Author: Gayle Forman

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors | Book Review

Posted December 30, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors | Book ReviewMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Published by St Martin's Press on October 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

My True Love Gave to Me was one of the most anticipated holiday reads of mine this season, and I was so excited to dive in and be enchanted. While I liked a few of the stories, I did not like this book as a whole as much as I expected. These are amazing authors, but sadly some of the stories did not wow me. My True Love Gave to Me is a mixed bag of stories ranging from contemporary to fantasy, with a little something for everyone. I don’t want to give too much away since each story is roughly 30 pages, so I’m just going to post my Goodreads status updates for each story. I will note that I might have enjoyed this book more if I had just read a story here and there, rather than trying to binge the whole thing over a few days.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow’s story just massacred my feels! So swoony and perfect and the kind of story hopeless romantics dream of. This was my favorite story of the collection.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
Kelly Link’s story is odd and weird and magical, yet slightly creepy. My curiosity kept me going, and I ended up utterly captivated.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña’s story was a tad boring, and I could have done without all the swear words and the cheating.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
Jenny Han’s story is whimsical, and I enjoyed that it took place in Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, but there’s no resolution. It was too short.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins’s story was really cute. Love the idea of falling in love over Christmas trees and sexy voices.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Didn’t like David Levithan’s story at all. I liked that we got to see Santa come to life for a little girl, but it was mostly boring.

Krampsuslaf by Holly Black
I did not finish Holly Black’s story. A couple pages into it, and I knew it was not the Christmas story for me. Demons, horns, and scrambling “Santa” to get “Satan” do not mean Christmas to me!

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman’s story had me excited because I’ve never read a Hanukkah story before, but I found myself bored. There were a few lovely moments, and some sweet quotes… But overall I felt meh and wanted to move on.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McIntyre
Myra McIntyre’s story was whimsical, but took a little while to get into. I didn’t love it, but it was fun. I’m kind of a sucker for awkward romance as well. :)

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
Loved kiersten White’s story! It’s magical and sweet and completely heartwarming. And I loved the focus on yummy comfort foods and cheesy Christmas decorations.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I liked the idea of Ally Carter’s story, but it should not have been a short story. We needed more character development, more back story, and more believability. The resolution was way too far fetched and unlikely. If the story were longer, the author might have been able to pull it off.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I LOVED Laini Taylor’s story. It started out a little slow, but I loved the world and the pure magic. I also loved the beautiful descriptions and the writing style. Laini is super talented, and I would love an entire book devoted to the Dreamer. I wanted more.


Just One Night by Gayle Forman | Mini Book Review

Posted June 10, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Just One Night by Gayle Forman | Mini Book ReviewJust One Night by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2.5
Also in this series: Just One Day, Just One Year
Published by Viking Children's Books on May 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 40
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars
After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

So… I was not going to review this because it’s so tiny, but HELLO. I was so excited when I found out about this novella! We all know that I was not at ALL happy with how Just One Year ended. I felt betrayed and I was probably the most disappointed I’ve ever been regarding bookish things. But Just One Night saved me. A lot. I love Gayle Forman again, and all is right in the world.

closure

 

THIS is the final chapter we all wanted! And if it had been at the end of Just One Day, I would have been happier than a fat kid on a cruise, partaking in a chocolate buffet (I may or may not have just gotten off a cruise last week that had a chocolate buffet during lunch on the last day…). Really, though, just to have this chapter makes me happy enough. I’m SO GLAD it exists. I’m not going to say much, but let me tell you there are tender moments and steamy moments and answers and everything you could ever hope for. I would have been even happier if this novella were 2-3 times longer, but I know that that’s just not real life. Stories can only be told for so long before the characters need to go and live their own lives off the pages, ya know.

To sum it up, read this novella. If you’re like me and are not a novella fan, make this one allowance. If you’re only going to read one in your whole life, read Just One Night and find out how things really end. Or begin. Because yeah. It’s Allyson and Willem. Thanks, Gayle! My heart is happy now, and I’ve got my closure.


Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review

Posted October 18, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 10 Comments

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book ReviewJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Also in this series: Just One Day, Just One Night
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
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The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I loved Just One Day SO much. It is one of my favorite books ever! Just One Year was probably my most anticipated release this fall, and I was dancing around the house when my hardback arrived in the mail. I guess I was expecting something completely different from it, because I am so disappointed. I was hoping for a sweeping romance like the first book, which is not at all what I was given in Just One Year. Anyway, my main points are bolded.

1. This book was not a bad book at all. In fact, it was wonderful. Granted, there were a few passages that moved slowly and caused me to skim a page or two here and there, but I really enjoyed learning about Willem and what happened to him at the end of Just One Day. If I had not gone in with such high expectations, I know I would not have been disappointed. Gayle is a wonderful writer, and she creates amazing stories. Just One Year was great! I just wanted something completely different than she gave me with this book.

2. I connected with Allyson so much in Just One Day, and did not realize until I read Just One Year just how much I liked her. I missed her so much in Just One Year, and found I did not like Willem as much without her around to bring out the best in him. I think that was the point, though. We are meant to see Willem’s struggle, and who he is without Allyson in order to make us want him to find her. I longed for their reunion just as much as he did.

