Friday, October 9, 2009

If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Publication Date: January 1, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 201
Format Read: Library book

Summary: Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones. Stay true to her first love - music- even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving behind her family and friends?
Then, one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

Wow. Can I start by saying this book surprised me? The details in the anecdotes were gripping, and Gayle Forman did a fantastic job weaving the characters lives together, so they all wound up in the same place. I didn't expect to feel so attached, and when I found myself crying, I didn't realize it was for Mia. Forman was able to craft the story so carefully, that without using any fantastic or outstanding sentences, she still managed to weave it through the reader's life.

And the tie to music was uncanny. Music changed my life, just as it has for Mia, and Forman must feel the same way. The descriptions of how her life was complete and totally intertwined with song was genius, something everyone should notice and try to understand, because music does that. It grabs you by the hand and takes you to a world you've never been to before, but you want to stay there forever.

This book was surpirsingly wonderful.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Slept Away

Slept Away by Julie Kraut
Publication Date: May 9, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Pages: 320
Keywords: camp, summer, friendship
Format Read: ARC from Traveling to Teens! (Thank you!)
Get It: Book Depository
Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and-- as soon as her parents leave for the Hamptons-- partying at her classmates' apartments.
But this summer Laney's mother has other plans for her. It's called Camp Timber Trails, and rustic doesn't even begin to describe the unair-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Lany is way out of her element--the in crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.
Splattered with tie-dye fallout, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawal, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser in the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes that her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she has to start asking herself some serious questions. Can camp cool possibly translate to cool cool? Summer camp just might turn this city girl's world upside-down.
The thing I loved most about this book was its simplicity. There was the typical storyline, but Kraut didn't try to make it anything but, giving the story a sweet and innocent edge to it. The subtle details were enough to get the point across without being overkill. The elegancy of the non-elegant was really what made this story.

Your average unlikely-friend-but-outer-geek character was, of course, mentioned in the form of bunkmate Sylvie, who sarcastically helped Laney make it through a dance reheatsal. The mean clique was led by Hayden, a girl with a vengence. In addition, two unlikely superhero guys showed up, making it more cliche, yet entertaining because Kraut didn't try to make it fancy. It was what it was, and that's that."

This made me yearn for summer again, sitting in class looking aimlessly out. Not in a particular direction, but just out.