Overview An introduction to a possibly sad story. Review (with Spoilers) In preparation for the movie which is to come out August 22nd of this year, and star Chloe Grace Moretz, I am doing a chapter by chapter series, which in July I hope to accelerate. Now, will it actually take me to August to…


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Overview

An introduction to a possibly sad story.

Review (with Spoilers)

In preparation for the movie which is to come out August 22nd of this year, and star Chloe Grace Moretz, I am doing a chapter by chapter series, which in July I hope to accelerate. Now, will it actually take me to August to finish this book, I can’t tell you, but considering work and school, it just might. But enough about my life outside Wherever I Look, let’s get to the details.

Characters & Story

In the first chapter, we meet our, currently unnamed, protagonist and learn quite a bit about her. She has a boyfriend named Adam, who she met two years ago and has been dating a few months; she is a classically trained cellist, and has been playing 10 years and has ambitions of getting into Julliard, and she is one of four in her family. She has both of her parents and a younger brother who is 8. She herself is 17.

Her dad is a teacher and mom a travel agent and on the day we meet this currently unnamed girl, it seems boyfriend Adam and his band Shooting Star are doing well, she has a Beethoven piece to practice and in their county, within Oregon, an inch or so of snow has led to a snow day! So with the kids and dad having a day off, the mom takes one off to and they decide, as the snow melts to what is described as Oregon’s usual wetness, to go visit family friends and the children’s grandparents. However, within a single moment plans change and then we see this unnamed girl staring at something horrible on the side of the road.

Plot Analysis

As of now, there isn’t really much to analyze nor talk about. The first chapter, and I’m assuming chapters are indicated by this lead like separation and not the dash lines, just introduces us to the family and talks about the unnamed girl’s boyfriend and give the most briefest stuff on the family friends. From there they slam right into, what I guess, is going to be the main focus and though I feel no real connection to care about the girl at this point, at the same time it took me awhile to build toward liking Th1rteen R3asons Why, by Jay Asher, which, if I recall right, also started the book off on a rather depressing note.

Overall

With approximately 17 chapters to go, and less than 17 weeks until the movie, I am not going to judge this book by its opening chapter. For while it seems very ho-hum, and sadly on the cover they say a Twilight fan would love this, full disclosure I read that series, I am just hoping it picks up. Otherwise, I’ll end up replacing this book with another. Probably one of the John Green novels I haven’t read.


Chapter 2

Overview

A brief history of Mia’s found love for the cello, and then we continue where we left off from the last chapter.

Review (with Spoilers)

As we continue the story, which will likely take up both Saturday and Thursdays once American Horror Story – Coven ends, we learn what first led to Mia, the now named protagonist, to finding the cello, and we also learn about her family a bit more. For example, seemingly she is the outcast of the family since they are all matured hippie/ rock types, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and she is the scrawny classical loving girl. But, considering her boyfriend Adam, it seems while she may not have got the jeans, she wouldn’t mind someone like her parents for love.

Characters & Story

In this rather short chapter, Mia talks about her first recital and how she got her first cello, but really the main bit Mia tries to put out there is that because of her love for the cello, and classical music, much less the fact she looks different, and her dad makes it known she is, she does have some insecurities. For example, she notes that her dad, when she was a kid, would joke that maybe their baby was swapped, and also her parents laughed when she first went for the cello, thus making them your usual, screwed up, but loving parents.

Mind you, though, the dad, post-laughter, did invest in his daughter’s ambitions and made sure she got herself her own cello, first a rented one, then an owned one, so he does rebound quite a bit. But, once we get past Mia giving us some background on herself, and her family to a point, we are at the hospital with her and hear the good news that Teddy is alive, though we don’t get much more information than that. Lastly, we find out that Mia has a friend named Kim, who wishes to be a photographer.

Overall

After a long week, admittedly sometimes all you need is a good book to take your mind away from your own responsibilities and problems, and though I was sort of “eh” about the book in chapter 1, I’m starting to get into it. With Mia being the dark hair/ eyed sheep of her family, and yet loving a guy who sounds like her dad back in his heyday, things are getting interesting. I do wonder though if every chapter will be split between her past and her present, also whether she maybe the only spirit, for a lack of a better term, we meet?

Most of all, though, I’m waiting to read what happens when Adam finds out and how he acts as her boyfriend. With the title being If I Stay, I do wonder if it means more than simply if she decides to keep fighting for life. It could be a question of if Adam will stay, amongst the many different angles the title can have. Either way, consider me intrigued.


Chapter 3

Overview

Mia and Adam’s first date paired with us meeting Mia’s grandparents

Review (with Spoilers)

As we continue on with If I Stay, I am continuously left wondering what state is Mia in? In the chapter, she, herself, admits she isn’t sure what she is and finds it odd that she can see no one else like her in the hospital. But, while I must admit I am not strongly fond of the story when it hits present day, at least in the past things are a bit more straightforward and make for good reading.

