Friday, December 19, 2014


FlippedFlipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss...
But every once you will find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.

The movie was highly-recommended and I loved it. It was almost identical to the book.

This story is written from the points-of-view of Bryce and Juli, with overlapping events. It showcased the characters' personalities. The author wrote it in a way that I can feel when the characters start to mature. It's funny and entertaining. It made me want to fall in love again. Ah, to be young and in love! :)

I wish people could see both sides of the story in real life. There would probably be less misunderstandings and more happy endings.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People need quality information, the leisure to digest it, and the freedom to act on what has been learned.

There's something about dystopian novels that attract me as a reader. I thought I had to adjust myself with the fact that this book was published in 1953 and it's describing today as a time where books are banned and burned. Oh horrors! Well, I need not adjust because most of what was written here stays true and still applies to current society, even symbolically speaking. Thus, we consider this a classic.

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

A Monster Calls

A Monster CallsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary.
And your mind will punish you for believing both.

This is not just some young adult, coming-of-age, fairy tale-ish book. It is beautifully written with a profound plot. Yes, Patrick Ness ripped my heart apart again. The book is not only about tragedy and loss, but it is also about strength and love.

We have monsters in our nightmares. We also have them in real life. We have to run away from some of these monsters. On the other hand, we have to face some of them.

You do not write your life with words... You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember reading this book when I was younger. Years later, I reread the book and it felt like I'm reading it for the first time.

There are reasons why a book is called a classic. This story has ideals way ahead of its time. It is also beautifully written. I even read it with a southern twang in my mind. The characters evoke an array of emotions. The scenarios touch sensitive topics.

I'm just glad Harper Lee did not end up destroying this book or else literature will never be the same.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014


ScheherazadeScheherazade by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short story is the perfect distraction. It's long enough to be interesting and short enough to leave something for my imagination. Albeit short, this story still contains the signature Murakami style of writing with intrigue, sex and hints of sadness. Every once in a while, when I need an escape from reality, I will read a short story by Haruki Murakami. :)

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A Long Way Down

A Long Way DownA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are reasons why people enjoyed or loathed this book. I have a love-hate relationship with this one.

“A Long Way Down” is the first Nick Hornby book I’ve read. Like some or most of us, I'm more familiar with the movie adaptations of his books, such as “About A Boy”. Watching the movie of “A Long Way Down” prompted me to read the book. I was curious. The plot was interesting—four people who were about to commit suicide met at the top of a building and created an unusual relationship with each other.

I thing that surprised me while reading is how often Nick Hornby’s writing makes me laugh out loud. He’s funny and witty. There are some thought-provoking lines and some flat and uninteresting ones. I wonder if I should read his previous books to see if I may turn into an avid fan. :)

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped BoxHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was curious and I wanted to be scared out of my wits. The story started as creepy and ended up being different from what I expected. Other people may not like that, but the plot grew on me.

Judas Coyne is a rock star in the twilight of his years. He faced his greatest challenge when a ghost started haunting him. Was it for revenge brought about by his promiscuous lifestyle or was it something else? The story has unexpected twists and the characters' have their soft spots.

This is the first Joe Hill book I read and I must say, the style of writing reminded me of his father, Stephen King. I am planning to read a couple more of his books and I won't mind this story to be adapted into screenplay (just like "Horns"). :)

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It feels strange to have spent so much time wishing for something, for someone, and then one day,to just stop.

There are books that absorb me into a different world as soon as I read the first line or first paragraph. Every time I open this book, I got transported to the world of the Song sisters. It doesn't matter if I'm reading it while eating lunch or while I'm commuting home. I think this is because of the way Jenny Han writes. She's a good storyteller even if the story is as simple as writing letters to likeable boys and them finding out about it.

You'd rather make up a fantasy version of somebody in your head than be with a real person.

I would like to think of myself as a passionate person and throughout the years, I have had a lot of crushes and have fallen infatuated (or in love) with men and boys-pretending-to-be-men. I've been friendzoned or forgotten or probably laughed at because I used to write poetry or send trying-hard-to-be flirty messages. The main character of this book, Lara Jean, reminded me of that side of myself and my experiences while growing up.

This story is funny and focuses not just on the drama of teenage crushes, but also on the love between siblings that even developed more after their mother passed away. It was about taking responsibilities, making life-changing decisions and accepting the consequences even when they smack your right back in the face.

The ending was a bit abrupt for me. Maybe it was because I wanted to know more about what happened to Lara Jean and the boy she chose.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.

August "Auggie" Pullman started the fifth grade. This story is about his experience going "mainstream" after being home-schooled. This can be the usual YA/coming-of-age fiction except for the part that Auggie was born with a congenital defect that distorted his face, thus, earning him several rude nicknames from other kids. "Wonder" tells how Auggie faced (no pun intended) the challenges of meeting new people and learning (the hard way) who among those are true friends. We have all gone through that challenge at least once in our lives.

