I’ve read two books so awesome in the past month that I had to rogue review both of them.
If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
I actually found Where She Went at the library before If I Stay, but since I saw that Where She Went is a sequel, I wanted to read If I Stay first. If I Stay starts off fast and hard, with the main character, Mia’s, family all dying in a car accident within the first few pages. Mia, however, is left in a coma, and the rest of the book revolves around her decision to survive or die.
Where She Went takes place three years after If I Stay and is told from the perspective of Mia’s ex-boyfriend, Adam. While his band has exploded to fame since Mia’s accident, his mental state has deteriorated at the same speed, and he’s a wreck. This book chronicles his attempt to both reconcile the way his life currently is and the way he wishes it were.
I absolutely adored these books. They are, without question, the best books I’ve reviewed since I started doing these Rogue Reviews. I simply could not put either one down. I even went through the book discussion questions at the end of If I Stay because I was so into it. The conclusion to If I Stay also almost had me in tears, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is something that never happens to me when I read. I will say that If I Stay is better than Where She Went, but this is not to suggest that Where She Went is bad in any way. Gayle Forman’s writing is simply impeccable. She draws you in instantly and holds your attention until the last page. She is easily one of the best young adult authors I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. I cannot possibly recommend these books enough.
This Rogue Review is kind of cool for me, because it’s of a book I found at the library. My initial idea behind this whole review thing came when I lived in Chicago the first time and spent a lot of my commuting hours reading random books I would find at the library. This month’s book was the first one I checked out from the library now that I live here for real, so things have somewhat come full circle!
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Stay with Me by Paul Griffin
Stay with Me is the story of two teenagers, Céce and Mack, and the complications of their relationship. The story is told from alternating points-of-view, so the reader gets Céce and Mack’s side of the story. The two worked together at the same restaurant, were set up through Céce’s brother, but particularly bonded over Boo, a pitbull Mack rehabbed. Mack had a rough past, though, which eventually catches up with him and results in actions that threaten his relationship with Céce.
I’ll be honest: even though I’m 21, I still really enjoy Young Adult literature. I guess part of this is due to the fact that I don’t feel like I can particularly relate to many of the characters in adult literature. While I may not be 15 anymore, I at least have some idea of what it’s like to be a teenager, whereas I have no clue what it’s like to be a burned out 35-year-old divorcee. When I went to the library, I tried to find a “grown up” book to read, but the YA section kept calling my name and I ended up with this book.
Stay with Me may not have been my favorite book ever, but that’s certainly not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading it. Mack’s talent with dogs really warmed my heart. I thought Griffin did an excellent job making this story real. The characters weren’t artifical or shallow and took me on a wild emotional ride. This book may not be what everyone my age might gravitate towards, but I still think it was a very well-written, engaging read.
It’s the middle of the month again, which means it’s time for the next round of Rogue Reviews!
Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff
Stuff Christians Like is a published collection of many of the essays that can be found on the blog by the same name, Stuff Christians Like. The author, Jonathan Acuff, uses a tongue-in-cheek approach to comment on all sorts of things anyone who has spent a decent amount of time in an American church would recognize. The book covers all sorts of topics, from prayer to church to the Bible, but all in a way that tastefully pokes fun of the idiosyncrasies many American Christians have adopted (such as using the word “just” over and over in a prayer and the ubiquitous metrosexual worship leader).
My sister bought this book for me for graduation because she thought I would appreciate Acuff’s sense of humor, and she was completely right. Several of the essays had me in tears of laughter. It’s definitely not something I would recommend to someone who can’t take a joke about church, but if you’re someone who doesn’t have a problem acknowledging and laughing at your own quirks, I would definitely suggest picking this book up.