Characters & Story

In the first half of the chapter the focus is how Mia and Adam start going out. As we learned in the last chapter, they shared a music room together and from there they had the occasional conversation, which turned into him flirting with her, and her not understanding why, and this eventually leads to him asking her out on a date to see her favorite cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.

As for the present day, Mia’s body has gone into surgery and her injuries are extensive. But, with her not being able to feel anything, and her wondering if other ghostly figures maybe around, she sneaks out of surgery and walks about. Unfortunately, for both her and the story, all she sees is the living and breathing who are capable of moving things, unlike her who can’t walk through walls or open a door. But, as with previous chapters, as much as we get to know Mia, we get to know her loved ones and this time around we are introduced to her grandparents, on her father’s side.

Her grandma is described as practical and the grandpa is only talked about in terms of how the dad, grandpa, and Teddy look similar to the point only their body shape looks different. She talks about their blue-gray eyes and unfortunately the chapter ends without us hearing their conversation, or getting an update on Teddy.

Overall

As noted in the intro, I find the first half of each chapter, which takes place in the past, far more interesting than what happens in the present. And I think the reason is, Mia presents herself, overall, almost like a dull person’s whose only contribution to the story is about talking about friends and family who are far more interesting than her. With this, her insecurities show in a way which is relatable, but at the same time it makes it so that in the present time she seems like a bore to spend time with in comparison to when she is talking about hanging with Adam, her family, and I assume the next chapter will likely include a time she went out with one of her friends.

But, despite this little bit of criticism, I feel like continuing on until the end. Though I must admit, if it wasn’t for the movie, and the fact I already have 2 chapters up, I’m not sure if I wouldn’t drop this book for some time and pick it up months later. Take that as you will.


Chapter 4

Overview

What led to Julliard is talked about, alongside another update.

Review (with Spoilers)

I may have to start doing two chapters a day since it seems the chapters are becoming shorter and shorter, if not me wanting to know how this ends more and more. But, as we continue to navigate through the past to understand Mia, and her present, I am beginning to envision how this could play out in a movie. I mean, you can see what they would cut, keep, and maybe what they may change for the sake of the picture. Though, as of Chapter 4, I do think, like with many films I’ve seen lately, this may be better for a series than a movie.

Characters & Story

In the first half, there is a mixture of talking about her grandparents, who are in the hospital, and how they met, combined with how Julliard ended up on Mia’s plate. Starting with the grandparents, Mia’s grandma was a go-getter who, in her early 20s, decided to, in the 1950s, go by herself from her life in Massachusetts and go be amongst the trees in Oregon. There she met the biologist who would become her husband, and though she visits her home state during the year, her home has thoroughly become Oregon.

When it comes to Mia, though, and her Julliard ambitions, this was no work of her own. In fact, she was settled with the idea of going to someplace local, not too far from Adam, until her Grandmother’s family planted ideas of Julliard, which lead to her Grandmother taking the reins on getting her granddaughter there. And though, perhaps at first, this whole situation does make it seem Mia is being pushed into a direction that she perhaps doesn’t want, the mere idea of going to Julliard eventually infects her and though she tries, at first, to not overwhelm herself with the idea, after her audition went well, she really became committed to the idea of leaving her family in Oregon, and heading to New York City.

As for present day, Mia is now in the ICU and in “grave” condition. But, the grandparents inform Mia’s social worker that family is on the way, but Mia is worried about no Adam. And, in fact, with her being out of her body for so long, it seems she was beginning to feel separated from the incapacitated body and whatever spiritual form she is now.

Overall

In all honesty, though I am growing to like this book, I am still struggling to see what made this get bought and made into a movie. For though I don’t dislike Mia, she does come off slightly generic still. I mean, she seems very much like all the girls who usually are the love interest in some boy’s coming of age story, but the angle played, with her being comatose, is the only thing which sets her apart. Overall, though, I honestly like the first half of each chapter far more than the status updates which really seem dry. But, then again, maybe Ms. Forman felt that way too since they are becoming shorter and shorter in comparison to Mia talking about the past, or giving details about her family.


Chapter 5

Overview

Between the story of Mia’s rocky start with Adam to Kim finally showing up to the hospital, the book got slightly more interesting.

Review (with Spoilers)

Admittedly, I probably hem and haw a bit too much about the book. Maybe it is because most of the books I’ve read of the young adult variety are potential classics, while If I Stay is just entertaining. But, either way, with some odd eroticism and Kim’s personality coming into play this chapter, I felt entertained.

Characters & Story

The first half of the chapter goes over the rocky start of Adam and Mia’s relationship. Being that Mia is more into the classical music scene, and Adam is on the way to being a rock god, there is an apparent issue which comes when opposites attract. But, it isn’t so much the people, being Mia and Adam, which cause issues, as much as their environment. Mia is uncomfortable in Adam’s world and, in my opinion, Mia isn’t fully comfortable yet dating. I say this because it seems she and Adam have some issues communicating outside of the place they met, and she notes this politeness which makes them sound like an old married couple who, after decades of being together, have settled into a relationship which may have lost its spark, but is comfortable.

