My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.


Monday, April 11, 2011

If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman, and Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Boy, did I EVER hit the jackpot last week. I read two AMAZING YA books. Two? You may ask because, after all, I mentioned three above. I had read the companion book (the first book, to be sure) in the pairing a few months ago, and I think you should read them both together.

I know that I have the tendency to gush, and I think I should REMIND you at this time that I ONLY write about books I LOVE, so...GUSH ALERT! But these books are so gush-worthy, how can I not?
I read IF I STAY by Gayle Forman a few months ago and really liked it. Mia, a seventeen-year-old cellist is involved in a car accident that kills the rest of her family. Much of the book she is in a coma. Her boyfriend figures she is struggling with the question "If I Stay" because wouldn't it be hard to come back without your family. It was heart-wrenching and inspirational all at once, but as good as this book was, the story really isn't complete until your read WHERE SHE WENT, the follow up to Mia's story. I'm not sure what to say about this story without giving up the, er, story except that it takes place about four years later. I *really* don't want to give up any details about either book, but you MUST read it. I was literally breathless the entire book. I couldn't put it down. Not like I didn't want to/couldn't, but like I LITERALLY COULDN'T. The heart of this story was so intense and the characters so well-drawn that I actually wept with envy. Beautiful story. Take the two of them on your next vacation or better yet, get them for your next staycation (then you won't feel guilty about, say, missing the Acropolis or beaches of Hawaii because YOU WILL for this book). Also a great gift pairing for your favorite teen-age girl.

I also read BRUISER by Neal Shusterman. Someone described this book as "A great boy book that the girls will want to read, too". Absolutely. This book starts off with a seemingly simple storyline, but before long you are pulled into the complex mystery of Bruiser, the most lovable character I've seen in a while. Brilliantly written with characters you won't soon forget, I HIGHLY recommend Bruiser for teens everywhere. It will make them think twice about judging a person without getting to know them, and jumping to conclusions about kids 'on the fringe'. Oddly, I've not read much of Shusterman, but you can bet I want to read all his books now. Fantastic read. Another great gift book. (and remember, when I recommend a gift book, there's nothing offensive that would anger even the most protective teen mother who reads a portion of it out of context)

Also, it is National Poetry Month, so read some poetry today! If you want a good one to share with your kids, try LOVE THAT DOG by the great Sharon Creech. They are sure to love it (and you will, too!).

7 comments:

Liz said...

I wanna borrow them. About to finish a book and will be ready for more!!

Donna said...

Oh, Liz, I was going to call you to read this post because you MUST read them! Soooo good. Matt was so great to Haley yesterday. Thank him again for us.

ComaCalm said...

Me and Christina are hosting a Read Along for this book and I was wondering if you or anyone else would be interested? You can find out more about it here:

http://comacalm.blogspot.com/p/read-along.html

Sorry to bother you!

Shannon Hitchcock ~ Children's Writer said...

I really loved IF I STAY and now I can't wait to read WHERE SHE WENT. I'm so glad you loved it. I enjoyed the first book so much that I've been almost afraid to tackle the sequel...afraid it wouldn't live up to the first book.

Donna said...

Fear not, Shannon. It will not disappoint you. It's one of those books so full of heart that the characters haunt you for days after you finish it. Let me know what you think after you read it.

Donna said...

And yes, ComaCalm, more info, please!

ComaCalm said...

You can find all the info with the link, the idea is that we can all get to get together and discuss the book. =D

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman