Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 6th, 2010
Pages: 259

On a day that started like any other, Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

I got If I Stay as a Christmas present from my best friend, without having seen the movie. I trust her taste completely, so I decided to read it wrapped in a blanket by the fire on a cold January day….annnd finished it the next cold January day, by the same fire and under the same blanket.

Mia's family was not the normal family, with a dad who was a rocker-turned-teacher and a mum who was a groupie-turned-mother, but her connection to them and love for them reminded me of my own.
Although there were things that did not allow me to connect with the story as well as I would have liked, I was taken aback by how in detail and real it felt, for a story about a ghostly figure.

Mia is in a car accident that kills her mother, father, and brother, and leaves her as an outsider of her own body. She tells the story from her perspective during an out-of-body experience, as she watches doctors and her loved ones attempt to keep her alive. Although it was supposed to be mainly focused around her romance with her boyfriend, I felt that I was more intrigued by the rest of the book and the questions that it raised for me: how would I react if this happened to me, does this really happen to people, do people who are injured actually have an influence in whether or not they keep living?

The most important part for me was the effect Mia's accident had on other people. Just like John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, Mia's grenade went off and the people around her were affected. But that doesn't mean that just in case we might lost someone, we should block ourselves off from love and friendship. My favorite part of the book was the feeling that it left me with, knowing that although Mia had lost her immediate family, she still had a family of a mixture of blood relatives and people she had collected along the way through friendships.

New URL and New Name!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I am excited to share that I now have my own domain, under a new name. Although the content and look of my blog will remain the same, I have changed the name of the site to Eliza Reads! 

The new domain is, which is a lot easier to remember than… too long. Anyway, if you type in either you will still end up at the same place, but I think the new URL is a lot more snappy!

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2, 2012

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. (From Amazon)

Every teenage girl has a dream of sitting next to a cute guy on a plane and falling in love before you land, right? I know that every time I get on a plane, I'm hoping for a good looking boy my age instead of a crusty old man who sneezes the entire flight or a person who really should have bought your seat too, because they keep spilling over…The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is that dream on paper. 

I wasn't expecting anything too literary when I picked this book up. I thought it would just be a fun and silly read that I could use to stop thinking about my school work over the weekend, but I surprised myself when I couldn't put it down. I started reading it in the bookstore when I picked it up as part of a 3 for 2 deal, the other two being books I desperately wanted, and this as the "looks cute and it's free" pick, and by the time I left the bookstore I was sixty pages into it with no drive to stop reading other than my stomach yelling at me to put food in it.

Hadley, the main character, is a 16 year old girl who could come off as annoying because she complains about missing her flight to London, complains about how her dad left her mum, complains about her dad getting remarried to someone she has never met…but, I didn't find her annoying, I actually found her very relatable and real as a character. She wasn't gracious about the negative changes in her life and she wasn't overly dramatic about how much she hated them. I found her to be a refreshing character who seemed very real in her emotions and her personality.

I loved the boy that she met in the airport after reading the second sentence about him. It didn't take long at all to picture Oliver and swoon (on the inside) at the cute or funny things he said. Although I did find myself slightly annoyed by his jokes and attempts to be mysterious at times (like his pretend research projects), overall I thought he was pretty great.

I have thankfully never dealt with parents getting divorced, and hopefully never will, but I did find Jennifer E. Smith's portrayal of Hadley's family to be believable. Hadley's rift from her parents was well written, and it added an interesting layer to a story that would have just been cheesy if it ended with two teenagers meeting on a plane and falling in love at first sight.

One thing that I didn't like, but I understood as part of a story that was supposed to be a whirlwind adventure, was that the majority of the book happened on one day. The story felt rushed and like it ended too quickly for my liking. Instead of ending the story with the end of Hadley's trip to London, the story ends on her first day there, the same day that she was on the plane. To be more believable and satisfying, I would have liked the story to end with the plane ride home. 

Overall, I found The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight to be cute and an easy read for a cold January afternoon. I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to relax and curl up with a book that didn't require much thought and was easy to get through. I would give the book 3.5 stars. 

Back From My Hiatus!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year! And hopefully, Happy Back-To-Blogging for me… 

I am back from a hiatus, and although I can't promise that I will be blogging too much, I plan to post once a week. The demands of learning how to balance university work, a job, and a social life have left my poor books and blog in the dust. However, with the New Year, I have started to plan how to manage my time better and to make more time for my beloved books.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season!

A few updates on me:
  1. I am now a junior at a university in Florida (although it's only my second year, I brought credits with me from high school). 
  2. I work at a cute little bakery, which I love. I can't say that I am any better at baking for it, but my mum trusted my skills enough to let me frost the cupcakes for a Christmas party a few weeks ago, so I'm pretty pleased with that.
  3. I'm hoping to go into a career based around books and reading- whether it be the writing or the editing side.

Here are a few of the blogs that I have been following while I've been away: