Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bookanista Review: Where She Went, by Gayle Forman--AND AN ARC GIVEAWAY!!!!

Another Thursday, another awesome book, another gushing Bookanista Review. But today, I'm doing things a teensy bit different.

See, sometimes a book is SO amazing, I have to step back and realize: *I'm* not capable of properly communicating the sheer awesomeness of it. Sometimes I need to bring in someone more articulate than me, to say everything I want to say, but SO much better than I could ever possibly say it. 

(And then I can just take credit for it. Muwhahahahaha)

No, of course, I would NEVER do that.

Well, okay, I am bringing in help. But I'm NOT taking credit for it. I WANTED to. But...she's kind of important to my writing process, so it wouldn't be a good idea to tick her off.

(also: this has nothing to do with me being buried by WriteOnCon planning and not being able to coherently write anything other than emails.)
(okay, maybe it does)
(and maybe I'm also stalling because I'm afraid after reading this you'll never want to suffer through one of my reviews again)
(and maybe I also just love parenthetical statements)
(and now that I've done so many of them I feel like I can't stop)
(ahem)

So the review you're about to read was written by none other than my adorable friend, loyal CP, and AMAZING writer (whose book comes out 2012--mark your calendar) Ms Sarah Wylie. She is a HUGE Gayle Forman fan and has impeccable taste in books (and no, I'm not saying that because she reads my writing). Take it away Sarah. Put me to shame:

***

WHERE SHE WENT is the highly anticipated sequel to the much-beloved NYT bestseller, IF I STAY. Check out the gorgeous cover:


And here’s the blurb at the back of the book:

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 Juilliard'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.


My thoughts


Confession: I’m a firm believer that books you loved (like, a lot) that can stand alone are like childhood houses. Do not go back. Everything will seem smaller and greyer and disappointingly unfamiliar. But if you DO go back--if you’ve been forced by say, the supreme coercion of Twizzlers (it happens)--then accept the fact that you’re going to be disappointed.

I was nervous about reading WHERE SHE WENT. I loved Mia and Adam in IF I STAY, and I wanted to keep my image of them, my assurance that they had turned out okay. I worried we were going to see sides of them that were unfamiliar, that maybe changed the ideas I had about who they were and what they’d become in the three years since we’d seen them.

And it did. But I shouldn’t have been worried.

Gayle Forman explores with admirable honesty the aftermath of devastating loss, of growing up and apart, of loneliness, and of living with the choices you make. The prose is beautiful, simple, and raw. Though it lacks the big heartrending premise of IF I STAY, WHERE SHE WENT broke little bits of my heart, surprising me again with how much I cared for these characters. I sobbed, you guys. I also read it in one and a half sittings--the half because I had to put it down to fully immerse myself in said sobbing--so there’s that.

Though you could probably read and understand it without having read the first (although WHY would you want to??), this book is best appreciated after reading IF I STAY.

WHERE SHE WENT is a rare sequel that not only lives up to very high expectations, but exceeds them. I adored it! Highly, highly recommended.

***

See why I needed a professional? I feel like I should just turn the blog over to her much more capable hands. But...then I wouldn't be able to whine and post pictures of gorgeous celebrities and cause shenanigans so SHE CAN'T HAVE IT NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS!!! 

ahem.

Anyway, now that Sarah's convinced you why you NEED to read this book, you're probably lamenting the fact that it won't be available until April 5th. But I have good news! 

I managed to snake a highly coveted ARC for you guys when I was at ALA mid-winter, and I'm giving it away to one lucky commenter on this post. To enter, make sure you follow my blog, and leave a comment by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, February 26th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, February 27th. International entries welcome.

(See, Sarah may do the awesome reviews--but who gives you the prizes, huh? HUH?)
(yes, I'm not above bribery)

And...go!

For more awesome book recommendations, here's what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to:


107 comments:

  1. The first book got so much buzz and was loved by so many, I was wondering if the 2nd book could possibly measure up. Sounds like it could. Please enter me to win this ARC!

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  2. Woot woot! I'm dying to read WHERE SHE WENT! Count me in!

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  3. I'll have to put the first book on my to read list. And of course, I'd like to enter for the ARC give away.

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  4. Oh, I am SO in for this one -- if it's open internationally? I'm a long time follower on my google reader :)

    If I Stay was one of my favorite books last year. I've been bursting to read this one. And that cover! Yum!

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  5. OMG. If I had an ARC of this book? I'd be the most popular girl at school! That would be awesome.

