rediscovering himself.

Growth comes from every direction, including Mia’s. It seems at the beginning, just as it would to someone looking at Adam, that her life has improved tenfold and that there can’t be much to desire, but there always is. Once I got a peek into her, saw the light cast through the holes in the life she’s tried to rebuild, the story rounded itself further. I also learned to appreciate how much progress she had made, and I could respect and admire her a lot more than I had been able to in If I Stay.

Where She Went is a story about the recovery, rebuilding, and rediscovery of two desperate but strong people and their lives. It’s about fixing wrongs or letting them go. It’s about two people who are patching themselves back together.

*Super thanks for the ARC!

May 16th, 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Published: April 2nd, 2009

Number of Pages: 208

Rating: 2/5


“‘There are like twenty people in that waiting room right now. Some of them are related to you. Some of them are not. But we’re all your family.’

“She stops now. Leans over me so that the wisps of her hair tickle my face. She kisses me on the forehead. ‘You still have a family,’ she whispers.”


Yet another book that I’ve seen showered with praise and have not enjoyed. While cataloging books, I saw that my school librarian (who, as of Thursday, is one of my favorite people because she bought a bunch of books I want, including Paper Towns by John Green.) bought this book and remembered Sarah loved it. I checked out the nice, brand-new copy as soon as possible.

I read this book very quickly but for all the wrong reasons. I read quickly so that I could finally finish it and move on. I felt that the plot was underdeveloped. Nothing happened between the terrifying beginning and the awesome ending (one of the high-points of the novel). The flashbacks were incredibly frequent, and I found them irritating. I am not a huge fan of flashbacks in general, and often think that they’re bordering on tacky, however, Gayle Forman went about writing the flashbacks well. They simply clogged up the book.

The main plotline seemed like more of a way to link the various bits and pieces of Mia’s life we see through the flashbacks. Quite honestly, it just seemed like the plot was choppy. I would have liked more of the book to center around the now of the setting and have dealt with her decision. In my opinion, flashbacks=backstory, and we all know that introducing more backstory every other page can be tedious. Of course, those who haven’t read the book are probably wondering what I’m talking about…

Mia finds herself making the most momentous decision of her life. Or death. Or in-between.

After a tragic car wreck, Mia is in an out-of-body experience. Literally. She watches as her comatose self suffers through a collapsed lung, multiple surgeries, etc. She comes to realize that whether she lives or dies depends solely upon her. Does she go, or does she stay? Soon, it becomes evident that her list of greatest reasons to live is dwindling. The pros and cons of both choices are nearly matched.

I think the worst part about this novel is that it had so much potential. I would have loved to have Mia think more and remember less. Only some of the flashbacks seemed pertinent to the decision she was supposed to make, while others felt like they should have been cut.

Gayle’s voice didn’t stand out to me. It wasn’t that her voice was repelling, it was that it was average. It was monotonous because it’s the voice of so many other authors, one that didn’t seem very unique to me. I didn’t feel like I could recognize her work anywhere or that there was even an individual behind the words. Her writing was good, don’t get me wrong, but her voice was nearly nonexistent, unless, of course, it’s exactly like twenty other peoples’.

I didn’t feel like I got to know Mia very well, but you did learn to love the side characters. I loved her family, and there’s a particular scene with her Gramps that is fantastic. My favorite parts of the book were in the now, when her family came in and spoke to her while she was in her coma.

Spoiler Alert. (I know, what’s with me and spoilers recently?) Another issue with the sex in a book. It wasn’t the actual act of sex. Nothing happened that made me feel uncomfortable because the book was fairly clean. I also understood Mia’s opinion on sex beforehand, so I wasn’t shocked. My problem was with the fact that it was portrayed as repairing the relationship. Or giving it a good start. Whatever. I simply don’t believe that passing on the message that “you-must-have-sex-with-your-boyfriend-because-it-will-make-you-love-him-more-and-repair-your-relationship-and-make-you-feel-like-you’re-in-love-and-really-sex-is-just-the-glue-that-holds-every-relationship-together” is a dandy idea. Obviously, I’ve never had sex, but I can tell already that a relationship is about love, and that love is love, not sex. Tangent and Spoiler is Over.

I realize that I’m probably sounding like a jerk right about now. I don’t mean to discourage people from reading this book. I don’t mean to insult anyone who loves this book (there are a lot of people who adored it). In fact, here are some reviews you can read that express an entirely different opinion:

Best Book o’ the Month <– The post by Sarah that originally caught my interest.

If I Stay: THE SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I Stay / Gayle Forman

Book Review – If I Stay by Gayle Forman

In the end, I think that the end of If I Stay was the best part. I loved the end. It was written well and the motives behind Mia’s choice were moving and clear. The end nearly bumped the rating up to a 3/5, but I remembered that I gave Shiver a 3/5 and liked it a lot more.

If, however, I have not entirely talked you out of reading this book (which was not my intention), I’ve realized that many people have fallen in love with this story. And, very likely, you will, too. There’s something in this book that’s special. Remarkable. Incredible. I just didn’t see it.