3. I liked the new characters we got to meet. Willem’s mom was endearing, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse into their tumultuous relationship. I liked Willem’s friends, particularly the one who went on part of Willem’s journey to find Allyson. I honestly can’t remember how to spell his name. Haha.

4. I was not the biggest fan of everything Willem did while he was looking for Allyson. I guess I had built him up as Mr. Perfect in my mind, so when he started sleeping with different women and doing drugs, I was so disappointed in him. My heat broke a little as I learned who Willem really is.

5. I enjoyed traveling with Willem on his journey, and I most of all enjoyed watching him learn so much about himself while he was gone. I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: traveling is the most magical way to discover yourself. I loved his happenings in Mexico, his return to India and the reasons behind that, and the string of events that brought him back to Holland. He went through a lot during this year, and even though I had a hard time with some of his choices, I could not help but cheer for him as he figured out what’s best for himself.

6. The ending made me really mad. Haha. I had originally been hoping that Just One Year would pick up right where Just One Day left off. Perhaps Willem would open his door, see Lulu standing there, hug and kiss her like crazy, and then tell her about his year. I would have loved to hear her input on his journey. I would have loved to see a ton of romance. I quickly discovered that would not happen, so I started hoping that the book would be long enough to have some time devoted to their reunion. I was at least hoping for an epilogue! There’s no after. I kind of feel abandoned now. Just as Willem left Allyson with no explanation, these two left me with no explanation.

I finished Just One Year almost a week ago, and I’m still having a hard time processing it. I almost decided to not even write a review. I figured I needed to, though, so I can come back to it someday and remember how I felt and see if I feel any differently as time goes on. I’m not giving it a star review, though, since I just don’t know how I feel. Honestly, my expectations were way too high. It’s like going on a date to a fancy restaurant with the love of your life and thinking he’s going to propose, but instead he dumps you. If I had gone into this book with no expectations, I would have been able to appreciate it for what it is rather than be disappointed in what it isn’t. Really, the only criticism I have is that it was not what I wanted, and it is not what my heart wanted.


Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Book Review)

Posted January 10, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Book Review)Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #1
Also in this series: Just One Year, Just One Night
Published by Dutton Juvenile on January 8, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Holy crap. That’s what I said, people, when I shut this baby after tearing through it at lightning speed. This is the kind of book that leaves you feeling intimidated by trying to write a review, because nothing you say will be what you actually wanted to say. I just have this feeling I’m not going to like my review, so I’ll try to make it short and sweet. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Can I just say right upfront that I want this day to happen to me? I love traveling, and I particularly love Paris. I could picture Allyson and Willem on the train, walking the streets of Paris, eating crepes, gazing over the river, even walking past all the vintage items in boxes and paintings and key chains from street vendors. Gayle brought Paris alive for me again, and so many memories came flooding back from my time there. I loved that they did not do the typical touristy things, though. They experienced Paris in a way that most people who only have one day there don’t. I want to do what they did, and I want to find a guy like Willem to be right there next to me. This day was a whirlwind of amazingness.

2. The wanderlust monster has been reawakened in me! Where can I go next? The travel and scenic descriptions were amazing. It’s like I was there.

3. I love the whole leave your life behind, get totally lost, and end up finding yourself mentality. Wanderlove had a similar feel, and I just love books that make me want to discover myself and the world I live in. I feel like an author has done something amazing if they can inspire me to do something.

4. I felt every single emotion possible in this book. What a roller coaster! I went from feeling on top of the world to absolutely heart-shatteringly sad for my beloved characters. I’ve seen quite a few reviewers say, “I felt ALL THE FEELS.” It’s so true. Never has a single statement summed up a book so well.

5. I love Allyson. She is so real, and spoke to my soul many times throughout the story. I felt for her and loved reading about her journey to self discovery. Her alter ego, Lulu, made me so proud. I loved watching her incorporate Lulu into her own life. Willem is amazing. He’s everything I hoped to find when I went to Holland. Haha. Either I went to the wrong places, or he’s a diamond in the rough. I am so excited to read his story, Just One Year. I have this feeling that I will love it more than Just One Day. He and Allyson together are magical.

6. This story is so beautiful. I mean, this is the bottom line here. The writing is gorgeous, the emotions are so wonderfully expressed, the scenery jumps off the pages, the people are so real, the feelings are so deep, and the eagerness and excitement are electric. There were so many amazing quotes. I could not get enough of any of it.

7. I’m a Gayle Forman fangirl for life. This was my first book of hers, but I think I need to go buy all the others.

For fear of spoiling anything, I’m going to end my review with a few blanket statements. Just One Day is a new favorite of mine that you MUST read. I love this book beyond words, and I love that it has inspired this introspective look at my own life. If you love romance, self-discovery, travel, and emotional roller coasters (which usually I hate), you’ll love Just One Day.

And for your reading pleasure, here are a two of my favorite quotes:

“I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don’t put yourself in the path of it, you miss it. When you travel, you put yourself out there. It’s not always great. Sometimes it’s terrible. But other times…” He lifts his shoulder and gestures out to Paris, then sneaks me a sidelong glance. “It’s not so bad.”

I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you , and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.

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