This book is well-written. There are chapters that show other characters' points of view. It's fun to read through them while keeping in mind the personalities of these characters. This story inspiring. Those who have been bullied or judged because of physical appearance can relate to Auggie's experiences. Surprisingly, I was touched by the ending. I didn't expect this book to make me cry, but I guess a little bit of kindness and a lesson on kindness can go a long way.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Say What You Will

Say What You WillSay What You Will by Cammie McGovern
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

But it's possible to love someone for entirely selfless reasons, for all their flaws and weaknesses, and still not succeed in having them love you back. It's sad, perhaps, but not tragic, unless you dwell forever in the pursuit of their elusive affections.

Like many YA novels, this book has this coming-of-age and teenage-falling-in-love themes. What's unique about this story is that it revolves around two people who have physical and psychological disabilities. They struggle with their states of well-being and, at the same time, face the challenges of making big choices in life.

The first part of the book is very engaging. The characters are endearing with their own flaws that made me like them more. I was not hooked during the latter part of the book though. It felt like it was unnecessarily prolonged and the ending felt abrupt and forced. I was not as touched as I expected. For a book that's being compared to Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor and Park" and John Green's "The Fault in our Stars", maybe I expected too much.

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Monday, July 21, 2014


LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wasn't that the point of life? To find someone to share it with?
And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go? If you were standing next to the person you loved more than everything else, wasn't everything else just scenery?

I think I've mentioned it before and I will mention it again-- I want to write like Rainbow Rowell. She has this style of incorporating current pop culture, geekiness and love into a story that makes me giddy and with characters that I can truly relate with.

"Landline", however, is not the typical Young Adult novel I am used to. The main characters are within my age bracket and there is a bit of supernatural mystery included in the plot. This is not Rainbow's best compared to the other books I've read so far, but there's something familiar and comforting about her storytelling that reminds me of a hot cup of chocolate, a warm blanket and a good book during rainy days.

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Monday, July 07, 2014

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"After all, it's one thing to run away when someone's chasing you.
It's entirely another to be running all alone."

I wanted a light read that could bring back that dreamy, heart-thumping, cheek-blushing feeling that is love (or infatuation, whichever suits your fancy). I chose this book and I wished I could have started reading it while waiting for my flight in the airport because my imagination would have run wild.

Everything happens for a reason, including the a few minutes worth of delay, wrong timings and separation. This is a typical story of a 17-year old girl who is coping with the divorce of her parents, re-marriage of her father and falling in love. I find the main characters charming, especially Oliver, but maybe I expected too much from the love angle that the story fell short. I was probably looking for more swoon-y moments.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Outsiders

The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Sixteen years on the streets and you can learn a lot.
But all the wrong things, not the things you want to learn.
Sixteen years on the streets and you see a lot.
But all the wrong sights, not the sights you want to see."

Ponyboy Curtis reminds me a bit of Holden Caulfied (of "Catcher in the Rye"), but less cynical and more idealistic. The story revolves around Ponyboy's family and friends who belong to the "Greasers" part of society. They are from the lower class and their social stratum always clashes with the "Socs"-- the rich kids from the West Side. Ponyboy narrates this from a point of view of a 14-year-old kid who has seen too much, experienced too much and was forced to grow up fast. This is the same boy who loves books, clouds and sunsets.

I agree with Rainbow Rowell's review that the narration is just seamless. I can even hear their voices in my head including the accent and the twang.

I'm probably a few years late in reading this book, but I guess a story becomes a classic piece if it's socially-relevant at any given point in time. Big thanks to my friend who recommended this, among many other recommendations. My next step now is to watch the movie. :)

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That HappenedHyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that should be bought and enjoyed while turning the pages and admiring the illustrations. I was not a reader of Allie Brosh's blog, but this book made me a fan. This recounts some aspects of her life and it is funny, charming, witty and true. The depression and anxiety stories are poignant. What makes the stories hilarious is how I can relate to the feelings and situations in real life.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Liesl and Po

Liesl & PoLiesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

...If you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the road will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light.

I have read other Lauren Oliver books and I know her stories are well-written. I am also used to dystopian themes, but I also know that this is a children's book. What I didn't know is that this story was written in a way that can be heart-warming even (and especially) for those who have experienced a death of a loved-one.

This story contains the ingredients of a wonderful children's book-- alchemy, magic, love, pets, friends, family and sunshine. The story began in a dark place but as it unfolds, it seethes with innocent, warmth and hope.

But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

And The Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains EchoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Khaled Hosseini is an excellent writer. His novels have basically the same elements that make into a poetic and unforgettable story. The plot has the usual immersion of several multi-generational characters with intertwining stories told in a chronologically non-linear way.

I couldn't help but compare this to "The Kite Runner", though, and there are instances when my attention was not wholly captivated. Maybe I found it a bit long-winded. On the other hand, the first and the latter parts of the story touched me the most. Hosseini's works never fail to touch my heart and make me cry.

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Saturday, April 05, 2014


PanicPanic by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A lot of contemporary YA authors are good at writing dystopian novels and Lauren Oliver is one of those. I have yet to finish her Delirium series because I wasn't that much excited reading the third one ("Requiem"), but I am intrigued by her stand-alone books.

The latest one, "Panic", contains themes about survival, fear, love, friendship and the strong urge to get away from a suffocating life. I'm sure a lot of YA readers can relate to those. I applaud the twists of the stories, although I am not that enamoured by the characters. There were a lot of gripping moments, but the ending seemed abrupt and left me a bit disappointed. Overall, this is still an interesting read and has a storytelling quality that is still Lauren Oliver.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the reasons why I was not disappointed with this book is that I let go of my initial notion that this is a horror story. The pictures may have given this book a creepy look, but I think that's what made it interesting. The story was created and inspired by actual, random, old photos. I was immersed in the world that Jacob discovered-- a world of peculiars, time loops, wights, hollows and ymbrynes. The plot is mystical and magical, but it also contains themes of family, friendship and love.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading the first few sentences of this book felt like falling in love at first sight. I knew I was in for a treat. I also knew it was going to be a roller coaster ride. I couldn't peel my eyes off it.

Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

— W.S. Merwin

My head is a mess right now. A few hours after I finished reading the book, I don't think I can write a decent review. I have had my fair share of reading coming-of-age books, but this is probably one of the best. It's everything I want for in a story and I didn't want it to end. The writing was smooth and reading it felt like watching the story unfold on a screen in front of me. It was funny, witty, deep and emotional all rolled into the main character's simple wish to understand the world and himself.

This is a story of friendship, family, life and love. The characters are not without flaws. The Universe is an inscrutable entity with secrets that the characters want to unveil. In the end, the answers to their questions and the enlightenment to their confusion are just in front of them.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Sky Is Everywhere

The Sky is EverywhereThe Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jandy Nelson is a brilliant writer. This story was written in a beautiful, almost poetic way. On the other hand, I am not a big fan of the plot.

This book revolves around Lennie Walker who has survived the death of an older sister, Bailey. During her time of grief, she felt guilty about being in love and living her life knowing that Bailey will never experience that nor will she ever share moments with her again.

The thing that disappointed me about the plot in the initial up to middle part of the book is the way Lennie reminded me of Bella from the Twilight series. She was torn between two guys-- her sister's fiancé, Toby, who started getting sexually attracted to her, and a new boy/heartthrob in town, Joe. This part of the story made me decide to remove one star from this review.

I mean, if the quote below can describe how she felt with Joe, I don't understand why she still got confused:
"I've always been into the Big Bang theory of passion, but as something theoretical, something that happens in books that you can close and put back on a shelf, something that I might secretly want bad but can't imagine ever happening to me."

Well, my father passed away last year and it didn't make me want to have sex with anyone who totally understood how I felt. I wanted to stop reading, but I thought I'd give this a chance. I also would have given this one or two stars, but the end part redeemed it. I like the way Lennie began to focus on her family-- her Gram, her uncle Big and her "lost" mother, Paige. I appreciate this part when she started to open up and realize how selfish she has become.

This part got me a bit emotional:
"My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy."

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your LifeThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don't know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn't you. That isn't you at all.

I found this book because I found a quote about music a few weeks ago in Tumblr that made me search for the author. This is one of those books that I would take as light reading and one would either love it or hate it depending on how you can relate to Elise, the main protagonist.

This book ended up surprising me with its witty characters, funny lines and inspiring quotations. There are lines when I feel like the author got a thought or two from my brain and wrote them on this book. The story is easy-flowing, like reading someone else's diary and relating to this person in a lot of levels. I think I wanted a music-infused, fairy tale kind of teenage experience that's why I like this book.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

More Than This

More Than ThisMore Than This by Patrick Ness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking series. Like those books, "More Than This" is twisty, confusing, mysterious, intriguing with a dash of adrenaline rush in between.

I love the characters (Tomasz!) and their musings and conversations about life.

No, life didn't always go how you thought it might.
Sometimes it didn't make any sense at all.
You've just got to find a way to live there anyway...

I can't help but compare this to the previous Ness books I have read. Maybe I am not such a big fan of sci-fi-ish plots. Sometimes, I got bored with the way the story kept me in suspense and then end up with something a bit bland. Well, maybe I expected more than this.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is one of the reasons why I am a fan of fantasy.

It is a tale about a golem and a jinni who found themselves in New York, an ocean away from their place of origin. They pretend to be a part of the community (as a baker and as a metalsmith) until such time wherein they cannot hide their true natures from each other and from other people.