    Thanks and please enter me in this giveaway!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

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  6. I'm so glad to hear this lives up to the first book. You just never know with a sequel!

    themgowl at gmail.com

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  7. I loved If I Stay! And the cover of Where She Went is gorgeous!

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  8. I really enjoyed your blog,You did good with it.Thank you for nice posing here.

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  9. SARAH!!!! We love Sarah's reviews! We love yours too, Shannon, DON'T WORRY, we'll always come back, but SARAH! She convinced us to read The Sky Is Everywhere, which is, hands down, our favorite book of all time.

    This was a fab review--especially the part about the childhood house, isn't that the truth?! I loved the first book and now I can't wait for the second. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I heard she was doing another, but now I'm sold. Thanks girlies!

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  10. Oh I adore Gayle Forman and IF I STAY had to be one of my favorite books of 2011. I made my Mom read it, too. I am dying to read the sequel so yes, please please please, enter me for the giveaway? :-)

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  11. PLEASE enter me! I would love to win this one! :)

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  12. Oh yes, I can not wait to read this book - and I'm so glad I read this review, because though I know Gayle Foreman wrote a beautiful book, I was a little scared that it wouldn't life up to the first - sounds like this one is amazing, too! YIPPEE!

    I'd love to be entered! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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  13. I don't enter many giveaways because my to read pile is out of control but this is one book I would love to win! bkhabel at gmail dot com

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  14. Yep, I'd sell babies for this ARC. Oh, okay, I wouldn't. *scratches head*

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  15. Eeek! I HAVE to have this ARC. :)

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  16. GREAT review! I know what you mean about being skeptical of sequels. I loved IF I STAY so freaking much, I'm partially afraid to read WHERE SHE WENT, and very much DYING to read it, lol. EEP!

    *crosses fingers and hopes*

    -Lena
    addicted2novels(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. I loved If I Stay so much I got a HORRIBLE sunburn just to finish the book, I couldn't move, I had to read. Oh to get the second one...

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  18. Ah, Adam and Mia. I think IF I STAY is my favorite read of 2010. I didn't know what to expect and I was way more than plesantly suprised! My heart broke watching (yes I could see it in my head) Adam and Mia's story and at the end I was satisfied. Imagine how much more satisfied I was when I found out there was going to be a sequel from Adam's POV! I absolutely cannot wait for WHERE SHE WENT! I fully expect it to exceed my expetations in every way, and I will probably sob as much as Sarah did!

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  19. Sounds great! Throw my name in the drawing please

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  20. SO excited for this one! Can't wait! And good luck with the WRITEONCON stuff!

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  21. This sounds really girly. Don't enter me in the contest because I would want to read the first one, first.

    Still, as girly as it sounds if the writing is that good I can read anything. I'll even read a book about love, high school and lots of kissing if the writing is good enough.

    This is also an an excellent review. Even for someone like me, who might not normally be into this (no sword fights), you've piqued my curiosity with your unique comparison and description.

    Well done ladies (well, Sarah at least).

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  22. This sounds like a great book! I'll have to check out the first one! :)

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  23. I loved If I Stay (*tears*) so I've been dying to read Where She Went.

    Thanks for doing a giveaway!

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  24. I have been interested in this book for awhile, and the first one, too, which I haven't read either. :( But, I am interested in reading them both. Thanks for nabbing the ARC and sharing with all of us lowly people. You are the awesomest!

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  25. I´ve been planning reading of If I stay for some time, so count me it the giveaway, please. Thanks for making it international-friendly :)

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  26. Well, since I love (like, a lot) you and Sarah and IF I STAY, I can't walk away from this contest. Please enter me and thank you, Sarah, for a smashing review and Shannon for always being so generous.

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  27. ME! ME! ME!! Omg I want to read this book so badly!!!!!!!

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  28. Ooh! Sounds awesome! I'm totally in :)

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  29. Oh my gosh, I'm trying to win this book since I read If I stay and completely fell in love with it :) But there are so few opportunities for international readers that it's really hard to get lucky. Thank you so much for giving chance to everyone, I really appreciate it!

    judittten at gmail dot com

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  30. I loved the first book (and cried like a baby several times), and really want to read the next! Please drop my name in the hat!

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  31. I'm up for a good sob-fest, even without swords (c.f. Matt above).

    Fingers crossed, and handkerchiefs knotted.

