Book to Movie: If I Stay

There was a lot of buzz leading up to the release of the If I Stay movie adaptation and I kept seeing posts about it all over various social media sites. I really enjoyed reading If I Stay and Where She Went a few years ago so I was curious about the movie but I was fine with waiting. It was released in Singapore in early September and I got to see it last Saturday. I wanted to share my thoughts about the film, mostly in relation to the book and how I felt while I was watching it.

If I Stay movie

With Gayle Forman as an executive producer of the film, If I Stay remained true to the book. Granted, it’s been some time since I read the book but all of the major scenes that I remembered seemed to be in the movie as well. I felt like the movie had the same bittersweet tone and feel as the book, where it lets you experience the emotional ups and downs with the characters. In terms of casting, I think the actors that they chose were a good fit for the roles. Whenever I read, I don’t really get into specifics of what the characters look like and I tend to focus on the emotions they feel instead. So I’m not very particular with appearances when it comes to casting choices. This is the first time I’ve seen a movie with either Chloe Moretz or Jamie Blackley so I have no preconceived notions about them. Overall, I think Chloe did a good job of portraying Mia although I felt that she wasn’t as strong as I would have liked her to be in her emotionally heavy scenes. In some of her interviews, she mentioned that she’s a fan of the book and I think that’s a plus point for her. Jamie was also a good Adam, he was able to exude that rocker guy vibe. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he also did Adam’s singing voice in the movie and he really knows how to play a guitar.

One of the things I really liked about the book was that it wasn’t just about Mia and Adam, it was also about their friends and family. The movie made this come alive too, and I have no complaints on the casting of the secondary characters. One of the scenes I liked best in the book was when Mia’s grandfather talks to her while she’s in a coma, and I believe the movie nailed that scene. That was one of the scenes that made me teary-eyed. The cinema was only half-full but I could hear other people sniffling as well.

One advantage the movie had over the book was that it had music. Both Mia and Adam are musicians and music is a big part of their lives and is also what brought them together. When I was reading the book, I wondered what it would be like to hear Mia playing the cello or to hear Adam singing while playing the guitar. We definitely got that in the movie. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the movie’s soundtrack after watching it onscreen but I think it sounded pretty good. I think the songs in the movie were chosen well. I really liked the bonfire scene in the movie because it seemed like such a happy, music-filled moment for everyone.

I really enjoyed watching If I Stay but similar to The Fault in Our Stars, I feel like it’s a quiet kind of movie that focuses on human interactions and emotions. I liked watching both films because I’ve read both books and I feel like that gave me a richer experience compared to just watching the movies on their own. So what I’m trying to say is I have no idea whether those who haven’t read the book will like the movie. Other people may find the flow of the scenes a bit disjointed because of the flashback format of the storytelling. Like I said, the movie worked for me and because it did, I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a movie adaptation of Where She Went.

Have you seen If I Stay in theaters? What did you think? Have you read the book and are you planning to see the adaptation on the big screen?

Favorite Literary Couples IV

It has become my tradition to celebrate Valentine’s Day here on the blog by posting my favorite literary couples in books I’ve read in the past year. I can’t believe this is already the fourth installment of this post! Kind of amazing to think that I’ve been doing this for that long. I always enjoy doing this because I love literary love stories and I even have fictional crushes (if you’re a fellow book lover, I’m sure you completely understand). So it’s nice to go through books that I’ve read and try to pick the couples that stood out for me. You can check out posts from years past through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012

Image from We Heart It

Mia and Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman – I was pleasantly surprised by how invested I was in Mia and Adam’s love story. I liked that they’re so different from each other – Mia is a classical music girl who plays the cello while Adam has his rock band – and yet they work so well together. Another aspect of their relationship that I love is how Mia’s parents are so supportive of it that Adam learns to care about them like he’s part of the family. It was so easy to fall into their story and I wanted to bang my head on a wall for waiting so long to read Gayle Forman’s books – although it was a good thing that I didn’t have to wait for a sequel and I got to read these two novels together (not like after I finished Just One Day and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Just One Year). I need to thank one of my favorite authors for pointing me in the direction of these books.

Leah and Grayson from Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols – I found out that Jennifer Echols can write a great slow burn romance when I was introduced to her writing through Going Too Far. Ever since I finished reading that book, I’ve been waiting for her books to live up to how much I enjoyed the love story in Going Too Far. That finally happened with Such A Rush with all the tension between Leah and Grayson. It took them years to finally realize that they’re attracted to each other and I had such a good time watching them circling each other, trying to decide what the next move should be. It was an added bonus that both of them are pilots because I think pilots are cool.

Beth and Lincoln from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Such a fun premise and a sweet romance! Even though the book was set in the 90s, I could relate to the story because of Beth using her work mail to chat with her best friend. I also found Lincoln to be a really nice guy and I thought his geekiness was cute. I loved that these two characters are close to my own age and all the characters in the book felt like they were just trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, trying to make big decisions to take a step in the direction that they want to go. Seriously can’t wait to read Eleanor and Park, they sound like another couple that I could root for.

Jacqueline and Lucas from Easy – I think Easy’s love story appealed to me because of the college setting. And also because Lucas seemed like a typical bad boy when he’s really not. I’m a sucker for characters like that. Plus this relationship took time to form, both characters had to work through their own issues before they could be together. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m not a fan of instalove.

Kami and Jared from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan – Okay, so this might be considered cheating because Kami and Jared aren’t exactly a couple but what they have is even more intimate. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have someone in your head all of the time. I think that bond makes Kami and Jared unique and in tune to each other like no other couple could be (unless they could also read each other’s minds). So even if they’re technically not together as a couple, I’m including them in my list. Looking forward to the sequel (also known as the make out book)!

Oh wow, quite surprising that most of the couples in the list above are from contemporary novels. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading mostly contemps but it seems like I need to discover more fantasy couples in the coming year (feel free to give suggestions). And because I always have a hard time narrowing down my choices, here are the runners-up:

Harper and Travis from Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Seraphina and Lucian from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Violet and Martin from Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry
Richard and Charlotte from Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
Jasmine and Sean from Amplified by Tara Kelly

But wait, there’s more! The special mention award goes to:

Lizzie and Darcy from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – I couldn’t talk about my favorite couples without mentioning these two. So these are characters from a web series instead of a book but they’re based on Pride and Prejudice characters so I think that still counts. In case I haven’t been talking enough about the LBD here (and in both Twitter and Tumblr), I just wanted to say that I like how they modernized the love story. It’s a slow burn romance and every episode with the two of them together is scrutinized in detail by fans all over the world. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I refrained from posting a picture of the two of them together because I don’t want to spoil the Darcy reveal for those who haven’t reached that part yet.

Those are my favorite literary couples from books that I’ve read starting mid-February last year. Who are some of your favorite fictional couples? ♥ Would love to hear about them! One sure way of convincing me to pick up a book is by letting me know that there’s a well-written romance in there.

My friend Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks also talked about her fave couples

Shoot That Book: Tom and Adam

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I reread The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta last week and it’s still as amazing as I remembered. I also recently reviewed Where She Went by Gayle Forman and was reminded yet again that both Tom Mackee and Adam Wilde are music-lovers who are excellent guitar players. So I thought it would be a good idea to feature both books in a guitar-oriented Shoot That Book post.

The Piper's Son and Where She Went with a guitar

It would have been better if Where She Went’s cover has Adam in it, noh? And I couldn’t resist taking more pictures of the Australian edition of The Piper’s Son so here’s another shot:

The Piper's Son Australian edition with a guitar

Also, in case you missed the announcement, this is what the US paperback of The Piper’s Son will look like:

US paperback for The Piper's Son

I have a feeling I’ll be grabbing a copy of that if I see it in local bookstores.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I really liked reading If I Stay and actually felt bad that it took me so long to read it. The good thing in that is I don’t have to wait for the companion novel and I got to read it while the story is still fresh in my mind. WARNING: This review contains spoilers for If I Stay, even the summary for Where She Went has spoilers so avert your eyes if you haven’t read the first book. Trust me, you don’t want to see spoilers. Here’s the link to my If I Stay review instead.

