Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Cracked by K.M. Walton

"Waiting on Wednesday" is weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases we're excited for.

With a heavy focus on the supernatural and dystopian genres in YA literature, good contemporary works often get overlooked. And Cracked by K.M. Walton sounds like it has the potential to be an excellent and gripping novel, so I can't wait to check it out!

Details: Expected to be published in January 2012 by Simon Pulse.

Description: Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.

Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.

When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better…

Monday, 19 December 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Scholastic, 482 pages.

Description: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Rating:

Friday, 16 December 2011

Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

My edition: Paperback, to be published on January 5th 2012 by Simon & Schuster, 288 pages.

Description: It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything.

Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Rating:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Selection by Kiera Cass

"Waiting on Wednesday" is weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases we're excited for.

Oh god just look at the amazing cover of The Selection by Kiera Cass! I do not normally go hoo-ha over a frilly dress, but this one just makes my inner girly girl come out and squeal in delight. Storylinewise the novel sounds like The Hunger Games, but with additional pretty dresses and killer high heels. Awesomeness guaranteed.

Details: Expected to be published in April 2012 by HarperTeen.

Description: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Dutton, 338 pages.

Description: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better.

But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future.

And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door

Rating:

Friday, 9 December 2011

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by HarperCollins, 338 pages.

Description: The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Rating:

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

"Waiting on Wednesday" is weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases we're excited for.

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armenstrout looks to be Pushing Daisies meet YA paranormal romance. And since I am going through some serious Pushing Daisies withdrawl I'll take anything that sounds even remotely like it (and to be fair, Cursed sounds intriguing and exciting in its own right too!).

Details: Expected to be published September 2012 by Spencer Hill Press.

Description: Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Theatre review: Matilda the Musical

Synopsis: Roald Dahl's much-loved story bursts into life on stage in this brand new musical version by Dennis Kelly and award-winning musician and comedian Tim Minchin.

Cast: The role of Matilda is shared by: Eleanor Worthington Cox, Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram and Sophia Kiely.

Adult actors: Bertie Carvel (Miss Trunchbull), Paul Kaye (Mr Wormwood), Josie Walker (Mrs Wormwood), Lauren Ward (Miss Honey), Marc Antolin, Verity Bentham, Peter Howe, Michael Kent, Melanie La Barrie, Matthew Malthouse, Alastair Parker, Nick Searle, Emily Shaw, Matthew Clark, Leanne Pinder, Rachel Moran, Lucy Thatcher, Tim Walton and Gary Watson.

The three teams of eight young performers who recreate the roles of Bruce, Lavender, Amanda, Nigel, Eric and the other pupils at Crunchem Hall Primary School are: Thomas Atkinson, Jake Bailey, James Beesley, Ruby Bridle, Oonagh Cox, Jemima Eaton, Alicia Gould, Zachary Harris, Callum Henderson, Fleur Houdijk, Jamie Kaye, William Keeler, Lily Laight, Katie Lee, Isobelle Molloy, Jemima Morgan, Toby Murray, Alfie Manser, Lucy May Pollard, Annabel Parsons, Ellie Simons, Louis Suc, Jaydon Vijn and Ted Wilson.

Rating:

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Book review: The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Indigo, 352 pages.

Description: Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain.

But on the day of her seventeenth birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place.

Something has gone terribly wrong with her father's plan.



Rating:


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

"Waiting on Wednesday" is weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases we're excited for.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler sounds like a YA version of the currently popular theme to combine chick-lit novels with a splendour of mouthwatering mentions of baked goods (and hopefully recipes), such as Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan and Starting Over One Cake at a Time by Gesine Bullock-Prada, both of which I reviewed on here and absolutely adored (despite the fact that they made me want to eat just cake for the duration of the read). And the chapters in Bittersweet all have cupcake names! That's an instant winner in my eyes.

Details: Expected to be published January 3, 2012 by Simon Pulse.

Description: Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Book review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

My edition: Hardcover, published in 2011 by Puffin, 521 pages.

Description: Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa tol him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn't ring and bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem - when the Voice took over he mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for and evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn't see it. He doesn't even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery - although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely - enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Rating:

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Book review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My edition: Hardcover, published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster, 452 pages.

Description: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

Rating:

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Divergent #2: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

"Waiting on Wednesday" is weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases we're excited for. I always love reading the WoW posts from other bloggers and this is the first week I'm participating myself - please be nice ;)

For this post I've chosen Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the second title in the Divergent series. Divergent (see my review here) is one of my favourite books of 2011; a surprisingly original Dystopian novel that is engaging from start to finish. And so of course I can not wait to read what happens next, even if the release is still well over six months away!

Details: Expected to be published May 28th 2012 by HarperCollins, 496 pages.

Description: One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful.

Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Author event: Maggie Stiefvater at Foyles

Apologies for the lack of updates once more, I have been without my trusted laptop for the past few weeks. I am not entirely sure how I survived the ordeal, though it is possible there may have been ice cream involved. To make up for the lack of posts I made a little write-up of a wonderful author event I attended at Foyles book store last Saturday with Maggie Stiefvater (author of amongst others the Shiver trilogy and the new Scorpio Races) .