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  32. I read If I Stay recently and just adored it! So wonderful. Would love to win the sequel. Very interesting that it's in Adam's pov. Thanks for the opportunity, Shannon! You are the QUEEN of ARC giveaways and we love you for it! (I'd love your blog even without the free swag...just for the record) :)

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  33. I have to wonder why I haven't read the first one? There really isn't enough time in a day. They both sound like beautiful books. Great review Sarah! Thanks for sharing your blog, Shannon. Hope things settle down for you soon!

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  34. I was so nervous about this sequel! I loved If I Stay so much, I didn't want to be disappointed. BUT this gives me hope!!

    AND NO! You can't leave!! Going to check out Sarah's blog but you will never be replaced, dang it!

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  35. I don't have this one. I definitely want this one. Count me in this time, #1. :-)

    And Sarah's review was major awesomesauce!

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  36. Wow, what an amazing review! I love the analogy of going back to your childhood home. I mean very moving, right. I can NOT wait to read this book. I've been waiting for forever, it feels that way. The cover is gorgeous too. I can't wait to revisit Mia and Adam, like old friends.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  37. This is the first I'm hearing of WHERE SHE WENT and I'm so excited to read it!

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  38. I'd love to get this book. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    erinberry12 at charter dot net

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  39. haha great post, great review. team effort all around.

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  40. This is great. My friend convinced me to read If I Stay and I loved it. Thanks for the giveaway!

    henderkd(at)email(dot)sc(dot)edu

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  41. Thanks to Sarah for directing me to your blog (which is awesome, btw). Count me in for the ARC giveaway!

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  42. So glad to hear this one lives up to the last one!!!

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  43. Shannon, you kind of are my heroine for always giving things away internationally! I think I need to hug you for that. *cyber hugs*

    Anyways, I can't wait to get my hands on this fabulous piece of writing! :)

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  44. Oooh--I'd LOVE this ARC. If I Stay resonated with me because I also write about music. I'd love to see where Mia goes. Thanks!

    Lisa Ritter Cannon

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  45. I was leery about a sequel because If I Stay was so complete and perfect. But the second I found out it was from Adam's POV, I knew I had to read it!

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  46. I would love to read this one because I really enjoyed the first one.

    k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

    Thanks!

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  47. Would love to read this book! I'm a GFC follower (Lexie@BookBug).
    lexie.bookbug(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  48. I <3 you, Shannon! Thanks for letting me crash your blog. :) Oh and I suppose it would be morally wrong of me to try to get another copy of this book, right? Right.

    Thanks everyone for your awesome comments! :)

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  49. I covet this book.
    So.
    Much.

    The first one broke me :'(
    In a mostly-good way :)

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  50. Oooh yes please! I must be the only person who hasn't read Gayle's books yet!! I WILL!!

    Lynsey(AT)narrativelyspeaking(DOT)com

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  51. Totally dying to read this book, I loved If I stay!!!!And as always your post made me laugh like A LOT! And I really needed it :)

    follower! aliasgirl at libero dot it

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  52. awesome review! cannot wait to get my paws on this one!!

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  53. I know I can't possibly be lucky enough to win again, but... *WANT!*

    You are awesome, Shannon, truly!

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  54. Oh geez...I can't wait for this book! I teach highschool and a bunch of my students and I are counting down the days until it comes out! Great review and an arc would be a miracle prize to me! :)

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  55. Faaaaantastic! (Also, I will totally be around this weekend and not ditch you like I did last weekend. I am a horrible person.)

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  56. looks good! I'll have to read the first one first!

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  57. I'm always nervous about sequels to really awesome books, but it sounds like this one could be the exception.

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  58. I KNEW this book would make me cry. I still want it, though! :)

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  59. So happy that Where She Went is Sarah Wylie-approved! I liked If I Stay; it didn't blow me away, but I enjoyed it and I'm very excited to read it. So happy for the confirmation that the sequel won't ruin it for me!
    (Soooo right about leaving childhood stuff behind. 5 words: My Side of the Mountain)
    Thanks for the giveaway! Excited!
    rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  60. Squee!!! OMG I really want this book.
    follower

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  61. Awesome review. I have heard it is even better than If I Stay. I loved Adam and Mia too.

    Great giveaway. Thank you for making it international.

    irresistiblereads(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  62. Ah, so YOU'RE the one that's been hiding Sarah. Tsk tsk.

    Can't wait to read this book!