But, after a family dinner, Forman stars trying to get a little erotic with it. Adam is talking about “play me like one of your cellos” (not an exact quote), and Mia gets strummed like a guitar and I must say I was a little surprised after the sort of tone the book has carried thus far. But, perhaps it is because when Mia talks about her family, and Adam thus far, they seem so grounded and though Mia has mentioned the issues she has had with her not looking, and liking stuff, like her family, these issues came and gone. However, with this chapter, we are back to talking about Mia in such a way in which it feels like Forman is trying to detail her in such a way where she can be interesting, and not just the people she knows.

Speaking of people she knows, Kim arrives to the hospital and comes in with mother in tow. Making for another character introduction which puts Mia in a position where it feels like she competes to be the most interesting character in the book. For, while details aren’t huge when it comes to Kim, since all we learn about is her hair is dark and usually braided, and the fact she is Jewish, her personality sort of explodes on sight and draws you quickly away from the meek Mia.

Overall

I realize my feelings of the book are probably inconsistent, at the same time, each chapter feels like a sound wave going from one to the next. Sometimes you get chapters like this which give you an eye-opening moment, and others seem almost tedious for, while they provide you information, there isn’t much enthusiasm leaping off the page. It’s like, with Mia being stuck in some sort of limbo, she is just talking to us since there is nothing better to do. Which, just makes for a boring interaction sometimes.


Chapter 6

Overview

How Mia met Kim, and the grandparents see Mia

Review (with Spoilers)

Though part of the chapter features a fist fight, the story maintains its mellow appeal. Mia continues to be the observer trying to give you details more about everyone else than her, and I’ve come to accept this. But, now I finally understand the point of noting the time between Mia talking about the past and the present. The first 24 hours are what matter toward us learning how Mia will ultimately turn out and around 8:17 AM is the accident and we are currently at 4:47 PM.

Characters & Story

The first half of the chapter informs us how Kim and Mia became friends. To me, it isn’t the most interesting tell to read, though perhaps an audiobook may liven it up, but overall all we learn is that the two of them were like magnets everyone forced together, despite them pushing apart from one another. But with one fight, which came after Kim called Mia a bitch, for really no good reason, seemingly they snapped together and have been friends ever since.

As for her status at 4:47 PM, she is stable and may end up off the ventilator, and now the social worker has allowed her grandparents, and assumingly new guardians, to go see her. With this, despite Mia being so open to describing people, sadly Forman doesn’t bring much detail to the grandparents’ faces. In fact, I’d dare say that I do feel sometimes the information shared almost comes off shallow to the point where everyone just doesn’t seem fully human. For though we have so much information about Mia’s parents, about some of her struggles, Adam, Kim, and now her grandparents, it just feels like no one really jumps off the page and into your imagination. I mean, though I can see the scene play out, it all looks greyscale and with a weak pulse.

Overall

The next chapter, which I can’t help seeing on my e-reader, starts off interesting, as most of the background information parts of the chapters do, so maybe another spark can illuminate this book. I must say, though, at this point, this probably will be the last book I read of Forman’s because I am really struggling to get into this book, and even when it does get my attention, then something leads to me losing interest all over.


Chapter 7

Overview

This chapter is rather short and outside of touching on how Teddy and Mia came to be, there isn’t much here.

Review (with Spoilers)

Characters & Story

The chapter begins with a bit more details in terms of her parent’s lives and relationship, though not with much detail. We learn that they were only together a year before marrying, since though Mia’s dad outer appearance was alternative, internally he was quite traditional. Which, I’ll admit, is an interesting thing to picture, a man with blue hair in his early to mid-20s getting married and having a kid not too long after. But, outside of the slight interesting detail of the mom not having the best upbringing, of which all we learn is the dad was AWOL and mom was likely a piece of work, and also the trouble of getting pregnant with Teddy, the usually interesting first half of the chapter was bleh.

As for the second half, it’s all Mia just sorting her thoughts. Being that she is in some sort of limbo and no angels or even other souls are around, needless to say, her faith has been tested and has failed. But, the real issue at the moment is the fact that I don’t think she knows how to wake up. And I sense a slow building fear that perhaps she may not wake up. I mean, we are still within the first 24 hours so there is no definite she is gone or she is taking her time, but all things considering, what is she waiting on? Mind you, the idea of not having her parents anymore is frightening, but so is the idea of leaving Teddy and Adam. Which leaves us with the chapter’s ending asking: “Where the hell is Adam?”

Overall

I am of the opinion that this whole splitting the chapter in half thing, while maybe a good idea at first, isn’t. To me, it would have been better if a full chapter focused on the past, then we leaped to the present since there are times when the details feel so sparse for one side, and then heavy for the other. With this chapter, though, both sides felt lacking and it didn’t have the usual one side compensating for the other feel. Still, with 8 or so chapters left, I won’t say it couldn’t get better, but I’m definitely having low expectations.


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