Here’s the summary from Gayle Forman’s website:

It’s been three years since the devastating accident… three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future — and each other.

I loved where If I Stay ended and I felt like it stood well on its own. Which is why it took me a while to pick up Where She Went even though it’s written from Adam’s point of view and I thought he’s an amazing guy based on the first book. I just couldn’t get over the fact that Adam and Mia broke up after everything they’ve been through. I felt like they had a forever kind of relationship in If I Stay – I thought they had a real connection. I couldn’t resist reading this, however, when I received a copy for my birthday. It still took a couple of chapters for me to get over the idea that Mia left Adam. Things made sense from Adam’s side of the story – how his band became popular, how he reluctantly started a relationship with a celebrity and how messed up his life has been the past couple of years. It’s funny because even though everyone around him and Adam himself thinks that he’s a jerk, I believed that he’s still the great guy he was in If I Stay – he just has more reason to be emo and angry. I’d love to quote some of the sections that I really liked but they might be spoilery so here are some lyrics from Adam’s songs:

“You crossed the water, left me ashore
It killed me enough, but you wanted more
You blew up the bridge, a mad terrorist
Waved from your side, threw me a kiss
I started to follow but realized too late
There was nothing but air underneath my feet”

“I’ll be your mess, you be mine
That was the deal that we had signed
I bought a hazmat suit to clean up your waste
Gas masks, gloves, to keep us safe
But now I’m alone in an empty room
Staring down immaculate doom”
– Messy

Oh Adam. Did I enjoy reading Where She Went? Surprisingly yes, in spite of my reservations. I should have known to trust Gayle Forman because she’s an excellent storyteller. I enjoyed seeing everything through Adam’s eyes. It gave the initial story in If I Stay more depth, while adding in layers provided by the years when Adam and Mia were apart. Although I think it would have been better if we got more insight into Mia and what she was thinking. Don’t get me wrong – it did feel like everything fell into place quite nicely – but I kind of felt like there wasn’t enough of Mia in this installment. I really liked that Where She Went has New Adult characters because we really need more novels like this. Both If I Stay and Where She Went are contemporary novels that I highly recommend. I feel like I’ve been lucky in my contemporary reads in 2012, so far. *keeps fingers crossed that will continue for the rest of the year* I look forward to seeing what Gayle Forman has in store for us next – looks like Just One Day and Just One Year will be companion novels too.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Wear the Old Coat
The Readventurer

Want Books: Where She Went

Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted here at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now. Everyone is free to join, just grab the image above. Leave a comment with a link to your post so I can do a roundup with each post.

I’m behind on so blog-related activities – I’ve read If I Stay by Gayle Forman but I haven’t reviewed it. I thought it was a pretty good read. Which is why I decided to do a Want Books post for its companion novel, Where She Went. I really liked Adam in If I Stay and I would LOVE to read a book from his point of view. Although I’m a bit conflicted – If I Stay had an amazing ending and I don’t know how I’ll feel about revisiting the characters. I have a feeling curiosity will win though and I’d want to read this while the story of the first book is still fresh in my mind. I just need to find a copy. I dropped by the bookstore the other day to ask about it and it was out of stock in that branch. If you haven’t read If I Stay, DO NOT read the spoilery synopsis for this one. You’ve been warned.

Here’s the summary from Gayle Forman’s website:

It’s been three years since the devastating accident… three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future — and each other.

Have you guys read Gayle Forman’s novels? What did you think of them? Also, what book is in your wishlist?

Why I Need to Read Gayle Forman’s Books

It’s always awesome when you see authors having conversations with each other on Twitter. What’s even better is when they reply to your tweets. After carefully copying and pasting the various tweets, here’s Melina Marchetta and Gayle Forman chatting about how their characters would be friends if Tom and Adam ever got to meet (click to embiggen):

I really need to read Gayle Forman’s books soon!