I am shipping Chava (the golem) and Ahmad (the jinni). Take note, this is not a love story. It happened during the 19th century. Usually, stories set during this time will require me to have easy access to a dictionary or a thesaurus. This story is different. This is a smooth read and I couldn't help but turn the pages to see what happens next. The last few chapters of the books can be perfectly described by my sister when she said, "There are surprises in every corner". Indeed, there were. I was a bit sad when book ended. I did not want to let it go.

I remember this quote about weirdness-- finding someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours and falling into a mutual satisfying weirdness called true love. Yes, I really wanted it to be a love story (too much reading of YA romances). This novel is intriguing, beautifully written, delightful and captivating. I can't wait to read more of Helene Wecker's books.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just One Year

Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)Just One Year by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like the previous Gayle Forman two-book series I've read, "Just One Year" has a way of fitting the puzzle pieces missing in "Just One Day".

This book gives a glimpse of Willem's life from his point of view. The first half is not as exciting as I wished it would be. The second half is more interesting as the events would coincide with what happened to Allyson in the first book. It made sense. There are times when I get frustrated because I know they kept looking for each other when in fact they just needed to see what's under their noses (or needed to see the person sitting alone on the same freaking beach)! But life's like that. Sometimes, we have to go through a lot of detours, meet people and experience new things to make us who we are. When we're ready and it's meant to be, it will just fall into place.

Or maybe I'm just overthinking now and the lines between fiction and my reality get blurry. An idle mind does this. Oh well. :)

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Just One Day

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Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)Just One Day by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One great author said, “Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” That is probably why I consider this a good book. It’s the ending that finally convinced me to rate this 4 instead of 3 stars.

For the past couple of weeks, I have read a couple of Gayle Forman books (both from the “If I Stay” series). I was touched by the family, love, death and life themes in those books that it conditioned my mind to expect the same. “Just One Day” is more of a coming-of-age, love story. I was not that impressed at first.

This is told from the point of view of Allyson, who went to Europe for a vacation. It was a high school graduation gift from her parents. There she met Willem, a Shakespearean actor. She decided to spend a day with him in Paris. Yes, it had to be Paris. She felt like a totally different person (Willem called her Lulu)—more daring, more adventurous, more honest during that day. Circumstances brought her back to her reality. She went to college and was depressed. She met a few interesting people, made new friends and eventually decided to go back to Paris. Like most girls, this is where our need for “closure” comes in. That, or she probably missed her "Lulu" side. After a year, she’s back to retrace her steps. What she found out changes her.

The author’s typical writing style is still there. The flow is simple yet smooth like I’m watching a movie using my imagination. Instead of the usual flat line than peak in the end, the story is peak, then flat line then peak and then abrupt ending. The applaud the idea of this book because it makes readers like me want to grab the next one. This is the first part of a two-part series. The next book, “Just One Year”, is narrated from the point of view of Willem recounting what happened after that one magical day in the city of love. Since I need my closure, I'm off to read the next one.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Color War

The Color War (Kindle Single)The Color War by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short story tackling a lot of different things such as life, death, love, culture, race, and friendship. The story is narrated from the point of view of a young African-American who was sent to a religious summer camp run by white teenagers. I would love to read more of this. I hope Jodi Picoult continues this and makes a full-length novel out of it.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Where She Went

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Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)Where She Went by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three years after what happened to Mia and her family in "If I Stay (book #1)", this book shows the life of Adam -- the reason why Mia chose to live. Adam made a vow and suffered the consequences.

I blame my personal experiences because I did not find this as heartbreaking as the first book, but I am sure there are a lot who would still suffer aching of the heart while reading this. I love music, so I appreciate how Gayle Forman writes a story where the two main characters are passionate about it. I also like the way she narrates it as one fluid story. There are no boring moments. Since I am a sucker for happy endings, I can't think of a better ending for this series.

I am looking forward to read more of her books.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

If I Stay

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If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read a book and imagined the moments in it to happen to me in real life. This book has quite the opposite effect. I read it and it reminded me of things that happened in my life-- recent, sad and painful things.

"I have a feeling that once you live through something like this, you become a little bit invincible."

The story is narrated from Mia's point of view while she was in a coma. A car crash made her an orphan when her parents died on the spot. Her younger brother died in the hospital a few hours later. She recounts bits and pieces of her almost perfect family life, her amazing boyfriend and awesome best friend. As she does this, she is reminded of the different reasons that created tug-of-war in her. Will she let go or will she stay?

I have started reading a couple of books this new year. I did not continue with one because it was too sad for me. My sister recommended this and I have become curious when I learned that the author will be in Manila a few days from now to do a book signing. I started reading it without knowing what the story was about. This is still sad, but this is also the first book I finished in 2014. I like it enough that I will read the second one in this series. :)

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