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  63. Wow. I totally loved IF I STAY, and I can't wait to read WHERE SHE WENT! Thanks for the great review (even though you didn't write it-lol) and the GIVEAWAY! :)

    lchardesty at yahoo dot com

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  64. Count me in. I'd love to read this.

    forwhlz at gmail dot com

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  65. I am so excited to read this book! :D

    Great review, Sarah!

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  66. I can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  67. I read IF I STAY and cried my entire way through it. WHERE SHE WENT is on my must read list, although I must admit I am as hesitant about it as Sarah first was, because I like imagining that they went off to NY together.

    I would do just about anything to get a copy of this before release date!!!

    Thanks for putting some of my fears at rest and hosting the give away.

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  68. Thanks for hosting this contest! I would love to win Where She Went!

    email address is
    alexis0407(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  69. beautiful cover and yes i want to read this book. please :)

    - following your blog

    uniquas at ymail dot com

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  70. This is a great giveaway! Thanks!!!

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  71. I LOVED If I Stay and can't wait to read Where She Went!

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  72. This is literally the 6th contest I'm entering to get an ARC of this book. Haha, safe to say I am incapable of waiting until April!
    Count me in!
    :)

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  73. Great review - and great contest! Both you ladies rock :)

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  74. April is SO far away. I am sad. If I win, I will be happy. That is all.

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  75. I loved If I Stay (even though I also hate it for making my ugly cry so hard and I was depressed for a week after it). I'm so glad the sequel lives up to the first!

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  76. Sounds like a fabulous book! count me in--I'm a follower!

    ellestraussbooks at gmail dot com

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  77. Count me in

    vidishamun@gmail.com

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  78. I'm glad you enjoyed this sequel! I haven't read either one yet! I'll have to add them to my wish list!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

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  79. Ooh I've been wanting to read this! Thanks so much! :)

    Stephanie

    Stephanie N Pellegrin at gmail dot com

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  80. I'd love it I'd love it I'd love it!!!!!
    mich01372(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au

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  81. I would love to win this book!
    follower
    Stephanie
    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

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  82. If I Stay was so good, I'm dying to find out what happens next! Thanks for the chance to win.

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

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  83. I am so incredibly jealous that I do not have a copy of this book!!!!

    <3

    suzie.townsend(at)gmail dot com

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  84. This sounds good!
    SoCal looks beautiful right now!

    taffy(dot)lovell@gmail.com

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  85. I can't wait to read this!!
    Thanks for the review and giveaway :D

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  86. I loved the first book and can't wait to read this one!! Thanks for the giveaway!
    bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

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  87. I loved the first book and can hardly wait to read this next one! Enter me PLEASE!!! thanks for the giveaway u truly are amazing

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  88. I'd love to play please :D

    FOllowing your blog.

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(Dot)com

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  89. I would so love LOVE to win this ARC. Read IF I STAY last year and am still in love with it. Such an amazing book. Thanks for the great give away!

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  90. This books looks awesome, thanks so much!

    Great review! :)

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  91. Ooh! Ooh! Me! Pick me! *raises both hands and bounces in seat*

    :-)

    And thanks for the review, and the giveaway.

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  92. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read both books. Tore923@aol.com

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  93. Reading reviews for Where She Went makes me want it now more than ever, yet I keep reading only to add to the torture of the two month wait ...gahh I can't wait! Definitely in for an ARC =)

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  94. I downloaded a sample of If I Stay earlier this month when I was standing on the station platform, waiting for my train to work. Ten minutes into my ride I bought the whole book, and before I got home that night I had finished it. Just... wow. I've been so excited about the sequel, can't wait! I was initially worried about revisiting something so perfect, but I've been hearing from people who worried about the exact same thing and adored it, so now it's wholehearted anticipation.

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  95. You've convinced me! And either way, I'll be picking up a copy of If I Stay.

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  96. IF I STAY is my all-time favourite book. I've already pre-ordered Where She Went, needless to say, but I'm growing impatient, what with all these reviews popping up about how awesome it is. Thanks so much for the contest!

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

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  97. I am extremely excited for this book. If I Stay was phenomenal and left me with an aching that's been hard to let go of. But, it was a beautiful read.

    Please, enter me in this contest. :)

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  98. So excited for this! Enter me, please!

    Lbui88@gmail.com

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  99. Count me in too! I've been DYING to read this book though I like the first cover better because it didn't have a person on the cover like all the other books.

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  100. Very glad to hear you approved of the sequel. I'm always scared to revisit characters I know and loved the way they were, and I loved If I Stay so much. I'm much more excited to read Where She Went now! :)

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3