Would You

If you’re looking for a tearjerker of a book , I highly recommend Marthe Jocelyn’s Would You.  It’s a very short book and an easy read, but it packs an emotional punch.  I had to clean my glasses of tear residue when I finished reading this one.

Would You begins with a question:  “Would you rather know what’s going to happen?  Or not know?”  Natalie and her friends play this “would you” game with different scenarios. “Would you rather have your father sing at the supermarket or your mother fart in the principal’s office?”  “Would you rather lose all your hair or all your teeth?” “Would you rather die or have everyone else die?”  It’s all a game and a way to get conversations going until something happens that changes everything.

Natalie’s group of friends is looking forward to the summer before their senior year in high school.  Natalie wants to spend some time with her older sister Claire before she leaves for college.  Claire and Natalie share everything with each other, and Natalie is having a difficult time coming to terms with the reality of Claire leaving.  Little does she know that reality is about to become even more difficult.

On a warm Saturday evening, Claire is hit by a car.  She is in a coma, and no one knows if she’ll ever come out of it.  Natalie knew she would have to deal with her sister leaving, but she didn’t think it would be this way.  What can she do?  Is there any hope?  Would you rather have a sister who dies or one in a vegetative state?  Natalie has to answer these questions and figure out how to live without the most important person in her world.

If you’ve got siblings, Would You might force you to think about your own reactions in the situations presented in the book.  I don’t think I could handle much of anything if something were to happen to my sister.  Just thinking about it is enough to bring on the waterworks and give me a tight feeling in my chest.  Like I said, Would You is a tearjerker.  If you decide to read it, make sure you have plenty of tissues nearby.

If I Stay

When I heard that Gayle Forman’s book, If I Stay, was being marketed as the next Twilight, of course I had to read it.  I enjoyed the book, but I have to say that I don’t think it has the power to generate the fan frenzy that Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga has.  (I’m a Twilighter myself, so I may be a bit biased on this one.)  I think most of the hype for If I Stay has come from the fact that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke will be directing the novel’s movie adaptation.  Anyhoo, on to a quick look at If I Stay

It’s an atypical February morning in Mia’s life.  A bare dusting of snow has closed schools in her town in Oregon.  The whole family is together.  They decide to go for a drive, and tragedy strikes.   A car accident.  Mia is the only survivor.  She is airlifted to a hospital where the doctors do all they can for her.  Ultimately, though, it is Mia’s choice to stay or go.  She reflects back on her seventeen years, with her crazy, punk-rock family, her obsession with the cello and classical music, her best friend Kim, and her loving boyfriend Adam.  She looks at all of these things and makes her decision.  Will she choose to die and join her family?  Or will she stay?  What would you do?

I went into this book thinking that it couldn’t possibly live up to Twilight.  Well, it did, and it didn’t.  If I Stay was a moving book with a lot of emotional angst, but I can’t say that I was invested in the characters as much as I was with Bella and the Cullen clan.  Was this book well written?  Yes.  Will I recommend it to my students?  Absolutely.  Do I think it’s the next Twilight?  Not so much.  But that’s just my opinion.  I’ll leave you to decide for yourselves.