Sunday, May 29, 2011

WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman

Title: WHERE SHE WENT (sequel to IF I STAY)
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Number of Pages: 264
Source of Book: Won ARC in contest from provided by publisher
Author's Website:

Goodreads Summary:
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.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
I finished this book over a month ago (and I lost sleep because I was up reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore), and I'm still in awe of the genius writing of Gayle Forman. When I first read IF I STAY, it was because I had heard so much about it - little did I know what I was in for. Gayle Forman has a unique ability to draw a reader into a book and grab at your emotions and twist and turn them until you feel so caught up in the character's journey that you would do anything just to give the character a hug or a helping hand. Her books are not ones that you can put down. It's an emotional journey to read IF I STAY or WHERE SHE WENT, but one that you must take! But make sure you read them in order!!! (and if you haven't read IF I STAY yet, why the heck not?!?) 

WHERE SHE WENT takes place three years later and switches view points from when we had insight into Mia's thoughts in If I Stay to now seeing Adam's anger, heartbreak, and despair. Adam is now a big rock star and his band has hit it big and is heading off on a European tour, but Adam is devastated, and as the reader, you feel it from the first pages. The Adam I loved in the first book is still there somewhere, but he's been beaten down and lost himself when Mia broke up with him. The writing is straight-forward, but pulls you in instantly. This is contemporary realistic teen fiction writing at it's best. This book very much has the feel of a "one night in the life of" kind of story. It's takes place in New York, it includes chance encounters, it flashes back to Adam's perspective of what happened with Mia and her family, and it shows us where Mia is now. 

The thing I love the most about Adam and Mia is the way they are always looking out for each other. They are such a great, honest couple because they truly want the best for the other, but they've been through such grief and tragedy that they need to resolve those issues before they can be happy and hopeful together. The journey that Adam and Mia have to take to understand each other, forgive each other, communicate their true feelings, and hold on to each other is wrought with emotion, frustration, and love. And ultimately, this is a true love story - one that was three years in the making. Read this one - you will begin your own love story with Gayle Forman's writing. I'm so glad she revisited Mia's world and explored how Adam would have reacted to the tragic events in the first story. It's realistic, it's gritty, and it's hopeful. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next in her writing career!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In My Mailbox - New Books This Week (21)

In My Mailbox is a shared posting idea run by Kristi at The Story Siren (read all about it here: In My Mailbox) for bloggers to share the books they've gotten that week to help publicize as many titles as possible. It's like a little preview on what book reviews to anticipate along with a way to build excitement about new titles coming out. All titles link to goodreads so you can add books to your "to-read" list.

*Unfortunately, Blogger is not letting me insert pictures, so this week is without :(
For Review:
MY LIFE, UNDECIDED by Jessica Brody
Thanks Macmillan Children's!
Thanks Dutton/Penguin!

THRONE OF FIRE (The Kane Chronicles Book 2) by Rick Riordan
Day I got it I had a student ask me when I would have it available for check out. Needless to say, I haven't gotten my hands back on it yet and probably won't until the school year ends.
THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy 
Still not ready to let this series go, and there are some fantastic authors who contributed!
THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter
Hearing a lot of good things about this one. I love mythology themed books.
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth 
I read the ARC of this a few months ago, but had to get another copy. Exciting, thrilling book. My students in my dystopian book club are loving it!

WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman
Again, read the ARC, but needed another copy because I can't keep it on the shelf. It's AMAZING - this is an obsession book! You must read it if you haven't, but read IF I STAY first!

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Look, New Name, New Reviews Coming

I'm so excited about my new blog name and design. The amazingly talented (and patient!) Lori at Use Your Imagination Designs created my awesome new look. It is above and beyond anything I expected, is totally me, and she was a dream to work with. I got The Works package which includes everything and then some, plus business cards. The best part of working with Lori is that she really cares that you are 100% satisfied with your design and she is willing to continue getting your thoughts as she goes along and make changes until you are completely happy. She was also very willing to be flexible in her package to customize it for my needs and wants, and communicated on everything along the way.

Check out her work, and have a look around my site to see all the unique touches she created for me. I LOVE it!!! :)

OK. I'm done gushing.

Welcome to the new and improved Heise Reads & Recommends (formerly Teach 8 YA Book Blog). Come back often to check things out and look for these book reviews in the coming weeks: Shipbreaker, Where She Went, The Season, Memento Nora, Unwind, Caleb + Kate, A Match Made in High School, Babe in Boyland, and, of course, Wolfsbane!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Change Will Do Me Good

Welcome to the new site!  Thanks for following me here to Heise Reads & Recommends. As you can see, all of the old stuff from Teach 8 YA Book Blog has transferred over here, and new stuff will be coming soon (once I get out from under this pile of grading I have to do!). I have many thoughts about books and recommendations waiting to be typed. Stick around, look around, find some inspiration to read!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Trailer: FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater

One of the books I'm most excited to read this summer is the concluding book in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy which began with SHIVER, then LINGER, and finally FOREVER. This is a fabulously lyrically written romantic series with a unique werewolf mythology, characters you want to be around, amazingly beautiful cover designs, and Maggie is always entertaining on her blog (

Here is the book trailer for the book to start building your excitement. I highly recommend that you read SHIVER and LINGER soon so that you can be caught up in time for FOREVER on July 12th!

You can preorder a signed copy of FOREVER here: