Review: Where She Went By Gayle Forman

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: Book CoverDetails:  Where She Went by Gayle Forman

            • Pub. Date: April 2011
            • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
            • Format: Hardcover , 208pp
            • Sales Rank: 609
            • Age Range: Young Adult

Where She Went Synopsis:

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.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, Gayle Forman did a wonderful job with Where She Went because it can be read as a stand alone book.  Now, I am sure that it is even stronger if you have read If I Stay, but I had no idea when I picked this up that it was a part of a series.  And I wouldn’t have know by just reading the story.

This story of Adam who is struggling with his rock star status and increasingly more unhappy and damaging to himself and patiently his band and Mia his former girlfriend, who took off for Juilliard after a devastating car accident, that left the rest of her family dead.  Adam in a fit of frustration mouths off to a reporter about pictures that she has found of him and Mia in an old high school yearbook.  The past is too much and he wants it to stay there.  After wandering the streets, he does something he knows he shouldn’t and decides to see Mia in concert even thought she had a restraining order out on him.  What happens from here is classic – and you must read the book for yourself.

This is a great story of not only finding your self but finding what you didn’t know what missing.  I enjoyed the story and have plans to go back and read book 1 because I feel like it has a strong message.  I did feel like this book might have been a bit of filler for what might be coming but was really worth the read.

 

My Rating

Good Story – hopefully more to come!

*I purchased this book. All opinions are my own.

 

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent

Details:  Divergent by Veronica Roth

        • Pub. Date: May 2011
        • Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
        • Format: Hardcover , 496pp
        • Sales Rank: 295
        • Age Range: Young Adult
  Synopsis

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

 

My Thoughts:

After hearing Veronica Roth talk about her book at The Dark Days of Supernatural Event in June, I was super excited to read this book.  Listening to an author talk about their process and how they went about gathering ideas and writing the books always seems to pull me into the story more.

The story itself is about a young girl, Beatrice who about to go through the selection process to select her faction.  She does not want to let her family down but she knows that she cannot stay with them.  This is especially true when she goes through her test and finds out that she is something called divergent, but cannot tell anyone this.  She leaves her family and goes through an almost crazy initiation.  She meets Tris and begins to struggle with who her friends are and who is against her.  It also seems that there is a bigger problem out there and she doesn’t know what it is.

Veronica Roth build an outstanding world for this series.  I was impressed with the complexity of the different areas of town, some very familiar as present Chicago, but always with a twist.  I like her ability to take familiar things and make them different to fit what she needs at that point in the story.  For a debut author, this story was extremely well written without many gaps in story line or character development.   Relationships were a bit difficult because there was no relating to those of different factions.  I did feel in part that Beatrice did not “mourn” the loss of her family like I expected rather just jumped into her training head on.

My favorite story element in the story was the factions.  What an interesting way to take what we view as driving morals and turn them into a way to govern people.  I thought that this was a really creative take.

 

My Rating

Great Story – sitting on pins and needles waiting for book 2

*I purchased this book.  All opinions and view are my own

Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty QueensDetails:  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

  • Pub. Date: May 2011
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Format: Hardcover , 400pp
  • Sales Rank: 15,938
  • Age Range: 12
  • Lexile: HL690L
Synopsis:
From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A “Lost”-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
My Thoughts:
Okay, so I was not entirely sure about this book but I had been hearing such great things that I had to check it out.  A plane full of beauty pageant contestants crashes on a deserted island and they are forced to survive on their own but is this all it appears to be or is there more going on on this island.  There are very few girls left and honestly is seems that there are not a lot of skills from the remaining girls.  It is going to be a huge challenge to survive and make it back to the contest.  
Libba Bray is one of the funniest authors I have ever read.  This book was so funny, laugh out loud funny.  She has the ability to use humor to teach some very powerful lessons and you don’t even realize that it has happened until it is all over.  This book is quick witted and very quick moving.  I did not want to put it down because I just had to know what was going to happen next.  Everything from making watch catching systems out of evening gowns to exposing who each contestant really was deep down.  This was by far the funniest book I have read all year, and probably for years before that.
My favorite line in this book hits very close to home.  I am from Michigan and here is what Ms. Michigan had to say.
“Yeah. Hi. Jennifer Huberman, Miss Michigan.  Go Blue!  I am from Flint, the smaller Motor City.  Well, before they went bankrupt. Now, I’m from Repossessed City.  Sorry. Little gallows humor there.”
I applaud Libba Bray for the research she completed about all of the states and types of people she put into this book.  This is what made it such an outstanding read.  Not to mention, the unique idea, settings and challenges she brought to Beauty Queens.

My Rating:
Great Read!  I highly recommend this book.
*I was provided a copy of this book by Scholastic.  This in no way affected the opinions and views above.