For my latest installment of my summer reading list, I read Gayle Forman’s “If I Stay” and “Where She Went.” These books have been on my radar for a few years now; they’re the kind of books that frequent young adult readers just know about, like “The Fault in Our Stars” or “Speak.” They’re also the kinds of books that you should probably read if you haven’t already. But I never wanted to read them. I knew how sad they were — like next level sad — and I just didn’t want to go there.
But then the movie trailer for “If I Stay” was released, and I didn’t want to watch it without having read the book, and I’m a bandwagonner, so I did the thing and read it.
And let me tell you, I am not ok. “If I Stay” made me feel everything, and it made me nervous and sad and anxious, but also hopeful. It made me question my choices and made me aware of my good fortune and how easily that can be lost. I was kind of mad after I read it, because it caused such a vivid and real reaction and made me despondent.
But then I read “Where She Went” and it was like Forman answered all the questions “If I Stay” made me ask myself. It offered the best kind of closure: one in which you don’t forget your pain, but you make peace with it and are able to move on and be happy.
So if you’re interested in an emotional tsunami, read Forman’s books. They’re all so great. SO great.