Let me start by saying that Foyles without a single doubt hosts the best literary events in London at the moment. I've been to a fair few in the past year and a half and besides having had a chance to listen to some of the most exciting authors currently out there the organisers at the bookshop also always ensure they make the event just that little bit more special. This ranges from dressing up in full zombie gear or, in this case, providing all attendees with proofs of an exciting YA debut called Fracture by Megan Miranda which won't be out until next year (I'm currently reading it, review will be up soon). So make sure to regularly check the Foyles calender of events to read about upcoming events.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Book review: Shades of London #1: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Harper Collins, 372 pages.

Description: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target?

Rating:

Book review: Justin Thyme (The Tartan of Thyme #1) by Panama Oxridge

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Inside Pocket Publishing Ltd, 368 pages.

Description: Justin Thyme is a self-made billionaire living in a castle overlooking Loch Ness. The day he turns thirteen, he receives an anonymous gift: a fabulous watch with a puzzling message hidden on it. When he tells his father of his plans to build a time machine, the Laird of Thyme reveals tantalising fragments of past espionage and warns his son of a ruthless enemy keeping him under constant surveillance.

At first, Justin fails to take Sir Willoughby seriously, but when a stranger arrives claiming to be his long-lost grandfather, Justin is wary - especially after his beloved Nanny insists the old man is an impostor. Justin's TV celebrity mother departs on a Congo expedition with her eccentric film crew and Eliza, a computer-literate gorilla. Whilst returning, Lady Henny is abducted, and clues prove that the kidnapper has inside information; someone in Thyme Castle must be a spy - or possibly Sir Willoughby's old enemy in disguise.

Everyone is under suspicion: Justin's nervy tutor; their snooping housekeeper; the theatrical gardener; an ex-royal butler; and Mrs Kof, their freakishly strong cook. Suddenly, the race against time is on. Can Justin convert his vintage motorbike into a time machine, rescue his mum and discover the identity of their resident spy in less than a week... or will the dreaded Thyme Curse claim another life?

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Book review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My edition: Paperback, published in 2009 by Puffin, 288 pages.

Description: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch.

Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush — who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.

Clay is one of them.

If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.


Rating:

Book review: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

My edition: Paperback, published in 2010 by Vintage, 180 pages.

Description: He is a brilliant math professor, with a peculiar problem--since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.

She is an astute young housekeeper with a ten-year-old son who is hired to care for him.

And between them a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms.

Though the professor can hold new memories for only eighty minutes, his mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past; and through him, the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the housekeeper and her son.

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Book review: The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Mira Books, 432 pages.

Description: Dear Anna,

What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry...


The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide.

Everything they knew about Noelle — her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family — described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

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Book review: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Atlantic Books, 488 pages.

Description: One day, at a suburban barbeque, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

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Book review: Bad Sisters by Rebecca Chance

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster, 389 pages.

Description: Three ambitious, rivalrous sisters. And a deadly secret, which one of them is determined to keep buried at any cost.

Deeley is the fake wife of a Hollywood TV hunk, who is secretly gay. But Deeley’s five-year contract is up, and his cut-throat publicist wants Deeley out. So, dejected and penniless, Deeley wends her way home to London, hoping to re-establish links with her two estranged elder sisters.

Devon is married to the nation’s-favourite-rugby-hunk Matt, and has her own highly successful TV career, as the sexy hostess of her own cookery show. But behind her buxom facade, Devon is lonely and frustrated, and when a live celebrity cook-off shows her up as a fraud, she leaves sweet Matt and runs off to Tuscany, to learn a few lessons – not just in cookery – from an Italian master.

Lastly, there’s Maxie: a politician’s wife, Maxie is fiercely ambitious. She’s furious when Deeley, hard on her luck, sells the sisters’ childhood story to a tabloid newspaper, revealing their impoverished roots and unsavoury parentage. The story undermines Maxie’s carefully cultivated image, and the fallout threatens to be devastating. But Maxie is only too aware that there is much more Deeley could yet reveal. What murderous secret lies in the sisters’ past? And just how far will Maxie go to keep it buried?

Rating:


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Book review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 320 pages.

Description: Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

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Book review: Forgotten by Cat Patrick

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Egmont Books Ltd, 280 pages.

Description: Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier.

But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.

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Book review: When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Headline Review, 336 pages.

Description: This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.

It's the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence-a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties.

From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own.

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Book review: Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9) by Sara Shepard

My edition: Hardcover, published in 2011 by HarperTeen, 305 pages.

Description: It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.

Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore... eventually.

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Book review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Random House, 349 pages.

Description: Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

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Book review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Harper, 307 pages.

Description: I had a life anyone would kill for. Then someone did. The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night?

And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

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Book review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

My edition: Paperback, published in 2010 by Definitions, 240 pages.

Description: In a single moment, everything changes.

Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family.

Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.



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